Baseball: LA wins District 1 All-Star tourney

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By Mike Cote

Austin Aslin got plenty more help than he’d need Tuesday night.

Aslin, pitching for the Los Alamos Juniors All-Stars, retired the first seven hitters he faced and allowed just one run as Los Alamos routed Pojoaque Valley 14-1 to take the District 1 baseball tournament Tuesday.

Behind Aslin, who threw a complete mercy rule-shortened game, Los Alamos pounded out 11 hits in the five innings, opening up a 9-0 edge after just an inning and a half.

“After we got the lead, we felt pretty confident we’d pull it out,” Aslin said.

Tuesday’s win at Virchow Field capped an impressive tournament run for Los Alamos’ All-Stars. They scored 41 runs in their three tournament games, downing all other teams in the tournament, Santa Fe, White Rock and Pojoaque.

Pojoaque qualified for the tournament final following an improbable comeback Monday night against White Rock. White Rock led 6-0 at one point in Monday’s game, but Pojoaque scored three unanswered in the final two innings to win 9-8.

Pojoaque’s chances to get back into Tuesday’s game, however, were few and far between. Aslin struck out eight hitters in the five-inning contest, including fanning the side in the final frame, and got plenty of help from his defense throughout.

Los Alamos’ offense continued to impress in the final as it did throughout the tournament. It sent eight men to the plate in the first and 10 more in the second.

The second inning effectively shut the door on Pojoaque’s bid for an upset Tuesday. Los Alamos loaded the bases and brought a run home without hitting the ball out of the infield, before Michael Young and Alan Keeler came through with back-to-back RBI singles.

After RBI groundouts from Henry Steinkamp and Kevin Smale made the score 8-0, Steven Williams lined a double to left-center to drive in Keeler.

Williams, Los Alamos’ left fielder hitting in the eighth spot Tuesday, added a base hit in the fourth to bring in two runs, giving his team an 11-0 cushion.

“Our offense is pretty good,” Williams said after the game. “We can all hit well, even though there were a couple of games we didn’t have everyone hitting like we should.”

Los Alamos was aided by three errors in the first four batters of the second inning, without which Pojoaque might have come away unscathed.

Instead, Los Alamos ended up with a commanding 9-0 lead, while Aslin set Pojoaque down in order in the bottom of the frame.

Pojoaque managed just four hits in the game. Berto Garcia had a RBI base hit in the bottom of the fifth to plate his team’s lone run.

“I felt pretty good,” Aslin said. “In the regular season I wasn’t pitching too well, but in All-Stars I got in a groove and pitched strikes.”

Aslin also had a RBI triple in the first, while lead-off hitter Zeke Zumbro scored three runs.

The win put Los Alamos into the state Little League Juniors tournament, which will start July 18 at Bomber Field. In all, nine teams will participate in the tournament, which will feature opening ceremonies and a home run derby that night.

Los Alamos’ All-Stars said they have plenty to do prior to the state tournament, which several on the team have played in at one level or another.

“I’m hoping we do good at state,” Williams said. “The last couple of years we haven’t gone very far.”