CNJ Staff Photo: Tony Bullocks Roosevelt County’s Peyton Casey takes home on a passed ball while Zia’s Eli Cordova, left, tries to make a tag in the first inning of the 9- and 10-year-old championship game. Zia defeated Roosevelt 11-9.
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers
Clovis Zia used an eight-run second inning to grab the lead and hold on for an 11-9 win against the Roosevelt County All-Stars in the 9- and 10-year-old District 3 Little League semifinals Wednesday night at Zia Field.
“Our backs were against the wall and we had to come out swinging,” Zia head coach Drooper Greenwalt said. “We had to win this or we were going home.”
Roosevelt County drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning with two runs, but its lead wouldn’t last long as Zia took advantage of several walks and added some well-timed hits to take the lead for good.
Zia’s Landon Williams and Keaton Greenwalt each took advantage of the walks and brought home runs in the second inning and Zia led 8-2 after two.
“We didn’t do very well in that first inning, but the second inning we did,” Greenwalt said. “They came out swinging the bat tonight so I’m very proud.”
Jay Faust, Chris Aranda and Christian Gruis kick-started the Roosevelt County rally, driving in runs to lead the Roosevelt County boys to a combined seven runs in the third and fourth innings to bring them to within one run. Zia added another score in the top of the sixth and Roosevelt County’s rally fell short.
“They just never gave up,” Roosevelt County head coach Carlton Casey said about his All-Stars. “They’re all good ball players.”
Eli Cordova got the start for Zia and pitched five innings. Cordova was relieved by Keaton Greenwalt who closed out the win for Zia.
Greenwalt had high praise for his starter.
“We needed (pitches) over the plate, and I’ll tell you what — he threw everything over the plate,” Greenwalt said.
Williams went 3-for-5 from the plate, while Greenwalt drove in four runs while going 3-for-4.
While Roosevelt County’s season is over, Zia is scheduled to play at American tonight in the 9- and 10-year-old District 3 championship round. American beat Zia earlier in the tournament 14-1.
“Zia is a good ball team,” Casey said. “I hope they win it all.”