Taos bats continue to sizzle
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — Anyone who’s been to Fort Marcy Park knows the short —285-foot — right field is a hitter’s paradise. And in Thursday’s home opener for the Fuego, that was indeed the case, but unfortunately, five of the home runs were by the Blizzard, leading to a 17-8 Taos victory.
“Any time you can put up almost 40 runs in two games I think any manager would be happy,” said Taos manager Matt Leahy.
The home team actually led early, after starter Jon Sintes allowed only one hit in the first, then the Fuego came back with three runs in the bottom of the stanza.
With one out, Charlie Calamia singled and stole second. Larry Rodriguez walked and Eric Scott hit an RBI double. Devante Odoms scored Rodriguez on a putout and Jimmie Maxwell made it 3-0 on a single.
But the Blizzard took the lead for good in the second, scoring five runs on five hits, including home runs by Brennan May — who scored Coffman and Constantino — and Louis Gonzales, who brought in Richardson.
The teams each scored scored one run in the third — Constantino got another Taos home run — then the Blizzard added two in the fourth — one on a second dinger by Gonzales and one on a hit batter, stolen base and single.
The teams again traded runs in the fifth — this time it was Fuego Odoms who hit a shot out of the park —and Santa Fe got a bit closer in the sixth, scoring on a single by Calamia and Rodriguez double.
But Taos pretty much put the game out of sight in the seventh, sending 10 batters to the plate, scoring five runs on five hits, this time without any homers. They added a final two runs in the ninth, on a Constantino single and Ruben Rijkhof dinger, and while Santa Fe matched that, it wasn’t enough.
“It shouldn’t have been that way,” said Santa Fe substitute manager Chunk Sarnak. “We just knocked the ball around a little too much and we’ve just got to clean it up a little bit. But it’s still early. We’re still trying to figure things out. But things are going to change, that’s for sure.”
Both managers felt their pitching still has a way to go.
“I still think we’re going too deep into our pitch count too early into the game, so we’re giving up too many runs early, but definitely our relievers are coming in, and they’re not shutting the door as quickly as we would like, but they’re definitely shutting the door,” Leahy said. “They’re leaving runners on base when they come in. So we’re doing pretty well.”
Sarnack said it’s normally hard for pitchers to get a good ERA when the strike zone is really small and they’re not not getting calls, “But tonight that really wasn’t the case. The umpiring staff did a really good job. The zone was really good. It’s was just that our pitchers, they’ve got to hit their spot and get the ball down more.”
And the four errors didn’t help.
“The errors and just a couple of crucial walks that came back to bite us in the butt,” Sarnak said. “We just need to have the pitching staff work on getting the ball down, especially at Fort Marcy, because the balls just fly out, home run after home run. That was the story tonight: walk, error, home run. Walk, error, home run.”
Kenny McDowell got the win for Taos, with Sintes taking the loss.
With 39 hits, seven of those home runs, in two days, Leahy was asked if his team will be able to continue that output when they move to slightly lower elevations.
“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” he said. “I told you this from the get-go.”
The teams meet again Friday at Fort Marcy Park beginning at 6 p.m.
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