The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Softball tournament gets started

Roosevelt splits early pair

 

July 14, 2019

Kevin Wilson

Roosevelt second baseman Airam Lujan tags out Albuquerque Zia's Alyssa Garduño in a rundown in their Little League state tournament game. Roosevelt won the contest 26-15 on the strength of a 19-run seventh.

CLOVIS — Some Little League All-Star teams don’t even score 19 runs in an entire tournament.

Friday night, Roosevelt County’s Junior League District 3 team scored 19 in one-half inning.

Yup, 19.

Roosevelt County got its state tournament journey off to a wild, weird and exciting start by rallying to beat Zia of District 5 (Albuquerque) 26-15 at the Lady Wildcat Softball Complex.

As if 26-15 wasn’t a crazy enough final score, consider this — Roosevelt County trailed 11-7 heading into the top of the seventh inning. But then as dusk turned to night, Roosevelt turned it on, sending a whopping 24 batters to the plate and churning out those 19 runs to take a 26-11 advantage.

Zia then tallied four in the bottom of the seventh, making it a combined 23-run inning.

Wild, weird and exciting indeed.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever put up 19 runs in a situation like that,” Roosevelt County coach B.J. Mitchell said.

“It’s nerve-racking, very nerve-racking. Because you don’t know if you’re going to be able to make that comeback,” said 13-year-old Casyn Mitchell, the coach’s daughter, who clouted a two-run tie-breaking double in the top of the seventh inning.

The day had begun so calmly and low-key for Zia, which had earned its way into the Friday-night winner’s bracket through a much different game, scoring-wise — a 4-1 victory over Carlsbad early Friday afternoon at the Wildcat Complex. Alyssa Garduño recorded eight strikeouts while tossing Zia to victory.

Friday night, though, pitchers were in the game, out, back in again. It was a hitter’s market for sure. And errors aplenty didn’t help.

The contest was already high-scoring before the seventh-inning deluge, but Zia had led for most of it, previously trailing only once — 2-1 from the top of the second inning until the bottom of the third. In that third inning, Zia transformed its 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead and stayed in front for most of the game’s remainder.

Roosevelt chipped the difference to 6-3 in the top of the fourth inning when Danika Encinias scored on Tirnyn Powell’s ground out, then chipped away some more on Kayla Courtney’s two-run single to left in the top of the fifth. A bit later in that inning, Roosevelt had the tying and go-ahead runs on second and third, respectively, but couldn’t push either across.

Zia stretched its lead to 8-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Roosevelt climbed back to within one again in the top of the sixth. Powell led off by tripling a 3-1 pitch, and after Dianna Rangel walked, Powell came home on an errant pickoff attempt. Rangel eventually scored on a Myleigh Banda single, making it 8-7.

Zia, however, scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, and it seemed like that might be enough lead-padding. But not so fast.

Encinias led off the top of the seventh by reaching on an error, and Roosevelt County was on its way. Encinias eventually came home on a Powell single, before a two-run double from Sabreona Tivis made it 11-10, and an infield RBI single by Airam Lujan tied the game at 11.

There were Roosevelt County runners at first and second base when Casyn Mitchell stepped to the plate, and a wild pitch sent those runners to second and third. With the count full, Mitchell walloped a double to the left-center gap, handing Roosevelt a 13-11 advantage.

“I like a pretty fast pitcher able to hit their corners so I can see a couple of different pitches,” Mitchell said.

She saw that one clearly enough to lift Roosevelt County into the lead. But the team was far, far from done.

An RBI groundout by Courtney gave Roosevelt a three-run lead, and RBI singles from Encinias and Abbigail Ontiveros made it 16-11, the latter knock turning out to be the game-winner after Zia went on to score those four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Before that, though, Roosevelt still had 10 more runs to score in the top of the seventh, beginning with an RBI triple from Powell and ending when Tivis reached on an error, allowing Roosevelt’s 26th run to come across. The inning that wouldn’t end finally did so when Banda hit one hard but right at Zia pitcher Avangeleen Perea.

After Roosevelt County held on in the bottom of the seventh, it had posted an incredible victory.

“We never give up,” Coach Mitchell said. “We fight through everything, and you never know what they’re going to come up with. They were down; they were never upset. I thought we would score some runs. I don’t think I thought we’d score 19.”

“We don’t just roll over and die,” Casyn Mitchell said. “We don’t stop fighting.”

Tough draw

After winning Friday night’s game, Roosevelt County moved on to Saturday’s winner’s-bracket action and lost to District 7’s Copper, 23-0.

As of press time, Roosevelt was headed for a loser’s bracket matchup with hopes of battling back into Sunday’s championship hunt.

 
 

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