By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Clovis American didn’t get much in the way of offense during the 10 and 11-year-old all-star district tournament Friday in Portales, but the squad got what little it did need from Lorenzo Calemenero.
American wrapped up the two-team tournament with its second win in two days over Roosevelt County, a 2-1 decision that went down to the wire.
Following the game the American team was busy signing the baseball that Calemenero launched over the left field fence with a full count and two outs in the top of the fourth inning.
“I wasn’t thinking about it going out,” Calemenero said of the home run. “I was just trying to hit the ball.”
Roosevelt County answered in its half of the fourth as Ryan Schmidt led off with a ground-rule double. Reyes Calbert reached first on an error, advancing Schmidt, and then Jacob Aranda walked to load the bases.
American pitcher Joseph Montano then walked in the tying run. He quickly redeemed himself, however, getting out of trouble with two strikeouts and a force at the plate.
Calbert, who went the distance for Roosevelt, fanned the first two batters in the American sixth before Montano reached on an error and stole second. That’s when Calemenero came to the plate again.
He drilled a hard grounder through second base and Montano crossed the plate just moments before Calemenero was tagged out trying to reach second ending the rally.
Roosevelt County put runners on in the bottom of the sixth, but Alonzo Carrillo was caught stealing third by Clovis catcher David Sweet. A ground-out sealed the deal.
“They’re going to give me a heart attack,” American coach Ricky Wilson said. “Two games by one (run)!”
Wilson said he was proud of the way his team hung in the tournament which saw both games end up in low-scoring defensive duels.
“I had a good feeling about him tonight, he said of Calamenero. “Our fences are about twice as high as these.”
Roosevelt coach Burton Smith expressed some regret that his team didn’t do as well at the plate as he had hoped. But expressed his pride in the players, coaches and fans.
“We played ‘em real close in both games,” Smith said. “We progressed a lot this year and I’m real proud of that. We just couldn’t quite get it together with the sticks. It’s a lot of fun, it’s Little League baseball and that’s what it’s about.”
American will move on to the state tournament in Albuquerque, starting July 21.