Home Sports Local Sports Roswell falls to Artesia in championship game

Roswell falls to Artesia in championship game

NOLL-All Stars take second-place as they lose to Artesia All-Stars, on Friday. (David Rocha Photo)

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For a while Friday evening, Roswell’s Noon Optimist Little League All-Stars and the Artesia All-Stars were involved in a tight game during the New Mexico Little District 2, 9- and 10-year-old championship game at Lions Hondo Little League field.

Artesia won the title trophy 20-7 and will advance to sectional play next month.

Artesia scored three runs in the top of the first and Roswell would answer with six runs in the bottom of the inning.

“We started out with the bats and that’s all we asked the boys (to do) was to load the bases,” said Roswell manager Gilbert Ortega.

Cody Seely led off the inning with a single and then advanced to second on a passed ball. Jaden Herrera was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second as Elias Lujan walked and then the cleanup hitter Michael Hernandez Ortega hit a three-run triple to right field.

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“So that put us up on them early,” Ortega said. “We batted around the whole first inning.”

Roswell had a 6-3 lead and then Artesia’s bats came alive in the second inning, scoring 10 runs.

“They just came out with the sticks,” Ortega said. “They got good runs and Artesia just came to play a little harder than we did. Our boys came and played all week long, which counts.”

Artesia manager Robert Morales admitted that his team settled down after the opening frame.

“They came out hitting and we were down in the first inning,” said Morales.

Roswell scored one run in the bottom of the second inning and then Artesia got some insurance in the third and fourth innings, scoring four and two runs respectively.

Morales felt Artesia had been the model of consistency during the whole tournament.

“All week, they had been hitting the ball every time they can and making plays when they could,” Morales said.

In order to be an All-Star, there is a selection process as kids and coaches vote to pick the competitors who will play for their respective communities.

In the case of the Roswell team, Ortega said the players were picked a couple of weeks ago and then play started last week.

“We started on Friday and we played Eastside Little League (from Roswell). On Saturday, we got a bye because Mescalero Little League dropped out,” Ortega said. “We didn’t play until Monday and then we played Lions Hondo and lost. On Tuesday, we played Ruidoso, we won that. On Wednesday, we played Alamogordo. On Thursday, we played Lions Hondo, which we beat, and tonight we played Artesia for the championship game.”

Ortega has been coaching the All-Stars for five years and he feels this team was one of the most talented he has seen during his tenure.

“For only having about 15 days, these boys have never played with each other,” Ortega said. “Putting them together, we did two-a-days, early morning batting practice and two to three hours of field practice.”

The Little League season for Ortega started in February. For the kids, it started in March. Ortega said he and the kids are ready for a break.

“The majority of my All-Stars play on travel ball teams and half of them probably play on Roswell Rampage and the other half play on Roswell Aces. They’ll probably start back up in August and play travel baseball throughout New Mexico,” said Ortega.

After the game, both sides were presented with their respective trophies. The players, coaches and fans shook hands and the Roswell folks wished good luck to Artesia as they represent District 2 in sectional play.

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