Baseball: LA bounced from tournament by Roadrunner

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By Mike Cote

When the Albuquerque Roadrunner All-Stars got hot, they got hot.

Roadrunner sent 21 batters to the plate in the first two innings of Monday night’s game and sent Los Alamos’ All-Stars home for the summer.

Roadrunner scored all 13 of its runs in the first two innings Monday at Senior Field to top Los Alamos in a state Juniors Little League elimination game, 13-2 in five innings.

After a big come-from-behind win in Friday’s opening round game, Los Alamos lost two straight and was eliminated from contention.

In the state quarterfinals, Los Alamos ran into another offensive steamroller in the Carlsbad All-Stars. Los Alamos didn’t help its own cause, committing seven errors in the 13-2, 6-inning contest Sunday.

Also, in the first inning of Saturday’s game, one of its top hitters and defenders, Michael Young, was ejected for running into Carlsbad catcher Koby Lewis as Lewis was attempting to catch a pop fly along the third baseline.

Young knocked in one of Los Alamos’ runs with his double in the first inning, which plated JD Weiss, giving Los Alamos an early lead.

But because of his ejection Sunday, Young was ineligible for Monday’s game as well, per tournament regulations.

It was a disappointing end of the tournament for Los Alamos.

“We’ve done this for two or three years now,” Weiss said of Los Alamos’ recent state tournament appearances following Monday’s loss. “Eventually, we’ll get somewhere, but there was nothing we could do (Monday). We just got beat by a better team.”

Roadrunner smashed four home runs in the first two innings. Breckan Hunkle started Monday’s game by driving the second pitch of the game about 350 feet to put his squad on the board.

Jesse Wise would add a solo shot into straightaway left to start the second inning, followed two batters later by a two-run blast from Dalton Bowers. Andrew Della Longa would add another two-run homer to left field later in the inning.

Carlsbad got off to a slow start against Weiss, the starting pitcher, Sunday, but finally got going in the fourth inning, coming through with four hits. Carlsbad scored four times on three singles and a double, aided by a pair of Los Alamos errors.

Carlsbad, which finished the game with nine hits, got three of them, plus three more Los Alamos miscues, in scoring five runs in the fourth. Carlsbad finished the game with a three-run spurt in the sixth.

Los Alamos scored its other run in the third inning, with catcher Alan Keeler’s base knock, driving home Weiss.

In Sunday’s contest, Los Alamos finished with just five hits. It had just three hits in its win Friday night over Raton.

Lewis finished 3-for-4 at the plate, driving in four runs with a pair of 2-run singles. Isaiah Castañeda was 1-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored.

Carlsbad’s starting pitcher, Austin Gregory, went 6-plus innings, giving up just the two earned runs and striking out four Sunday.

Carlsbad will face Alamogordo Rotary in the winner’s bracket semifinals at 6 p.m. tonight. The winner of that game will have two cracks at winning the tournament.

Roadrunner lost its first game of the tournament on a wild play in the bottom of the seventh, but bounced back to win two straight. It will face Albuquerque Zia, the team that put it into the loser’s bracket, at 6 p.m. tonight as well.

Following Roadrunner’s early onslaught — it had three doubles in addition to the four homers — it did little with its other three at-bats in the game against Steven Williams, who started the contest than was re-inserted in the third inning.

Los Alamos got on the board in the bottom of the third with a RBI sacrifice by Austin Aslin which scored Williams. It would score again in the bottom of the fifth with Weiss singling home Ryan Kniss.

Los Alamos had a chance to extend the game at least another inning, putting a pair of runners on base, but outstanding defensive plays by Bowers, Roadrunner’s shortstop, and second baseman Andrew Groves quelled Los Alamos’ late rally attempt.

Weiss said he wouldn’t be surprised to see Roadrunner make a serious run at the tournament title.

“They have very deep pitching and very good defense,” Weiss said. “They’re a very solid team.”