The Santa Fe squad starts playing in the major tournament on Saturday | Sports
The red carpet has been rolled out, the teams are in place and the players are ready.
All it takes is for a referee to shout “Play ball”.
The annual Little League Majors Baseball State tournament – the age group whose end of storybook will let a team celebrate a World Series championship in Williamsport, Pa., Later this summer – kicks off on overdrive with eight games in the game. weekend courses, all at Santa Fe’s Parc Alto.
This is the first time Santa Fe has been chosen to host the Majors Tournament since 2009. One would have to go back six years to find the last playoff event that featured a Santa Fe team.
“We are so happy that it is finally time,” said Andrew Carbajal, the head coach and proud father of one of the players on the Santa Fe Little League All-Star team who topped the Santa Fe. District 1 championships almost three weeks ago en route to this weekend.
The 12-member roster is loaded with three solid starting pitchers and has more than enough offense to keep things interesting. The team will be on the pitch on Saturday morning, facing the winner of the Silver City-Springer match on Friday night.
The tournament has nine teams, with district champions from as far away as Carlsbad, Artesia, Clovis and Silver City, and metro-area teams like Rio Rancho, Albuquerque and Belen.
This is a double-elimination format, with the winner crowned next weekend, until Friday, in a much-needed match that will send the state champion to the regional Little League tournament in Waco, Texas. It takes place from August 5 to 11.
The winner would go on to represent the Southwest in the Little League World Series August 19-29 at Williamsport.
To get there, Carbajal said, it takes a huge dose of dreaming – and an even bigger dose of pitching. Little League rules state that a pitcher must have at least one day off if he (or she) throws more than 35 pitches in a game. If they hit a limit of 85 locations, that’s three days.
“That means you could get an innings or two before you hit 35, if you’re lucky,” Carbajal said. “You can’t win one of these tournaments if there aren’t at least four or five kids who can take the mound.”
The Santa Fe Little League has three quality starters, including Saturday starter Aidan Cedillo.
The key is to avoid early loss. The team that qualifies for the league game via the winner’s bracket is expected to win three games in three days, then be given a three-day break before next week’s final. A first round loss means falling into the elimination bracket with the prospect of having to win at least five games in as many days just to reach the league game.
“We welcome this thing but, you know, we don’t really feel the pressure,” Carbajal said. “You see how your players react in their body language and our players, they look good. They are relaxed. Well, not relaxed. They are excited but not nervous.
Carlsbad’s Shorthorn Little League is a juggernaut. He is the reigning two-time New Mexico state champion (there was no tournament in 2020 due to pandemic restrictions) and has made the final four times in a row. If you’re looking for a favorite, you’ve found it. … The District 8 champion is Sunset Little League from Rio Rancho. The District 8 champion has traditionally been at the same level as Shorthorn as Albuquerque powers Eastdale and Paradise Hills, as well as Rio Rancho’s Cibola, have been super competitive at the state level. … Santa Fe hasn’t had a state champion since 1996. No city team has reached the final since 2002.