By Dave Wagner: Freedom Newspapers
CLOVIS — One swing of Will Murdock’s bat swung all the momentum Friday night at Beachum Field.
Leading off the fourth inning, Murdock just missed Roosevelt County’s first hit of the night on a foul bloop down the right field line on the previous pitch. He then launched the next offering over the left-center field fence to break a scoreless tie, and Roosevelt County went on to a 10-0 win over American in a losers bracket game of the District 3 Little League 11-12 all-star tournament.
American’s John Myers worked a perfect three innings, but Murdock’s blast opened the door and Roosevelt County ended the game in the bottom of the fifth on the 10-run rule.
“Our bats broke out, finally,” Roosevelt coach Donald Martinez said. “I knew it was a matter of time.”
Roosevelt County also got some help from American, which played well early behind Myers but committed six errors in the final two frames.
“It rattled them,” American coach Duwain Hill said of Murdock’s shot. “They just kind of fundamentally fell apart (after that).”
Myers threw only 26 pitches to get through three frames, but needed 34 in the fourth — and the help of a line-drive double play — in facing 10 batters.
Meantime, Roosevelt left-hander Ryan Schmidt was overpowering, allowing only two baserunners — Ty Mote’s one-out double to right-center in the second and a leadoff walk to Jarron Hill in the fourth. He struck out 10 batters.
“He threw his heart out tonight,” Martinez said. “He did a good job out there. He had a great (regular) season as well.”
Reyes Chavez added a two-run single in Roosevelt County’s five-run fourth, while Zach Blaeser ended the game and capped a five-run fifth with a two-run single.
Only five of the runs were earned against Myers, who finished with one walk, three strikeouts and one hit batsman.
Hill said the majority of the players on his squad are 11-year-olds.
“We did excellent the first three innings, but we’re just a young team,” he said.
He said he knew his team would have its work cut out in the tournament.
“I knew it was going to be a rebuilding year,” Hill said. “We didn’t have many 12-year-olds in our league, but next year we ought to be strong.”
Zia and Quay County, which won opening-round games on Thursday night in the double-elimination tournament, square off tonight in Tucumcari. Roosevelt County faces the loser of that game in a 7 p.m. start on Tuesday at Dickenson Field.