Little League state meets ready to start

Dave Wagner

Four area teams are ready to represent District 3 in state Little League competition this weekend.

Clovis will host the 11-12-year-old Majors state tournament at Dickenson Field and Beachum Field. Clovis Zia won the district tournament and opens play at 7 p.m. Sunday at Dickenson against either Roswell Noon Optimist or Los Lunas Enchantment, who play at 5 p.m. today at Dickenson.

Zia manager Tomas Gallegos said he hopes his team’s pitching depth can be a difference-maker, led by Joseph Moreno, Ruben Madrid and Jason Freeman.

“I think that’s our strong point,” Gallegos said. “This team has great chemistry and a lot of skill; they motivate each other. We have some good leaders.”

The tournament winner advances to regional competition beginning Aug. 6 at Waco, Texas.

“It’s going to be some good baseball,” Gallegos said. “We’re looking forward to it. I think we’ll make a good showing.”

He said playing at home is helpful.

“It’s kind of a bonus,” he said. “The city has put a lot of work into getting these fields ready.”

Also today, Clovis American takes on Deming at 2:30 p.m. in the 9-10-year-old event at Roswell, and Roosevelt County faces either Santa Fe or White Rock at 10 a.m. in the 10-11 tourney at Albuquerque.

On Friday night, Curry County — a combination of Zia and American players — was slated to meet Carlsbad at 8 p.m. in the 13-14 tournament in Albuquerque, but rain delayed the first game of the tournament and coach Joe Garcia said it was likely games would be pushed back to today.

“I think our team is looking really good,” Garcia said. “These kids have played together for about seven years now, so I feel pretty good about our team.”

American 9-10 manager Craig Rohrbach said he thinks his team received a reasonably good draw.

“It’s just a blind draw as far as who you get,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll have good luck as far as this first game.”

Rohrbach said his team’s strength is hitting, and it also has some experience in the pitching department relaying on three 10-year-olds. “With the Little League rules, you have to watch pitch counts,” he added.

“Once you get into those Albuquerque teams and Carlsbad teams, they always have strong representatives. But I like the team we’ve been able to field, and I feel we have a chance to win some games.”

Roosevelt County coach Ruben Tellez said his team is versatile, but also counts on pitching depth.

“The kids have been working extra hard,” Tellez said. “They know they have to take care of business. I want to win and I know the kids want to win, too.”