By Karl Terry: PNT managing editor
You don’t come away a winner every time in life or baseball.
It’s tough enough for young people to learn that lesson on their home diamond in front of bleachers filled with family and fans quick to put their arm around them and tell them they played a good game. The Roosevelt All-Stars 10- and 11-year-olds learned the lesson on a whole lot bigger stage this past week — in the state championship.
I know there were lots of family and friends making the trip to Deming for the tournament so hopefully these kids know how we all feel.
But in case you guys haven’t figured it out, or need a reminder — we’re proud of you.
You not only played a great game against a great opponent, you worked together as a team to go deeper into the tournament than any other team has in recent years. It was a great tournament and a great season for Roosevelt County Little League.
The night before the team was set to leave for Deming, tragedy struck in the form of a motorcycle accident that sent one of the All-Star team members on a life-flight to a Lubbock hospital. According to coaches, being without their buddy Daniel Sanchez was weighing heavy on the team when they arrived for opening ceremonies a week ago Friday.
That worry turned into jubilation and a resolve when Daniel talked to the whole team on speakerphone from his hospital a few hours before the game. Daniel reportedly told them to win the tournament for him.
They didn’t win — they game up a run short in the championship — but they did Daniel and the community proud in the process.
In the end it came down to beating every team they faced twice in the double-elimination tournament, not an easy feat when you’re playing with teams on the highest level in the state.
Having played and coached Little League myself (actually we weren’t sanctioned by Little League way back then) I know what the kids experienced when they lost Friday to Albuquerque Eastdale.