CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson American’s Antonio Hicks slides in safely with a fourth-inning run on a wild pitch as Zia pitcher Dayton Anson covers the plate during Monday’s District 3 Little League 9-10 all-star matchup at Dickenson Field.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
The American All-Stars erupted late and ran away to a 14-1 victory over Zia at Dickenson Field in an all-Clovis winners bracket final on Monday in the District 3 Little League 9-10 tournament.
Leading 3-1, American scored seven times in the top of the fourth and added four more in the fifth to end the game an inning early on the 10-run rule.
“The pitching tonight was excellent,” American manager Eloy Flores said. “And we had some good hits. Our kids were very patient at the plate.”
American finished with only six hits, but took advantage of 11 walks, a hit batsman and five Zia errors.
“We made a lot of mistakes,” Zia manager Drooper Greenwalt said. “We made a lot of throwing errors and let it get out of hand.”
American scored twice in the top of the first. Josh Treadway singled and came around on three wild pitches, then Sam Conlee walked and rode home on a double by Kurt Kelley.
Antonio Hicks’ fielder’s choice grounder got another run home in the third. Zia scored on Daulton Hatley’s RBI single in the bottom half before American broke it open in the fourth.
Treadway hit an RBI triple, Kordell Tindle had a run-scoring single and Jaylen Harris squeezed home a run with the bases loaded. Three more runs scored on wild pitches and another on a throwing error.
American received two bases-loaded walks in the fifth, and added the other runs on a single by Derik Kuykendall and a fielder’s choice grounder by Kalin Leinberger.
Conlee went four innings for the win, allowing two hits and surviving six walks — five in the first two innings. He struck out three.
Hicks and Kuykendall combined to pitch the fifth.
“Sam Conlee pitched an excellent game, and our defense was there all night,” Flores said.
Zia now takes on Roosevelt County, a 10-0 winner over Quay County on Monday at Beachum Field, in a 7 p.m. clash Wednesday at Beachum. The winner will need to beat American twice to take the title.
“We just have to go out and play hard,” Greenwalt said. “Our backs are against the wall.”