Cowboys close out home stand with win over Taos
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ALPINE, Texas — It’s not often you hear a coach singing the praises of his opposition, but that’s exactly what Alpine manager Ryan Stevens did after a 9-3 victory over Taos Wednesday.
“I’ve got to tell you, that team that Taos has, (Manager Matt) Leahy, he’s got some athletes on his team,” Stevens said. “He has got some dudes who can hit the ball. They have some speed. I mean, I have a lot of team speed, but they’ve got some speed and athletes! Holy moly! They are a very good team. People should not sleep on them. That’s one of the best teams I’ve seen.”
And that praise comes after a game in which the Blizzard ran out of bench players — they’d sent a busload home to Taos the day before — and had to pitch a last-minute starter.
The originally-scheduled starter got ill earlier in the day, and Shane Flynn had to step in with only 10 minutes notice.
“So he did pretty well for four innings,” Leahy said. “Any time you can put a guy in that kind of situation and he comes out like Shane did, you have to praise him. He kept us in it for four innings, and it’s not like he had five or six days to prepare for it, like every other starter. Quite frankly, the kid’s pitching his butt off, and he’s our go-to guy right now.”
Flynn gave up three Alpine runs and left the game trailing 3-1.
Casanova Donaldson and Joel Carranza walked in the first and Donaldson came home on an error. Logan Lotti singled and Tyler Rost walked in the fourth, then both scored on a Billy Crowe triple.
Bryce Weidman was doing his job for the Cowboys, allowing only one run in the fourth — on a Khyle Dimino single, error and wild pitch.
Steve Sanguliano kept the game close in the fifth and sixth, then, in the seventh, both teams scored.
A Louis Gonzales double and Christopher Ciatti RBI single sent Weidman to the showers, but Derrick Mitchell closed out the rest of the stanza.
Derrick Fox singled for Alpine in the bottom of the inning, stole second and went to third on a put out. Donaldson walked and both came in on a Carranza double, making it 5-2.
The Blizzard got their final run in the eighth on a Diminio single and Chris Constantino double. But the Cowboys broke the game open in the bottom of the eighth, adding a final four runs on four hits and an error.
Alpine only had 10 hits overall, taking advantage of walks and errors, but Rost was solid, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored.
Stevens sounded very pleased with the effort.
“It was a good all around defense. We pitched real well. My young catchers really stepped up in the absence of Mike Dobre being hurt. I’m just happy. I’m happy because we’re not even playing our best baseball. We’re not playing great baseball. We’re playing solid baseball.”
And Leahy, who came in in the sixth to play first, didn’t sound too unhappy.
“We chalk it up to experience,” he said. “We got some experience today and at the end of the day, Ryan’s squad is pretty damned good, too. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we see each other again down the road at the end of the season.”
The Blizzard head back to Santa Fe to face the Fuego Thursday, and with many of his pitchers rested, Leahy is looking forward to the rematch.
“It looks like Santa Fe has been knocked around a little bit,” he said. “We set that up perfectly, because they had relievers come in who were starters and they may have beat us a few games but at the end of the day, we beat them up. And Raton got those wins against Santa Fe because of us. Period. Larry Rodriguez threw a lot of pitches against us, then two days later he went into the bullpen and we knocked him around. He tried to come in again against Raton, so they’re going to get burned out and we won’t.”
The Cowboys head to Roswell, and Stevens is talking smack.
“We’re going for them,” he said. “We’re going to get those neon-green uniforms. We’re not going to come to town quietly, I tell you that much.”
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