Another day, another one-run victory at the Aquarium
Player/manager Ernie Munoz goes after a passed ball as Eric Herman heads for first. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ALAMOGORDO — It was yet another down-to-the-wire match between Alpine and White Sands Wednesday, with the Cowboys squandering a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the bottom of the ninth to give the Pupfish an 8-7 victory.
“We’re playing one of the better teams in the league, so Alpine and us, I think it’s going to be a battle every day,” said White Sands manager Ernie Munoz. “It’s been a one-run game this whole series, so we’re just playing good baseball right now and we’re going to keep rolling with it.”
For the most part, it was the starters who had a rough time as most of the runs came early in the game.
Alpine went up 4-0 after half an inning off Jason Kuks. Derrick Fox, Eric Herman and Casanova Donaldson all singled, then, two outs later, D.J. Johnson walked and Brycen Bell hit a 2-RBI single. Billy Crowe followed that with yet another single, and Alpine had what looked like a solid lead.
But, Munoz said, those hits were nothing to write home about.
“It was a bleeder here and a duck-walk here. They weren’t solid hits. There were about seven bloop singles today, just hitting them where our guys weren’t.”
And White Sands came back in the bottom of the stanza, scoring three off Gilbert Barrera.
J.J. Collins, Ernie Munoz and Cody Collins all singled, scoring Collins, then, with two outs, Mark Leacox doubled to make it 4-3 Alpine. Then, while the Cowboys shut down for the next two innings, the ‘Fish continued adding runs.
In the second, J.J. Costantino singled, Christian Ramirez walked and Munoz and Collins singled to make it 5-4. White Sands added a solo run in the third when Leacox doubled and Jerry Gonzales singled, but the Cowboys again battled back in the fourth.
Fox was hit and came home on a wild pitch and error that put Donaldson on first. Then, with two outs, Joel Carranza doubled him in, tying the game at 6-6.
The fifth saw the Pupfish again go on top when Leacox singled and Kuks doubled him in, then, after a scoreless sixth and seventh, both teams scored in the eighth.
Fox walked, stole second and came home on a Herman single that tied the game at 7-7, but White Sands took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when J.J. Costantino walked, advanced on two fly balls and scored on a wild pitch.
That set up the ninth.
Nick Alexander gave up a single to Logan Lotti, then Carranza reached on an error. The firsrt out advanced both runners, then Alexander hit Mike Dobre, loading the bases. But Alexander struck out the two pinch hitters that came to bat, ending the game with a one-run victory.
“He has ice in his veins,” Munoz said when asked why he didn’t pull Alexander. “He doesn’t feel the pressure in that situation. So we didn’t doubt him the whole time. We were comfortable with it and we came out on top.”
As far as offense, both teams had 14 hits and three walks, including a pair of doubles.
“We have a strong offense,” Munoz said. “We’ve known that from the get-go. It was just our bullpen, it was a matter if were were going to turn that around. I think we made a couple of errors here and there in the past three games, but errors are down. The defense is looking up and we’ve made a few changes to our bullpen and we’re ready to go now.”
That includes trying to take three out of four from the Cowboys in Thursday’s closer.
“We’re going to come out,” Munoz said. “That’s what we’re looking to do so we’ll take it game by game and we’ll see how tomorrow goes.”
Cody Collins scores on a Mark Leacox double. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Justin Kuks goes for the bunt. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Logan Lottie bare hands a Cody Collins single, but Christian Ramirez comes with the go ahead run and Ernie Munoz takes second. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Mark Leacox beats the throw home on a Jerry Gonzales single. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
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