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Taos hitters demolish Santa Fe

By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer

SANTA FE — Even though the Friday’s game between Santa Fe and Taos was played at Fort Marcy Park, the Blizzard were the home team — giving them the often-important home-field advantage on the road because they have so few games at the Tundra.

But Friday, that home-field advantage really didn’t matter, as Taos pummeled the Fuego 24-9 to again even up the series at 3-3 between the two teams.

And the game wasn’t even that close most of the way, as the Blizzard led 18-2 after six and only had one scoreless inning.

“We beat up Santa Fe pretty good,” said Taos manager Matt Leahy. “Javier Perez, left-handed pitcher, threw great. Kept them off balance all night. Kept some of their better hitters off balance and kept them guessing the whole night.”

Three other Taos pitchers didn’t have quite as good a performance — giving up seven runs in the seventh and eighth — but Russ Burroughs came in and got the final out of the eighth then shut the Fuego down in the ninth.

It would take a novel to run through the game’s play-by-play; needless to say Taos hit well while the Fuego pitchers didn’t throw so well.

“We just didn’t throw enough strikes,” said Santa Fe manager Bill Moore. “Our defense played well, but our pitchers didn’t give them an opportunity to play well often enough. We hit enough to probably certainly make it a more competitive game than what it was. I kind of have to take that loss on myself. I was letting a couple of new guys come in and see if they were going to be able to help us win, and I just didn’t hook them and get them out soon enough. That’s on me.”

The defense was solid on both teams, with only one error — by the Fuego — recorded.

Starter Gil Tussey didn’t even get an out in the first before he was pulled, giving up five runs on three hits and three walks. Reliever Brandon Kuter did close out the inning, but not before allowing another run to make it 6-0 Blizzard after one. Of the three hits in the first, one was a home run by Khyle Dimino and the other two doubles by Chris Constantino and Brennan May.

Perez had a little bit of trouble in the second, allowing one Fuego run when Kyle Zimmerman and Joe Blair both singled and Zimmerman came in on a balk.

Taos added three runs in the bottom of the stanza — highlighted by a May home run — two in the third; and one each in the fourth and fifth — Constantino hit one out for the second Blizzard home run of the night.

Perez gave up one more Santa Fe run in the sixth, walking Devonte Odums who stole second and third then came home on a Jimmy Maxwell single.

But even though Leahy started to substitute liberally — he had 22 players in the lineup Friday — Taos continued to hit.

Pinch hitter Jordan Chiero had a 2 run home run while pinch hitter Adam Dimino, Khyle’s brother had a 3 RBI dinger. The Dimino’s are from Leahy’s home town and attended the same junior college he did, so the manager was especially pleased with that effort.

“It’s pretty cool to have the guys, especially those boys, do well, because of coming from the same program,” he said. It’s also possible the first time brothers hit home runs in the same game in the Pecos League.

That gave Taos the 18-2 lead and in the seventh, to save Perez for another performance in four or five days, Leahy pulled him and three relivers didn’t do quite as well.

Although the Fuego didn’t get any home runs, they added two runs in the seventh on three hits — singles by Blair, Bryson Sims and Josh Barnett — several walks and wild pitches, and five in the eighth on two hits — singles by Sims and Odums — and a lot of wildness.

But Burroughs came in to get the final out in the eighth and after Taos added another six runs in the bottom of the stanza, he allowed only a double by Sims in the ninth before closing out the game.

“All-in-all, we did well,” Leahy understated. “We’ll get back up on the horse tomorrow. Hopefully put up some more runs against Santa Fe and stop this flip-flop stuff between Santa Fe. Because I know we’re a better team than we’ve been showing.”

And Moore sounded confident his team will bounce back.

“We’re a good ball club and it’s a long summer and we’ll probably lose another game before it’s all said and done but we’ll compete. We’ll be fine tomorrow,” he said.

The Fuego will start another newcomer, Kevin Camacho, from the Los Angeles area who was a Toronto draft pick.

“Hope he can help us out,” Moore said.