Blizzard freeze out Fuego
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — Taos’ second game as the home team at Fort Marcy Park ended pretty much like the first one did, but without quite as many fireworks from the Blizzard batters. Taos topped the Fuego 11-6, but both coaches were pretty happy with what they saw.
“We played pretty good baseball,” said Santa Fe manager Bill Moore. “Our starting guy pitched pretty well. We made some mental errors and they were probably the difference in the ball game.”
“I feel pretty great,” agreed Taos manager Matt Leahy. “Our pitchers came in; we got over some speed bumps. Threw strikes; threw first-pitch strikes and, you know, our bats came in in a timely manner, scored runs and stole, not as many bases as I would like, as I can ever like, but we stole enough and got some runs across early.”
Play-by-play and accurate stats were not available, but Taos jumped up 2-0 in the first when Khyle Dimino reached on a fielders choice, scored on a double by Cody Coffman and Coffman came home on singles by Chris Costantino and Brennan May.
The Blizzard made it 3-0 in the second when pitcher Luis Gonzales singled and scored, but Santa Fe took the lead in the third, scoring on an error, hit batter, fielder’s choice, single by Devonte Odums and three-run home run by Larry Rodriguez.
The Fuego stretched the lead to 5-3 in the top of the fifth when Bryson Sims walked and came home on an Odoms single and out. Leahy said starter Eric Berkowitz did well.
“He got into the fifth then just kind of ran out of gas. Any time you get up in the 80, 90, 100 pitches in the fifth it’s just too many. So he dealt pretty well until then. Started giving up some runs and we brought in the reinforcements.”
Those reinforcements made sure the lead was short-lived, they shut down the Fuego for all but one inning as Taos added two more in the bottom of the next four innings.
Coffman and May both homered for the Blizzard, May twice, giving him a 4-for-5 day with two runs and 3 RBI. Costantino and Dimino were each 3-for 5; John Apostolo and Coffman 2-for-5; and Richardson 2-for-4. Kellen Lee and Sims were both 2-for-3 for Santa Fe.
Camacho was a new starter for Santa Fe, and he pitched well enough to stick around, Moore said.
“He pitched very well. He threw a lot of strikes. I thought he did a good job for us. I invited him to pitch for us for the rest of the summer if he continues to perform like he did. I had a hole in the pitching rotation that I wrote down on the dugout wall tonight and I put him in. He’s a good guy.”
And, with only three errors by each team, both coaches were fairly happy with their defense.
“We did pretty well,” Leahy said. “We threw the ball around a little bit. We had a double-play ball where it hit the water spigot in the infield. I’ve never seen that before in professional baseball, but welcome to the Pecos League. We recovered, we did well.”
“Mostly OK,” Moore said. “We dropped a couple of balls in the outfield and we made just some mental mistakes in the infield. We didn’t play as crisp as we need to to finish a game off.”
The teams will wrap up their four-game series Sunday with Santa Fe again becoming the home team, and Moore said he’ll be starting Freezy Smalls, the pitcher who broke the Fuego’s last two-game loss string.
“(We’re going to) come out and try to get even in the series and go 2-2 and move forward,” the manager said. “We’re not going to make any drastic changes or anything and quite honestly, we’ve had a couple of two-game losing streaks and come back and had two-game winning streaks. I’m not afraid of anything that we’re doing or that we’ve done. I think we’ll come back out and give it a good competitive game again tomorrow.”
Leahy, whose team now sits third in the tough southern division, said his team just wants to keep scoring.
“I’m trying to put 30 runs across, and I won’t be satisfied until we do it five or six times. That’s what we’re striving to do.”
Phil Grondin contributed to this story
Fuego Eric Scott looks for the pitch. (Photo by Sara Galano)
Eric Berkowitz went five innings for Taos. (Photo by Sara Galano)
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