Alpine ends rough losing string with victory over Las Vegas
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
LAS VEGAS, N.M. — After going 14-of-19 after a disastrous start to the season, Las Vegas is playing solid baseball. Alpine has been on a short skid, but both teams reversed their win-loss streaks Monday as the Cowboys topped the Train Robbers 14-8.
Alpine’s recent three-game losing string — two to Vegas — was very rough, so the team was ready to change things up.
“Yeah, very (rough). We hit rock bottom,” said manager Ryan Stevens. “I think everybody came to a point, they said, ‘We need to make adjustments. We need to turn it around.”
And they did, starting off with four runs in the second and never trailing.
“It was a well-played game between two good teams and they came out on top today,” said Las Vegas manager Casey Dill. “It was one of those games where we didn’t play our best defense. We’re kind of at the back end of our bullpen right now because we’ve been playing so many games on consecutive days. Those guys saw a lot of walks today, a few errors and they took advantage of them.”
Those second-inning runs started with a Joel Carranza single, an error, singles by Casanova Donaldson and Brycen Bell, a fielder’s choice then a 2 RBI single by Brian Smith and a balk that scored D.J. Johnson.
The Robbers tied the game in the third, scoring on one badly-fielded inning by the Cowboys. After a single by Gary Stauff, Joey Haskell reached on an error; John Hotta singled and Staff scored on another error; Will Walsh singled and advanced to third on n error that scored Haskell then Walsh scored on a put out.
But after that, the Cowboys played error-free ball and kept adding on the runs.
They scored three in the top of the fifth when Lotti and Carranza singled, Lotti scored on an error and Carranza on a wild pitch.
Las Vegas added one in the bottom of the stanza when Andrew Lopez, Hotta and Walsh each singled, but Alpine came back with three in the sixth — a double by Derrick Fox and singles by Eric Herman, Lotti and Mike Dobre — three in the eighth — Lotti walked, Carranza, Dobre and Brycen Bell singled, Kenshoku Takubo walked and Conor Thompson singled; and a final run in the ninth when Lotto walked and came around on another walk and Dobre single.
The Train Robbers came back with one run in the eighth on singles by A.J. Alexander and Ted LeMasters and two in the ninth — Haskell and Hotta singled, Walsh doubled and Hotta scored on an out.
But Alpine reliever Scott Hartling closed the door with two putouts before anyone else could cross the plate.
Stevens said winner Brian Smith did well, going six innings, giving up five runs, two earned, on seven hits and five strikeouts. Offensively, Carranza was 4-for-5 for the Cowboys, with three runs. Dobre was 3-for-6 with two runs and 3 RBI.
Starter Greg Fowler took the Train Robber loss, but three other Vegas pitchers — Reggie Hochstedler, Michael Kershner and Evan Mansell — each gave up runs in their one inning pitched.
Dill was not surprised at the relievers, and said it could be an interesting double-header Tuesday as both teams have used a lot of pitching.
“We’re both going to have to rely on our starters to eat up some innings,” he said. “If we get into each other’s bullpens early, we’re both at the back end of our pitching rotations. We both had a lot of pitchers throw the last couple of days. Our starters getting deep into the ballgame and eating up some innings is going to be important. I would say the winner of the two games tomorrow is going to be who’s pitcher goes the longest. So it’ll be interested to see.”
That doubleheader starts at noon Tuesday, with both teams then getting a day off for R-and-R before Alpine heads home and Las Vegas heads north for what could be a division-lead deciding series between the Train Robbers and Triggers.
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