RATON — Makayla Quintana got to play the part of hero in Tuesday’s District 4 Little League All-Star final for 9-10 softball.
Quintana, 9, came into the game as a pinch runner and used her speed to reach third and then score the winning run for Las Vegas in a walk-off 6-5 verdict over Raton.
The game required nine innings in 96-degree heat.
Knotted up at 5-5 through five innings, Las Vegas and tournament host Raton both managed to put base runners on — even getting all the way around to third — during the extra frames. But neither team could deliver the knockout by driving in the run.
That was until the bottom of the ninth, when LVLL 9-10 manager Angela Pino swapped in the diminutive but quick Quintana.
The 9-10 girls’ victory was the first of several district championship appearances for LVLL this past week.
Later in the day, LVLL’s 10-11 softball team defeated Taos 17-6 for the title in that division. Despite a rocky start, in which Vegas allowed four walks and two runs in the top of the first inning, the Meadow City girls soon rediscovered their firepower and outgunned their opponents. Jennika Padilla got on with a walk and went on to score LVLL’s first run; Vegas added two more in the inning to take the lead.
The 10-11 girls, who won by double digits in each of their three district tourney games, will open state tournament play on Friday evening in Santa Fe.
Las Vegas’ 11-12 girls also made it to the final Tuesday, ultimately falling to Raton by a 16-2 count.
Two LVLL baseball squads reached their respective finals, as did La Plaza 10-11 baseball.
An 11-2 victor in the semis, Las Vegas 9-10 was to play on Thursday, the winner between Raton and Taos.
La Plaza 10-11 — getting a home run, four hits and four RBI from Brian Gonzales, plus multi-hit games from Robbie Alarcon, Santi Mondragon and Fernando Lujan, — beat Taos 12-7 to set up a rematch with Raton in Thursday’s final.
Las Vegas 11-12 romped past Taos 20-3 to make the final Friday night vs. either Raton or Taos. D.J. Abreu hit two home runs, and J.R. Gonzales and Brandon Trujillo had one each against Taos. Earlier, Trujillo struck out 11 in four innings as Vegas shut out Raton 7-0.