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Santa Fe Monsters, Espanola All-Stars play best-of-three for district championship at Santa Fe’s Franklin Miles Park

The winner is to advance as host for the regionals to be played at St. Michael’s

Tonight’s game scheduled for 6 o’clock on field No. 1

Arnie Leshin

By ARNIE LESHIN, Santa Fe Today

Win this weekend at Franklin Miles Park and then wait.

That’s the situation for the Santa Fe Monsters and the Espanola All-Stars when they play for the Junior Little League district championship and to represent it when the Southwest Regionals open play on Aug. 3 at St. Michael’s High School.

That’s correct, it’s where the Horsemen play and where the district winner advances as the host and without having to compete in the state tournament in Rio Rancho.

That’s what the Monsters and Espanola are in quest of, win district and get plenty of time to prepare for where they would be the hosts against teams from Texas West, Texas East, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, and the state champion from New Mexico.

Thus, two entries from the Land of Enchantment will be taking the field at St. Michael’s. But Monsters’ manager, Mark Quintana, is not thinking ahead, just focusing on the issue at hand, and that’s the team from Espanola.

“We beat them twice during the season,” he said, “but now they’ve combined their two teams and will probably be a better team, so we can’t take anything for granted.”

Pojoaque was also expected to play in the district tournament, but did not have enough available players to put together an all-star roster.

Quintana and the Monsters, who won district at 11-1 and avenged their lone loss to La Plaza Las Vegas, are very familiar to one another. He’s been coaching these youngsters since they starting playing as 6th graders, and of the 13 on his roster, 11 represent the Monsters.

His assistant coaches are Chris Kitchens, Rick Armijo and Carl Martinez, and they and Quintana have sons on the roster.

Quintana’s son, Marcus, plays either left or right field. Kitchens’ son, Xavier, plays second base, Martinez’ son, Jeremy, pitches and goes at first base, and Armijo’s son, right-hander Luc, pitches and plays the infield.

Right-hander Dominick Arellano is another pitcher, and he also goes at shortstop, while the lone left-hander is Martinez. Behind the plate will be catcher Adrian Ortega.

The other outfielders are Cipi Moya, Alan Salazar, and Joshua Durr. Thee other infielders are Durr’s twin, Jonah and Ben Wilson. Two players added to the 13-player roster are from district runner-up, Toyota of Santa Fe E & G, and they are Miguel Albrete and Chris Graham.

Tonight’s game is scheduled for a 6 o’clock start at field No. 1. It’s a best-of-three, and a second game will be played Saturday morning at 10, with a third game, if necessary, scheduled for Sunday at noon.

The state tournament will be played at Rio Rancho on two weekends, the first round July 14-16, and the finals July 21-23. The winner heads for the regionals, and that winner will play in the World Series at Taylor, Mich., Aug. 13-20.

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