Albuquerque’s South Valley Little League proved to be a nemisis for Valencia County teams in the District 5 Little League All-Star Tournament.
On Monday, South Valley teams beat Enchantment Little League teams from Los Lunas to win division championships in baseball and softball and knocked off Yucca Little League of Bosque Farms to win Bracket 2 of the 9-10 division baseball tournament held in Belen.
The game in Belen was a big hearthbreaker for the boys from Bosque Farms. Yucca led by nine runs at one point in the game but couldn’t hang on and fell to South Valley, 13-11.
“They are a good team,” Yucca manager Paul Chenowith said of South Valley, “and we just got to a point where we quit hitting the ball. And that got our pitcher into a little bit of trouble.”
A seven-run fourth inning by South Valley proved to be Yucca’s undoing.
Despite the dissapointing ending to their all-star run, Chenowith was proud of how well his team played in the tournament.
“We won five games, which isn’t bad at all,” Chenowith said. “This is a good bunch of kids who will probably be back here next year.”
Yucca showed their resilience when they scored two runs in the final inning to pull themselves back into the game.
“Our kids had a lot of heart,” Chenowith said. “When it is all said and done, we had a good time out here.”
Coincidently, Yucca lost to South Valley by the same score of 13-11 last Friday. And Yucca beat Mile High by the same score on Saturday to advance to the bracket finals.
With the win, South Valley won the bracket championship and advanced to play the winner of Bracket 1 in the division championship.
A South Valley baseball team earned a state tournament berth in the 11-year-old division by beating Enchantment, 11-9, at Albuquerque’s Mile High fields.
After losing to South Valley, 4-2, in the opener, Enchantment earned another crack at the champs by winning four consecutive games to get to the division championship.
Enchantment scored a series of close wins to make it to the finals. It was an especially nerve-racking weekend for manager Jeff Wright and his crew. Facing a lose-and-you’re-out scenerio, Enchantment beat Belen, 11-10, on Friday; Mile High, 6-5 on Saturday; and Yucca, 3-1, on Sunday to earn its second chance at South Valley.
In softball action at the Zia Little League diamonds in Albuquerque, South Valley’s major division team won the title with a 15-11 win over Enchantment, the sentimental favorite in the tournament after the unexpected death of its coach, Zeke Sedillo.
Enchantment started the tournament with Sedillo as coach and defeated Mile High, 18-1. Four days after Sedillo’s death, the young ladies from Los Lunas routed South Valley, 14-2, to advance to the finals.
But South Valley beat Enchantment, 10-9, on Saturday to force a final game.
Enchantment nearly pulled off the win Saturday. Trailing 9-6 headed into its last at bat, Enchantment scored three runs to tie the game. But South Valley scored the run it needed to win the game in the bottom of the sixth.
Several other teams from the county were also bounced from the tournament over the weekend.
Enchantment’s 9-10 division softball team, coached by Zeke Sedillo’s widow, Trish, was ousted by Thunderbird, 13-5.
After losing its opener to Westgate, 8-3, Enchantment won a pair of nail-biters, beating Mile High, 11-10, last Friday and avenging by 12-11 its earlier loss to Westgate.
At Belen’s Vivian Fields, Enchantment and Belen were eliminated from the 9-10 division tourney. Enchantment picked up its second loss, 7-4, to Mile High on Friday. Belen was beaten by Atrisco, 12-2, earlier in the week.
In Bracket 1 play at the Zia Little League diamonds in Albuquerque, South Valley edged Enchantment, 3-2, and Westgate shut out Belen, 5-0, to hand the county teams their second losses.
In senior baseball play, Belen, the county’s only entry in the senior baseball division, was knocked out by Atrisco, 12-6. Belen had beaten Westgate, 12-2, to advance to the finals of the consolation bracket.