Freedom Newspapers: Karl Terry Clovis Zia’s Tyler Romero squares up to bunt during semifinal action Thursday of the District 3 Little League playoffs at Rotary Park in Portales. Roosevelt County won the game 5-3.
PORTALES — Roosevelt County overcame a two-run deficit and home run taken away on appeal Thursday to defeat Clovis Zia 5-3 in the 11- and 12-year-old semifinal of the District 3 Little League tournament.
The two teams battle again at 7 p.m. Saturday on Zia’s home field.
“It took ’em awhile to get pumped up, but they finally did it,” Roosevelt coach Donny Martinez said of his team. “They didn’t just break out their bats — they broke out their hearts.”
When Zia threatened to open things up with two men in scoring position, Ryan Schmidt fanned two Clovis batters to get out of the jam. On offense his team picked up two runs in the bottom of the second off of a double by Jacob Aranda and a single by Reyes Chavez.
Zia broke the ice in the third as Joe Shelley stole home for Clovis’ first score. Matt Mascarenas followed with a double and then scored on a sacrifice single to tie the score. Peyton Lott put Zia ahead with a double to the fence.
In the bottom of the fifth Will Murdock blasted a solo shot over the center field fence to give Roosevelt the apparent lead. But Zia successfully appealed that Murdock jumped over the plate during the celebration with his teammates at the plate.
Roosevelt got the call back moments later when the umps reversed a tag out at first base, saying “time” had been called.
Roosevelt finished the fifth with a rally to secure the 5-3 win.
“They play hard, every time they come out,” Zia coach Charles Lott said of his team. “That Roosevelt team is awesome.”
Lott says the teams are very evenly matched and he’s looking forward to hosting Roosevelt in the championship.
“Saturday night I guess we’ll see who’s headed for Albuquerque and who’s headed home,” he said.