One late run gives Santa Fe win over Las Vegas
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — Saturday’s game between Santa Fe and Las Vegas in Fort Marcy Park featured 29 runs, 35 hits — including nine home runs — and 13 pitchers. It was, said Santa Fe coach Bill Moore, “a great baseball game. I like to joke about it and call it a typical Fort Marcy pitcher’s duel.”
And with all those hits, home runs and pitchers, the game came down to oe run in the bottom of the eighth that gave the Fuego a 15-14 victory over the Train Robbers.
The game went back and forth all night.
Las Vegas went up 1-0 after one and held that lead after two, when both teams picked up a trio of runs, making it 4-3.
The FUego retook the lead in the bottom of the third with four runs; SAnta Fe matched that in the top of the fifth then Santa Fe came back with five in the bottom of the stanza, keeping them on top 12-8.
Special mention should go to pitcher Kelby Langston (Santa Fe) and Eddie Medina (Las Vegas) as the fifth was one of only two innings that saw no runs scored on either side. (The other was the seventh, which saw Medina and Chuck Fontana combine for Las Vegas, while Jerome Romero kept the Robbers off the board.)
The seventh inning again tied things up, with Las Vegas picking up six runs on six hit — home runs by Chris Wilson and Will Walsh helped the cause — and Santa Fe coming back in the bottom of the inning with two more to tie the game at 14-all.
The seventh inning was scoreless and Nick Huff kept it that way for Santa Fe in the top of the eighth. But the Fuego got the only run the really needed in the bottom of the stanza, when Josh Barnett advanced on a dropped third strike. Charlie Calamia walked, then, after a double steal, Huff walked and Michael Kershner came in for Las Vegas, walking Bryson Sims to bring in the winning run in a somewhat anticlimactic manner.
Kershner got Devonte Odums to strike out, but Jared Bowser closed the door on the Train Robbers with a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.
“Our pitching came out of the bullpen and I thought we were pretty dang good,” Moore said. “Our starter just kind of had a tough night, but the guys came in and picked him up and gave us a chance to come back and do business.”
Offensively, the big hits came from both teams.
Randy Wells hit a two-run shot for Las Vegas in the second while Larry Rodriguez got a solo homer for the Fuego in the bottom of the inning, and Kellen Lee got a 2 RBI shot in the same stanza.
Jimmy Maxwell hit a three-run shot for Santa Fe in the third, and Wells got his second of the night in the fourth, bringing home three Robbers.
Sims got his second ever homer in the bottom of the fourth — “This one he hit with a little more authority. I think he hit it out against the wind, so maybe he’s in the weight room or something between starts,“Moore laughed — and Larry Rodriguez got his second of the night.
The two Train Robber homers in the sixth were the final balls that left the park Saturday, but they certainly weren’t the last hits.
Las Vegas had 16 hits and Santa Fe 19, with doubles by Odums, Rodriguez and pinch hitter Eric Scott.
“Little kudos to Eric Scott,” Moore said. “He’s been scuffling with the bat and this is three consecutive games that he’s had a pinch hit base hit.”
After going through seven pitchers, the Fuego also ran out of pinch hitters and had to let a Huff in the bottom of the eighth.
“We got lucky. We had first and second with two outs and they walked the guy. Wow! Thank you,” Moore said.
One pinch hitter who didn’t get a hit was Anthony Welsh, who Moore said was robbed by weather.
“The hardest ball he’s hit all year and the wind caught it and held it up and he was out.”
And, with only one errir on each side, the defense was solid as well.
“Fuego played very good defense another night in a row,” Moore said. “I think we had one double play that was critical in the game. Our second baseman, Kyle Zimmerman, made two exceptional plays in the middle of rallies that kind of took them out of the ball game a little bit.”
And Moore had nothing but kind words for the opposition.
“They’re a good baseball team. I’ve said it before, Casey Dill is just a terrific manager. He puts a good product out on the field and typically speaking, you’ve got to beat them. They’re not going to beat themselves. They gave us a couple of runs late in the game which really helped us out, but that’s a little uncharacteristic of them, I think.”
Barring another smoke postponement — the Tres Lagunas fire continues to burn between Santa Fe and Las Vegas, with zero containment as of early Sunday morning — the teams will meet Sunday on Rodriguez Field in Vegas at 4 p.m. Moore expects another close match.
“I expect we’re going to have to play well to get a W up there,” he said. “That’s a good ball club. And we’re going to have to beat them instead of waiting for them to beat themselves.”
Phil Grondin contributed to this story
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