Roosevelt wins 10-11 crown

Freedom Newspapers: Karl Terry Zia pitcher Aycell Villalobos fires one to the plate during the third inning of Tuesday’s District 3 Little League 10-11 year old championship game at Portales.

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — The Roosevelt County 10-11 year old All-Stars are headed to the New Mexico state championship tournament in Taos later this month after beating the Clovis Zia All-Stars 15-0 in four innings in the District 3 championship game Tuesday night at Rotary Park.

“Today we hit the ball well,” Roosevelt County coach Sammy Villanueva said. “We knew that we needed to hit the ball to get ready for state. Zia came out and fought us hard but these kids are unbelievable.”

Roosevelt County leadoff hitter Eli Tapia set the tone from the second pitch of the game, sending a shot over the fence in center field to key a 10-run first.

“That set the tone for us,” Villanueva said. “We didn’t hit the ball against these guys last time.”

After Tapia’s home run, Sam Roberts added a two-run single and Isaiah Alvarado and Nate Salas also drove in runs in the first inning. The other five runs came in as the result of walks and throwing errors.

Meantime, a trio of Roosevelt County hurlers no-hit Zia, allowing just one baserunner.

Salas pitched two innings, before giving way to Daniel Hernandez and Anthony Villanueva for an inning apiece.

“They’ve got some strong pitchers,” Zia manager René Mendoza said. “We tried our best and we gave it our all, but we played a real good team.”

Roosevelt County begins play in the state meet on July 21.

“The whole group — the kids, the parents, everybody around these kids — everything is positive,” Villanueva said. “There’s nothing negative with these guys. They can’t fail, even if they lose because they have fun.

“We’re going to go and we’re going to compete at state. I feel like we’ve got a real good shot at state this year.”