East Mountain Little League’s Intermediate 50/70 Division All-Star team (12-13 year olds) scored early and often in dispatching Albuquerque’s Zia Little League All-Stars 15-0 last Friday, and 11-1 on Saturday, to win the New Mexico District 5 tournament at Vista Grande Community Complex in Sandia Park.

Both games ended in the fifth inning on the 10-run mercy rule during the double-elimination tournament.

Cole Phillips winding up during last Saturday’s district-clinching victory over Zia. Photo by Kailey McCall.

With the district title, the Intermediate 50/70 squad becomes just the third East Mountain Little League baseball team in history to earn a trip to the state tournament.

“The boys played great, and they worked real hard,” said Brian Bagon, the team’s head coach. “I can’t imagine anyone working harder than they did. It all came together perfectly for the tournament.”

East Mountain’s Cole Phillips pitched the complete game on Saturday, giving up just one hit and one base on balls, while striking out nine Zia batters.

Zia’s unearned run came in the third inning by way of a passed ball with the bases loaded, following two East Mountain defensive miscues. “It was all errors,” Bagon said about Zia’s lone run. “But Cole dialed in—I knew that it would be up to him and our infield to get out of it.”

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East Mountain’s 12-hit attack produced 4 runs in the first inning and 2 more in the third on Evan Bagon’s 2-run home run over the center field fence. “I wasn’t even thinking,” Evan Bagon said. “I just started running, and looked over and saw the ump signal [home run], and then I was like, ‘Wow, it went over.’”

The team added another run in the fourth and 4 in the fifth to seal the victory.

In Friday’s rout, East Mountain cranked out 13 hits, scoring 2 runs in the first inning, 5 in the third, 4 in the fourth, and 4 more in the fifth. Trace Krueger and Reed Davis shared pitching duties in the one-hit shutout.

The team will travel to Clovis for the Intermediate 50/70 state tournament July 7-9.

East Mountain’s last baseball team to go to state was its inaugural Intermediate 50/70 team in 2013.

EMLL’s only previous baseball team to make it to state was its 9- and-10-year-old team in 1994.

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The 50/70 division plays on a field with the mound located 50 feet from home plate and 70-foot base paths. Typical Little League field dimensions are 60-foot base paths and a mound 46 feet from home plate.