Invaders win pitching duel vs. Pupfish
Andrew Shoemaker tries to lay down the bunt. He didn't succeed — he was thrown out at first — but he pitched seven innings, shutting out the Pupfish. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ROSWELL — For six innings Monday, Roswell and White Sands battled in a pitcher’s duel, with Pupfish Matt Gibbs and Invader Andrew Shoemaker keeping the other team off balance and off base. Even though Roswell won 7-4, Invader manager Chris Ebright had praise for both teams.
“That was a great ball game,” he said. “Heck, we finished in 2-1/w hours. Gibbs, he’s a great pitcher for them and for us, Shoemaker went seven scoreless. He did great.”
There were only two runs through six innings, both by Roswell.
In the bottom of the first, Chad Kruse singled and advanced to second on a 1-3 ground out by Ryan Normoyle. During that defensive play, Gibbs caught a knee in the back of his calf, but staying in despite the pain.
“After that, he was pitching through that injury right there,” said acting White Sands manager Andrew Parrish. “He was struggling with that. I know that was hurting him as well, but he got through it and did a great job. He kept them scoreless for four innings, five innings right there. He battled through it, we just didn’t swing the bats early. That’s what we’ve got to do to win ball games.”
Despite the injury, Gibbs got a second out but then Vincent Mejia singled, putting the Invaders up 1-0.
Mike McCarthy opened the bottom of the second with a triple but once again, Gibbs got two outs before Erick Gaylord singled to score McCarthy.
After that, Gibbs shut Roswell down through the sixth, while the Pupfish were unable to cross the plate vs. Shoemaker.
The Invaders got out of the fourth with a double play, then, with two outs in the fifth, Steven Rogers singled and Gibbs reached on an error that put runners at second and third, but George Ban flew out to center for the third out.
Both teams put one batter on in the sixth but couldn’t score, then White Sands put runners on fist and second in the seventh, but Mark Leacox, who had doubled, was out at third on an unusual third to first double play, and the Invaders came back in the bottom of the stanza to score two runs.
Andrew Deeds opened the inning with a double and scored on a Matthew Faiman single and two-base error. Faiman then scored on a Kruse single.
The last two innings belonged to the relievers, and while Faiman got out of the eighth unscathed despite a single by Ban and throwing error, ‘Fish John Saavedra wasn’t quite as lucky.
The first two batters he faced, Charles Dubanoski and McCarthy, singled, advanced on a wild pitch and, with two outs, scored on a double by Gaylord who stole second and came home on an error.
White Sands finally got on board in the ninth off relieve Jesus Carlos, who, Ebright said, was pitching on little rest.
“We just used him the other day and I just wanted to see what he could do with not a lot of rest and he’ll be just fine,” the manager said.
Leacox walked and stole second, Ryan Pembroke singled then, with two outs, Ban walked to load the bases and Christian Ramirez hit a 2 RBI single. Mike Mendoza followed that with a 2 RBI single, but Carlos helped his own cause when Cody Collins hit back to the pitcher, who threw to first for the final out.
Ebright said the late comeback reminded him of the Invaders.
“That’s kind of the way we had been in the first six games,” he said. “We were kind of lulled through the first five, six, seven innings. That’s the game of baseball. It’s not like basketball you can just run the clock out or football you can take a knee. You have to play all night.”
And, Parrish said, playing all night is what his team needs to do.
“As far as we go, we didn’t swing early,” he said. “As you can see, we didn’t swing the rest of the night. So their pitcher did well. He kept us off balance a little bit, I guess you could say. He pitched well and we didn’t hit it so he did his job. We have a great hitting team, and as you can see, right there at the end, we can put it together. We’ve just got to start putting it together a little earlier.”
The teams will continue the series at the Aquarium in Alamogordo Tuesday and Wednesday, and both coaches are thinking positive.
“We’re going to do it,” Parrish said. “We’ve got two more games at home against them, and we’re going to get it done. We’ll be at home and everything will be good to go.”
“We’ve seen them in spring training. We’ve seen them the last two nights and I’m sure it’s going to be a couple of good baseball games,” Ebright said. “The one thing I’m happy about it that we’ve already hit at their field. We’ve seen the backdrop. But again, they’re a good baseball team and it should be a couple of good games.”
Chad Cruse breaks his bat en route to a single and a run in the first inning of Monday's game vs. White Sands. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
Matt Gibbs threw a strong game Monday, but a lack of offense by his team led to the loss. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
Erick Gaylord slides safely into third as George Ban looks for the ball. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
Mike Mendoza makes the catch in left. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
First baseman Andrew Parrish makes the throw to pitcher Matt Gibbs for the out. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
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