Santa Fe edges Osos at Fort Marcy
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — After two identical six-run losses in Raton, the Fuego came home to host the Osos Tuesday, pulling off a late-game 8-7 victory.
The difference, said Santa Fe manager Bill Moore, came from all areas of the game.
“Our starting pitcher, Freezy Small, first time with us, he threw a lot of strikes,” Moore said. “We walked a few guys, but it wasn’t to the extent that it was up there and I think our defenders played a little better and we got clutch hits, which we didn’t up in Raton.”
The game was pretty evenly back-and-fourth through six innings.
Both teams scored in the second — Raton on a Michael Lange single, two passed balls and a put out and the Fuego on two walks and a Kyle Zimmerman single — the the Osos took the lead in the fourth.
Logan Morello started things off with a walk, Louie Saenz singled and Lange doubled, then Saenz came home on an out. Raton made it 4-1 in the fifth when Travis Fuquay singled, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a Steadman Smith single.
But Santa Fe closed the gap to 4-3 in the bottom of the stanza when Larry Rodriguez hit a two out double, Jimmie Maxwell and Eric Scott walked and Zimmerman singled in two.
Brian DelRosso tripled in A.J. Doyle in the top of the sixth, but the Fuego tied the game in the bottom of the stanza. Pinch hitter Chris Wakefield walked and Josh Barnett and Charlie Calamia both doubled, tying the game at 5-5. By this time, both starters — Dustin Javins started for Raton —were gone, with Anthony Welsh in for Santa Fe and DelRosso for Raton.
Welsh struck out Smith, the first batter he faced, but a dropped third strike put Smith on base and he came around to score on singles by Saenz and Lange. DelRosso allowed a lone single in the in the bottom of the seventh, but wasn’t so lucky in the eighth.
After Rodriguez moved from first to pitcher and shut Raton down in the eighth, CHarlie Calamia again tied the game, using one swing to send the ball out of the park. After Devante Odoms doubled, DelRosso was done and Tim Sylvester hit Rodriguez to load the bases then Maxwell doubled to make it 8-6.
An error, a fielder’s choice and a double kept things interesting in the top of the ninth, as, with runners at second and third and two outs, Lange scored on a Doyle single. But a fielder’s choice ended the game, letting the Santa Fe fans breathe a sigh of relief.
Moore had high praise for Rodriguez, who not only played seven innings at first — getting six putouts and four assists — and went 1-for-2 with two runs scored but closed out the game on the mound.
“Larry Rodriguez is a very good baseball player,” the manager said. “He’s a very talented player with the bat and I think he’s one of the better pitchers I’ve ever had in Fort Marcy ball park. He throws a lot of strikes and says, ‘OK. Show me what you’ve got.’”
Zimmerman had the best Fuego night at the plate, going 4-for-5.
Raton manager Ray Hancock was a lot less pleased with his squad.
“My players decided to not come play tonight,” he said. “They just came flat. They didn’t do the things they should have done to prepare for the game and it shows.”
He said Javins — who gave up three runs in 4.2 innings — “did a good job. He just failed to get any hitting behind him, which my team is actually built for this particular field. I’ve got a ton of left-handed hitters and they just didn’t come through. They just weren’t ready.”
Saying the loss was due to “laziness,” Hancock said there will be some changes when the series wraps up Wednesday.
“My plan is, the ones who come to play will play,” he said. “The ones who do what they did tonight before the game will sit on the bench.”
Moore just wants to keep things on a steady keel.
“My plan is to try to score more runs than they do and play with the same enthusiasm we played with tonight,” he said. “Our guys are very enthused. We weren’t down after we lost two games. We just had to figure out the adjustments; how to shuffle the deck to put us in a better position to beat these guys.”
Game time is 6 p.m. in Fort Marcy Park.
Phil Grondin contributed to this story
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