East Mountain Little League’s 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars marched into the postseason tournament with high hopes last Saturday but stumbled in its first game—losing a four inning, mercy-rule shortened contest.

The East Mountain team fell 13-3 to Zia Little League’s All-Stars in the opening round of the District 5 double-elimination tournament that runs through this weekend at Lobo Little League’s facility in Albuquerque.

“We just couldn’t hit,” said East Mountain’s head coach Isaac Padilla.

Padilla skippered an EMLL Majors Division team (11-12 year olds) during the regular season that concluded last month.

East Mountain’s squad consists of players who were selected by coaches and their peers in the Majors or Minors (9-11 year olds) divisions.

Zia’s all-star squad, whose league is located south of Central Ave. and east of Eubank in Albuquerque, scored in each inning and was bolstered by solid pitching.

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Padilla said Zia’s starting hurler was effective keeping his batters at bay, particularly East Mountain’s Minors Division players. “Some of our kids hadn’t seen a pitcher that fast,” Padilla said.

Rey Ortiz started on the mound for East Mountain and surrendered a 3-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Padilla said Ortiz “did good after that one home run.”

Ortiz also scored a pair of runs.

Zia capitalized on a few East Mountain errors in the second inning and piled on 5 more runs to take an 8-0 advantage.

Ortiz got East Mountain on the board in the top of the third inning, scoring on Jace McCutcheon’s RBI double. McCutcheon then scored to trim the deficit to 8-2.

After Zia extended its lead to 9-2 Ortiz scored East Mountain’s other run in the top of the fourth.

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But Zia slammed the door with 4 more runs in the bottom of the frame to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.

East Mountain continues in the second round today at 5:30 p.m. against … Mile High/ Altamont? [won’t know until around 8 p.m.]