By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
Ryan Malone hit a go-ahead, two-run double in the bottom of the fifth and American went on to a 12-7 win over Zia Monday night for the championship in the 13-14 District 3 Little League all-star tournament at Brady Field.
American finished the double-elimination tournament unbeaten, and advances to state competition beginning Monday at Bayard.
Malone drove in four runs for American, hitting an RBI single in the third and a run-scoring groundout in the fifth. American was outhit 8-4 in the game, but took advantage of 16 walks, two hit batsmen, three Zia errors, seven wild pitches and two balks.
American’s other hits were a two-run single by Emery Sierra in th first and an RBI single by6 Matthew Southard in the sixth.
Zia scored five runs in the top of the first, but American came back with five in the bottom half. The game then settled down until American, trailing 7-6, scored three in the fifth and three in the sixth.
“The kids deserved it,” American coach Ricky Sierra said. “They played their hearts out in this tournament. They knew it could be their game if they were just patient.”
Both teams batted around in the first. Zia scored its runs on two hits, three walks and two American errors before American took advantage of four consecutive walks to start the bottom of the inning.
Malone’s single put American ahead in the third before Zia came back with single runs in the fourth and fifth to take a shortlived lead.
Zia manager Richard Beaman said his league almost didn’t field a team for the tournament.
“They came out here and played real well; I’m proud of these guys,” Beaman said. “They turned Zia League around, and brought a lot of class.
“American’s a real good team.”
Johnny Garcia had a pair of RBI singles for Zia, while Rico Roybal went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk.
District 3 All-Star tournament
All games 7 p.m.
Game 1 — Quay County 11, American 0 (4 innings)
Game 2 — Zia 14, Roosevelt County 3
Game 3 — Zia at Quay County
Game 4 — Roosevelt County at American
Game 5 — Roosevelt County-American winner vs. Zia-Quay County loser at Rotary Park, Portales
Game 6 — First championship game at Rotary Park, Portales
Game 7 — Second championship game, if necessary, at American
Note: Tournament champion to state tournament at Albuquerque, beginning July 23.
Game 1 — Roosevelt County 10, Zia 2
Game 2 — American 3, Roosevelt County 0
Game 3 — Zia vs. Roosevelt County at Rotary Park, Portales
Game 4 — First championship game at Rotary Park, Portales
Game 5 — Second championship game, if necessary, at Rotary Park, Portales
Note: Tournament champion to state tournament at Taos, beginning Aug. 1.
Game 1 — American over Quay County by forfeit
Game 2 — Roosevelt County 7, Zia 6
Game 3 — Roosevelt County 7, American 6 (5 innings, rain)
Game 4 — Quay County 8, Zia 3
Game 5 — Quay County at American
Game 6 — First championship game at American
Game 7 — Second championship game, if necessary, at Tucumcari or at Rotary Park, Portales
Note: Tournament champion to state tournament at Carlsbad Shorthorn, beginning July 22.
13-14 year olds
Game 1 — American 10, Roosevelt County 9
Game 2 — Quay County 13, Zia 5
Game 3 — American 14, Quay County 8
Game 4 — Zia 10, Roosevelt County 8
Game 5 — Zia 10, Quay County 3
Game 6 — American 12, Zia 7
Note: American wins championship and advances to state tournament at Bayard, beginning July 18.
15-16 year olds
Game 1 — Roosevelt County 9, American 4
Game 2 — Roosevelt County 12, American 2
Note: Roosevelt County wins cham-pionship and advances to state tournament at Albuquerque, beginning July 23.