And then there were none. Pupfish hand Invaders first loss
Matthew Faiman gets safely into third as the ball gets by third baseman Ryan Pembroke. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ALAMOGORDO — The Pupfish did something Wednesday no other team has been able to do this season: they beat Roswell 8-7 to had the Invaders their first loss of the season.
It did take 10 innings — which made the loss a little easier to take — but that also made the win sweeter.
“It feels great,” said White Sands manager Ernie Munoz. “The way we did it on the comeback win, it’s the best feeling in the world.”
“That’s the way it goes,” said Roswell manager Chris Ebright. “We just happened to get beat in the bottom of the last inning.”
The win was topped off with a walk-off triple by Mark Leacox, but there was lots of excitement earlier.
The game was close and low-scoring early, with strong performances by both starting pitchers.
Eric Zagone went seven for the ‘Fish, giving up only four runs,
Matthew Faiman scored in the first when he reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Roger Bernal and Vincent Mejia double.
The Invaders got two more in the second on a Nate Theunissen single followed by an Andrew Deeds shot over the left-field fence. Roswell got one more run in the fourth when Deeds beat out a bunt single, advanced on a ground out and scored on a single by Chad Kruse, who was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double.
Alamogordo got one run off Invader starter David Mueller when J.J. Costantino was hit, advanced on a put out and scored on a George Ban single. Mueller kept the next four innings scoreless, but left in the fifth because of an injury.
“I really wish we could have used him another inning or two, but his arm was just hanging,” Ebright said. “The way he battled with his arm sore. He’s a tough kid.”
The Pupfish closed the gap to 4-3 in the sixth off A.J. Alexander, scoring on a Mike Mendoza single that dropped between the fielders in short center field and a Cody Collins home run. White Sands took a 5-4 lead in the seventh off Jacob Cook, who gave up an Andrew Parrish single; a long RBI single by Costantino; a Mendoza RBI single and a fielder’s choice and error.
And while the start of the game was error free, things started looking a little sloppy late.
Roswell tied the game in the eighth off Pupfish reliever John Saavedra.
Bernal singled, Mejia was hit then one out later, Theunissen advanced on catcher obstruction to load the bases. Deeds singled to deep left, but left fielder Mendoza singled a catch and Theunissen turned around, headed back to second and was caught off base.
That sparked a discussion between the managers and umpires but once thing settled down, Saavedra got the final out.
Jesus Carlos came in and set the Pupfish down 1-2-3 in both the eighth and ninth, and
Nick Alexander did the same to Roswell in the ninth. But in the 10th, it appeared as though the Invaders would pull out another come from behind victory.
With one out, Mejia walked off Justin Kuks then McCarthy reached first on a fielder’s choice that saw Mejia safe at third. Theunissen reached on a second error, scoring Mejia, then a Deeds fielder’s choice and error scored McCarthy. Carlos then walked, but Erick Gaylord struck out, putting the lead at 7-5 and setting up the Pupfish heroics.
With Carlos still on the mound, Jerry Gonzales singled. Mendoza walked, Gonzales advanced on a wild pitch and came home on a George Ban single. WIth the small but very enthusiastic crowd cheering their favorites on, Collins got the first out of the inning then Leacox came to bat and on a 2-2 count, nailed a shit into center that brought home the winning runs.
“It’s unbelievable. Very exciting,” Leacox said of the win. Asked what he was thinking at the plate, “Just stay short, quick to the ball and hit it hard. Simple,” he said.
How did he feel knowing how Carlos had pitched in the previous two innings?
“I had a lot of confidence. I was just looking for a good pitch in the zone to get a good swing on. Keep it simple. Challenge him.”
And that’s what he got.
“Absolutely. I was very happy with that. Very happy. They’re a very good team. I’m glad to get a win.”
“We played strong,” Munoz said. “Our errors were in the ninth inning. We played no-error baseball until the ninth inning then we let a few get away, but the best part about it is we didn’t stop fighting and we came back and scored three in the bottom of the 10th.”
Ebright didn’t seem too concerned with the loss.
“We knew they could hit. We used up a lot of bullpen and I wasn’t going to use up any more. Jesus did a great job,” he said.
Roswell heads back to Joe Bauman Stadium Thursday for a matchup against Alpine, and Ebright said there won’t be any changes.
“We’re not going to do anything different. We’ve got our starter, Jonathan Sa going tomorrow. We’re going to just keep playing baseball.”
White Sands will face Trinidad, but Munoz said he doesn’t care who comes to town.
“We just want to play our own ball right now,” he said. “We’ve been playing against the other teams and beating ourselves. We just have to play our game the way we play.”
Mark Leacox goes down trying to catch Chad Cruse off base. Ten innings later, Leacox would get the game-winning hit for White Sands. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
J.J. Constantino is congratulated after scoring the first Pupfish run. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Andrew Deeds get congratulations from manager Chris Ebright after hitting a two-run home run. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Pupfish pitcher Eric Zagone comes in for backup as first baseman Chris Collins will the ball to go foul. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
David Mueller only allowed one run and two hits through five innings, but got no decision. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
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