3/12/2013-
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer

HOUSTON — There’s weren’t a lot of hits in Monday’s game between Las Cruces and Galveston — which meant there weren’t a lot of runs — but two runs on two hits were all the Vaqueros needed to shut out the Sea Lions 2-0.

That’s because the Lions made five errors, translating into the Las Cruces runs on an otherwise solid performance by starter Josh Cruse.

Both Cruces and Vaquero starter Austin Carden made the first two innings go quickly, allowing no runs, but in the bottom of the third, a throwing error put Carden on base, then Travis Fuquay walked, Carl Johnson was hit and Blake Babnick got the RBI on a bases-loaded walk, putting Las Cruces up 1-0.

That held until the fifth, when, with one out, Johnson singled, stole second and came all the way home on a pair of throwing errors.

“I think we’re going to be a team that we’re going to win a lot of close ball games,” said Vaquero coach Casey Dill. “I don’t think that we’re going to be a team that’s going to put up 10, 15 runs a game. I think we’re going to be a team where pitchers throw a lot of strikes; we get a lot of ground balls; and when the other teams make mistakes, we’ve got to exploit them, just like we did today. Carl Johnson hits a single. Steals second base. They throw the ball into center field and he pretty much had a play where he started at first and ended up at home. And that was a very big run late in the ball game.”

The Lions had five hits — including two by catcher Derek Dominguez, who singled in the second and hit a double over the right fielder’s head in the fifth — but couldn’t put any of those runs together.

“We played OK,” said Lions coach J.R. Droddy. “This league is what it is. We’re trying to learn. We’re short some players. That’s no excuse. We had some players out of position. One of our players is hurt. Can’t run.”

Carden went five innings, allowing all five hits but no runs while striking out five, while Adam Ziegler allowed one double while striking out three in the last two innings.

Cruse allowed one run on one hit while striking out eight, but walked five. Scott Elitzky gave up one hit and one unearned run and Bryce Miller kept the sixth scoreless.

After losing two games themselves because of mistakes, Dill was happy to see his team on the other end of the errors.

“The name of the game for our team is just not beating ourselves,” he said. “For five innings last game, we looked like the best team here. For two innings, we looked like we didn’t belong on a Little League field. So the name of the game was us not beating ourselves. We can come out here. We can make the routine plays and we can put up two or three runs a game. Our pitching staff is going to give us a chance to win every game. I do believe that we have one of the best pitching staffs here. If you look at the stats right now, top of the league, you’ll probably see a few of our guys up there. And it’s good to see pitchers come out ands throw strikes, and when our defense plays like they do today, we’re going to be a very tough team to beat.”

While the Sea Lions are still looking for their first Spring League victory, Droddy doesn’t sound too concerned.

“We’re just out here to try to let these guys improve,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get a little bit more pitching back this week.”

Galveston hopes to have one pitcher back Wednesday when they face the undefeated Apollos at 1 p.m. at Coastal Baseball Park, while the Vaqueros will go up against Garden of Gears at 7 p.m. at Cristy Field.