Fuego answer back to win over Osos
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — After Game 2 of a four-game series between Santa Fe and Raton was washed out Wednesday in Raton, the teams moved to Santa Fe Thursday, and despite a valiant late-game try by the Osos, the Fuego made it two in a row, winning 12-10.
“We swung the bat pretty well,” said Santa Fe manager Bill Moore of the victory. “Probably the middle of the game, (Raton) brought a new guy out (Tim Sylvester) and I thought he pitched pretty well against us, but we finally kind of figured him out. We have a thing that we talk about frequently called an answer inning. And we did that all night long tonight. An answer inning is when the other team scores, we have to come in and get one back at least, and hopefully as many as they did or more.”
That was pretty much what the Fuego did all night, coming back with enough to keep them close early, then go ahead late.
Raton manager Ray Hancock said the reason for the loss hasn’t changed.
“We’re still back to the same problem we’ve had, pitching,” he said. “We just can’t get past the third inning, bottom line. If we can’t get our starting pitchers to go five, six, seven innings, it’s just hard for us to compete. Bottom line. We’ve got the bats, which showed. We came back; we got 10 runs, but when we give away four, five, six runs in a couple of innings, we’re just battling from the very beginning.”
Raton went up early on one of several home runs in long-ball friendly Fort Marcy Park. Westly Jones knocked in Travis Fuquay to take a 2-0 lead.
The Fuego answered back in the bottom of the stanza with a Josh Barnett single and Kyle Zimmerman RBI double, then the teams traded numbers in the second. The Osos scored one run on singles by Louie Saenz and Fuquay, while Santa Fe tied the game at 3-3 when Evan Mansill singled, Kellen Lee walked and both came in on a Barnett single.
The difference in the game might have been the third, when Fuego starter Josh White shut the Raton bats down, while Jordan Lehman couldn’t do the same for the Osos. Santa Fe put up three runs when Jimmy Maxwell doubled; Larry Rodriguez reached on an error; Maxwell stole home; and Lee sent the ball out of the park to make it 6-3.
Both sides had two in the fourth.
Oso Steve Taft singled and came home on a Ryan Barban home run while Sylvester hit the first batter he faced and walked the next with both scoring on a two-out single by Maxwell. Sylvester and White kept the fifth and sixth scoreless, but the bats started up again in the seventh, with Raton getting three runs and Santa Fe four, stretching the lead to 12-8.
The Oso runs came in on three singles, a Matt Lynch RBI double and an error, while the Fuego runs came on a Maxwell double, followed by three walks, a hit batter and another walk. A.J. Martin couldn’t get an out and while Richard Suniga did, a CHarlie Calamia single brought in the fourth run.
The Osos cut the margin a bit in the ninth, scoring on solo home runs by Fuquay and Michael Lange, but Charlie McCready got the final two outs and the save for Santa Fe.
Moore was happy with his starter, who got the win.
“He pitched well,” the manager said. “He gave up a few more runs (than I would have liked.) I think he gave up a couple of cheap Fort Marcy home runs, but he pitched well. He’ll certainly, five days from now, pitch again.”
Hancock again was happy with his team’s hitting, but even two new pitchers couldn’t halt the problem the Osos have on the mound.
“Hitting’s going well,” he said. “I do believe we have the best hitters in the league but you can only hit so much. Your pitching staff has to help. They have to do their job. And we just haven’t found the right combination yet.”
The two teams will wrap up the shortened series — Wednesday’s rainout will be made up at the next Raton meeting — Friday, and neither coach is looking to do much different.
“Basically, the same game plan, only work a little bit harder,” Hancock said, noting 90 percent of his team is giving it all they have. “It bboils down to pitching. Without pitching, you’re really starting from scratch. It’s just tough.”
No change, Moore said.
“I really hope not. I just really hope we attack them and put more points on the wall. We’ll just scuffle it out and see what happens.”
Phil Grondin contributed to this story
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