By Dave Wagner
Clovis American finished the District 3 Minor League All-Star tournament unbeaten — barely.
American built a six-run lead and held off a furious last-ditch rally by Clovis Zia for an 11-10 win Thursday night at Dickensen Field.
American (3-0) advanced to state competition which it will host beginning July 25.
The American All-Stars were limited to five hits, but took advantage of 17 walks. Zia hitters collected eight hits and were issued eight bases on balls.
Zia loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth on two walks and a hit batsman, then got a two-run single from Phillip Martinez, an RBI single from Michael Chavez and a two-run double from Anthony Chavez.
American’s Antonio Cordova was summoned to take over the pitching duties. He got a strikeout and a groundout to shortstop Corbin Best to preserve the win.
“We tried to get a couple (of hits) early, but they had a good, strong defense,” American coach Hector Vasquez said. “This is the way it’s been for me all year. I have a tendency to chew about 12 or 15 pieces of gum a game, and I was up to about 13 tonight.”
Zia took a 5-3 lead with two runs in the bottom of the third, one scoring on a double by Anthony Chavez. American then scored four in the top of the fourth on seven walks, then added two in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Best hit a run-scoring single in the fifth, and Lucas Walthers’ two-out infield single drove in Chris Potocki with what proved to be the deciding run in the sixth.
Zia coach Albert Marez said he thought his team deserved to win, and took exception with the strike zone.
“We know we were the best team,” he said. “We needed to get hits, and we showed that tonight.
“Our team should be going (to state). We’re the better team, and we proved that.”
Five players had one hit each for American. Meantime, Martinez went 2 for 4 with three RBI for Zia, and Michael Chavez added 2 for 2.