After enduring a lengthy lightning delay, East Mountain Little League’s Major Division All-Star team (11-12-year-olds) lost to Zia Little League 15-3 in the first round of the New Mexico District 5 tournament last Saturday in Albuquerque.
The game ended in the fourth inning on the 10-run mercy rule.
Zia came out swinging and capitalized on a trio of East Mountain errors to score 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning.
“There were some jitters, for sure, you could see it on their faces,” East Mountain’s head coach Jeremy Heath said of his players.
East Mountain got on the board in the top of the second inning when Land Matthies hit a lead-off double to the fence in left field. Zach Gallegos drove in Matthies to trim the deficit to 4-1.
“At that point it could’ve gone anywhere,” Heath said.
But Zia blew the game open in the bottom of the frame by sending 15 batters to the plate and scoring 11 runs, including three home runs—one a grand slam. “It was brutal, there’s no question about it,” Heath said about the high-scoring inning.
East Mountain scored its final runs of the game in the top of the third when Jagger Dunfee’s two-out, 2-RBI double to center field drove in Herman Archibeque and Bryson Naylor.
In the top of the fourth inning East Mountain had runners on first and second with two outs when the tournament officials suspended the game due to lightning in the area.
Players from both teams were whisked from the field to the Roadrunner boardroom where they sat across a table from each other, occasionally exchanging some competitive teasing.
“It was a little odd,” Heath admitted.
When the game resumed two hours later, Archibeque hit a ground ball to the left side of the infield, where East Mountain’s base runner was called for interference with Zia’s shortstop for the third and final out of the game.
East Mountain faces Atrisco Valley’s All-Stars tonight in the elimination bracket.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.