Cowboys Win Home Opener
Home Opener Victory
Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah
Cowboys Corral Fuego at Kokernot 5-1
Friday, May 18, 2012
The wind picked-up just before the first pitch of the Alpine Cowboys Pecos League home opener against the Santa Fe Fuego visitors. It matched the excitement and opening day jitters of the Boys and fans alike. What to expect? Most were brand new to the Alpine dugout; with only 4 of last years team back for another rodeo.
Returning to town after a rain-shortened road trip to Roswell brought the team back with a 0-2 record; where both losses were 9th inning heart-breakers of well-pitched games by both clubs. A short pre-season and perhaps insufficient game time experience left expectations running on “we just don’t know”; but for an interview with the Coach.
Well, the fire’s been ignited in fine style; giving the faithful an exhibition of pro ball played very well in all facets of the game. There was a cool confidence; expressed by deeds on the field, not just talk in the locker room.
It’s said “You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” The Boys impressed the enthusiastic crowd, announced at 620. Coach Ryan Stevens; summing-up the win, said: “Great pitching, tight infield defense and timely hitting.” As for Santa Fe: “Great pitching and great defense in the outfield.” We’re left to wonder about the score if the ball been stuffed with a magnet and the Fuego outfielders in possession of one in each of their mitts.
The 1st inning had Alpine starting RHP, Chris Welborne, going deep into the pitch count, walking the second batter faced. He relaxed into his rhythm as the game progressed; certainly confident of his and the infield’s defense with the first of two Cowboys double plays: Welborne to SS Chris Davis and over to 1B Justin McDaniel to end the inning. The Cowboys went down in order.
Though starting the 2nd inning by going deep into his count and allowing a single to his second opponent after striking out his first; Welborne’s rhythm began in earnest. It included being backed-up by two long balls hauled-in by RF Bo Bell. The Cowboys drew first blood. McDaniel crossed the plate, aided by veteran returnee LF Eric Garcia’s stolen base. 1-0 Cowboys
The Cowboys took Santa Fe out of the 3rd inning; notwithstanding a Welborne walk to CF Andrew Archbold; the Fuego hopes quashed with the Boys second double play of the game. Sensing it was their time; 2B Derrick Fox led off with a nice single, stole second and was advanced the rest of the way around by RF Bo Bell’s Kokernot home run. McDaniel was hit by a pitch and came around to score via an Eric Garcia double. Next batter, 3B Ben Ives single allowed Garcia to score; but the inning ended with a fine Fuego defensive effort, RP Isaac Hernandez to Pecos League veteran C Kiren Bradford to 2B Greg Perrett. 5-0 Cowboys.
In the 4th, more stellar Cowboys defensive play; which the coaching staff was touting, continued to frustrate the visitors who were out of the inning 1, 2, 3. The Cowboys didn’t score, experiencing a strike-out and while an error by CF Davis allowed Fox to reach first base, our 2B’s aggressive posture caught him leaning and thrown-out by a nice move by P Hernandez to 1B Kohli.
In the 5th, great Cowboys infield defense and Welborne’s second strike-out made for a quick Santa Fe exit. Another returnee, CF Tyler Hick’s single started the bottom of the frame, but ended in a fielders choice and two fine catches by LF Matt Strerch; who enjoyed a fine offensive game of his own, brought the curtain down.
By the 6th, it was the Fuego’s turn to ignite a small fire. A lead-off single by 3B Nick Muller, a stolen base by CF Andrew Archbold and two singles brought Archbold home for his team’s only run of the game. The Cowboys were unable to answer, but for a single. 5-1 Cowboys.
The 7th provided no assistance to Santa Fe. Another Welborne strike-out and two very well-executed SS Davis to 1B McDaniel plays was all she wrote for the visitors from the north. There was more solid defensive work by Fuego CF Archbold and RF Hyland respectively. Bo Bell’s single went for naught when LF Strerch hauled in McDaniel’s blast – giving each outfielder a say in the inning.
In the 8th, the Boys replaced Welborne with LHP Andrew Wall, after the starter recorded the first out and his 4th strike-out of the game. Santa Fe went down quietly to end their portion of the inning. Matching moves, Santa Fe replaced their starter with RHP Scott Berkebile after he recorded the first out in the bottom of the frame. His mates recorded the last two Cowboy outs.
The 9th involved more pitching and pitch hitting strategy. Wall struck-out the first batter with some sweet pitches to the outside of his righty opponent. He was replaced by LHP Robert Cooper, who struck-out lefty PH Scott Palmer, with some sweet pitching of his own that kept the ball down and away from Palmer.
The last Santa Fe batter demonstrated both the hope and promise; as well as how good fortune quickly sours in the game of baseball. 1B Kohli singled by virtue of a long shot to the outfield, but made it to second on an Eric Garcia error, seeming to misjudge the ball as it dropped inches in front of his out-stretched mitt and rolled towards the foul line and further behind him. Undeterred, Garcia quickly chased the ball down and accurately threw it to a patiently waiting 3B Ben Ives. As for the advancing base runner expecting to make hay while the his good fortune shined: “Yer OUT!”
Final score: Alpine Cowboys 5 – Santa Fe Fuego 1.
Extra Innings ….
Santa Fe's record falls to 3 and 4 and the Cowboys improve to 1 and 2 … This edition of the Cowboys dresses to impress and fans can count on being impressed ... nice defensive combo in the infield with SS Chris Davis doing his imitation of a Hoover vacuum and getting the ball over to 1B Justin McDaniel … Reed Alfieri is back with the Cowboys after a try-out in a higher level of Indy ball, so look for some good things from the hard throwing veteran … speaking of veteran pitching, Mike Castrignano is working his way back from an injury which kept him out of the line-up last season … Good to hear your name announced and see you in a Cowboy's uniform during the pre-game ceremonies ... It was a fine contest by both clubs and so giving credit where credit is due, some of it belongs to Santa Fe RHP Hernandez’s sweet moves to first kept Cowboys speedsters close to the bag and 2B Derrick Fox being tossed-out in the 4th … Game 2 of Pecos League action in Alpine, TX continues at Kokernot @ 7:00 pm .
Get your tickets and we’ll see you at the game.
For more information visit Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs LLC. http://www.PecosLeague.com 575-680-2212