Zia rallies to defeat Roosevelt

Freedom Newspapers: Mickey Winfield Clovis Zia All-Stars catcher Collin Guthas takes a swing in the second inning of Zia’s first round Majors Division 3 Tournament against the Roosevelt County All-Stars Thursday night in Portales. Clovis Zia won 9-8.

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — As Collin Guthas stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, a fan yelled, “Just get on base, Collin, that’s where you’re most dangerous.”

The fan was right, as Collin’s feet helped the Clovis Zia All-Stars in a come-from-behind 9-8 victory over the Roosevelt County All-Stars in the first round of the New Mexico Little League Majors Division 3 Tournament Thursday night in Portales.

With one out and the score tied at 8, Guthas earned a walk, before stealing second base, pausing for a moment, and then stealing third base. Zia’s next batter, Joe Shelley, connected deep to centerfield for a sacrifice pop fly, allowing Guthas to score the walk-off winning run.

“I called the steal to second,” Zia head coach Charles Lott said. “And then I guess he felt frisky and took third on his own. He did that one on his own. He’s a smart base runner and he did what he had to do.”

“(On my way to third) I was just hoping, ‘Please be safe, please be safe,’” Guthas said. “I knew it was going to be a close play. I wasn’t really watching where the ball was, I just wanted to get to third hoping that Joe could get me in, and that’s what happened.”

“It was a lack of concentration. Our pitcher turned his back on him and the runner took advantage,” Roosevelt County coach Donny Martinez said.

Roosevelt County led 6-3 after the top half of the third inning, and Martinez knows his team can take something from the loss.

“They need to remember that feeling of losing,” Martinez said. “That’s a terrible feeling after being up like we were. We just didn’t hang in there. We lost it because of mental mistakes — just the little things.”

Roosevelt County took an early 2-0 first-inning lead after Ryan Schmidt and Jacob Aranda brought in runs, but Zia scored three in their half of the first after a Guthas triple scored two runs, followed by a Shelley RBI double.

Roosevelt County dominated the second and third innings, taking a 6-4 lead, but the Clovis boys began their comeback in the fourth inning as pitcher Michael Cordova brought in a run with a ground rule double. Zia finished the final three innings outscoring Roosevelt County 5-2 to complete the comeback.

Zia will play the Quay County All-Stars Saturday night at Tucumcari in the winners bracket, while the Roosevelt County All-Stars travel to Clovis American in an elimination game tonight.

New Mexico District 3
All-star tournaments
Double elimination
All games start at 7 p.m.
9-10 year olds
Clovis Zia at Quay
Clovis American at Roosevelt
Clovis Zia-Quay winner vs. Clovis American-Roosevelt winner, tbd
Consolation bracket
Clovis Zia-Quay loser vs. Clovis American-Roosevelt loser, at Zia

10-11 year olds
Roosevelt 11, Clovis Zia 0, 5 innings
Clovis Zia at Roosevelt

11-12 year olds
Quay 5, Clovis American 0
Clovis Zia 9, Roosevelt 8
Consolation bracket
Clovis American vs. Roosevelt at Zia

13-14 year olds
July 13
Clovis American at Quay
Clovis Zia at Roosevelt