Lotti leads Alpine to 6-3 victory over Pupfish
It was pitcher vs. pitcher in the third inning Thursday as Pupfish Chris Anklem tried to leg out a bunt while Cowboy Bob Cook fielded the ball. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ALAMOGORDO — After an error-filled, high scoring game at the Aquarium Wednesday, the Cowboys and Pupfish battled in a pitcher’s duel Thursday, with Alpine coming out on top in the ninth, 6-3.
Still, Alpine coach Ryan Stevens wasn’t completely happy.
“Not happy with the (three) errors, but I was really proud of the way the pitchers threw today,” he said. “They put up a gutsy performance, and it reminded me of last year’s pitching staff the way they put it together.”
Cowboy starter Bob Cook, a rookie, threw a strong six innings.
“It was his first start and he came out and he pitched his heart out,” Stevens said. “I thought it was a gutsy performance and I thought our bullpen looked really good.”
The scoring started in the second when Cowboy Brycen Bell hit a shot out of the park. The Pupfish tied it up in the third when Brett Mendoza and J.J. Costantino singled, with Mendoza coming home on a sac fly by Christian Ramirez.
Another home run — this by Logan Lotti, his first of two in the game — made it 2-1 Alpine in the fifth, then once again White Sands tied it up when Jerry Gonzales singled, stole second and came home on a Mark Leacox single in the sixth.
Both starters — Chris Anklam and Cook — went out in the sixth — and relievers D.J. Stinsman, Mike Castrignano and Jeremy Burright allowed one run for each team in the seventh, keeping it tied at 3-3.
Alpine scored when Eric Herman singled, stole second and came home on a Carranza double. The Pupfish got their run when Costantino singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on an error by Burright.
Justin Mauldin and Sean Kistler kept the eighth scoreless, then Ernesto Zaragaza was tagged for the winning runs in the top of the ninth.
We hit the ball,” Stevens said. “We didn’t drive in enough runners, but in the top of the ninth, Logan Lotti took a 92-mile-per-hour fast ball and parked it.
“Whoever that 20-year-old that (White Sands manager) Ernie (Munoz) just brought in, he was throwing gas. The first one he blew by Lotti, then the second one he took it deep.”
“It was just a pitch we shouldn’t have thrown in that situation, was all,” Munoz said. “Lotti did a great job hitting that pitch.”
After that, Carranza, Casanova Donaldson and Bell each singled, with Bell bringing in two runs, then Scott Hartline came in in the bottom of the ninth and shut the Pupfish down.
But despite the loss, Munoz was much happier than the past few games.
“We played well,” he said. “Our starter, Chris Anklem, went, I think, six innings strong. I guess we made a couple of bad decisions on pitches there in the last inning. Gave up a home run here and double there, and before you knew it it was 6-3.”
Friday, the teams wrap up their third series at the Aquarium in the first month of Pecos League play, and both manager know it’s the little things that will make the difference.
“We’ve got to clean up the errors. We’ve got to drive runners in and I need more out of the relief pitchers,” Stevens said.
“We’ll be fine,” Munoz said. “We never really separated. We just got a little comfortable for a couple of days there. We know it’s going to be a grind and we know what we’re looking at here and we just want to get to the playoffs, however that’s going to happen.”
Cowboy shortstop Brycen Bell makes the toss to second baseman Derrick Fox to get runner George Ban. Fox then ... (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
... threw to first, where Jerry Gonzales was put out by Joel Carranza. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Pupfish third baseman Mark Leacox charges the ball but can't make the play, loading the bases with Cowboys. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
Pitcher Chris Anklem lays down the bunt. (Photo by Josh Szwaczkowski)
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