By Dave Wagner
CNJ SPORTS WRITER
One big swing pretty much put the Clovis Zia 10-11 All-Stars on their way to victory Saturday in the state 11-12 Little League tournament at Dickenson Field.
Shortstop Jacob Wolftongue lined a three-run homer to left, capping a five-run, second-inning rally that lifted Zia past Albuquerque Westgate 7-1 in an opening-round game of the double-elimination tournament.
Trevon Dickson pitched five innings for Zia, stepping out after reaching the 85-pitch limit on his final toss. Nick Tapia tossed a 1-2-3 sixth, striking out the side.
Manager Lance Coiner was happy to get some breathing room.
“We’d put some (runs) up before that, but a three-run shot, we’ll take that,” he said. “Our pitcher was able to focus and get us out of some jams. He got us through five; any time you can do that in Little League, it’s good.”
Zia will face Albuquerque Sunset, a 13-3 winner over Carlsbad Shorthorn in Saturday’s late game, in a 7 p.m. winners bracket semifinal today.
Westgate had numerous, especially early when it left the bases loaded in both the second and third innings. The Albuquerque team stranded a total of nine runners.
“We had plenty of chances,” manager Joe Griego said. “We just couldn’t get that (key) hit.”
Dickson, a left-hander, walked three and struck out seven. He allowed six hits, including Dominique Rael’s RBI double in the fifth.
Zia had one on and two out in the second before piling up four consecutive hits, capped by the home run. Griego said he thought his team should have played better defense.
“We don’t get to that home run if we make some other plays,” he said.
Dickson and Jonathan Rodriguez hit RBI singles in the second to break the scoring ice. Zia added two in the fifth when Isaac Acuna doubled home Johnathan Gonzalez and scored on a single by Brittni Chavez.
Zia finished the game with 10 hits, including two each for Wolftongue and Chavez. Rael was the top hitter for Westgate, going 2-for-3.
American 11-12s pull out win — The Clovis American 9-10 All-Stars rallied for two runs in the top of the fifth and held on to beat Albuquerque South Valley 10-9 in a first-round game of the state 11-12 tourney at Albuquerque.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday night, but was pushed back because of rain.
Manager Greg Rohrbach said the game seesawed throughout. American took the lead in the third inning on a home run by Devin Leon, then fell behind before rallying back.
Colton Faircloth relieved with one on and one out in the sixth and finished it by getting the final two outs.
American returns to action at noon today against Albuquerque Roadrunner.
American 9-10s drop opener — Albuquerque Roadrunner notched an 11-1 victory over Clovis American on Saturday in an opening-round game of the state 9-10 Little League baseball tournament at Roswell.
American’s only run came when Cian Holmes doubled and scored on a single by Josh Myers.
American plays a 7:30 p.m. game today in the losers bracket against Albuquerque Westgate.