Invaders win it in bottom of the ninth
Brycen Bell slides safely into third during a big third inning for Alpine Saturday. (Photo by Karen Boehler)
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ROSWELL — The Invaders went back to their old tricks Saturday at Joe Bauman Stadium, making everyone sit on the edge of their seats until they pulled out a 9-8 victory over Alpine.
But the fact that the game was that close meant that the Cowboys — who struggled in the first two games against Roswell — looked a lot better.
“They played great,” said Invader manager Chris Ebright. “That team right there, the way they played tonight is why they’re going to win a lot more games than they lose. It just so happens, we got the last at bat.”
“He’s right,” agreed Alpine manager Ryan Stevens. “He’s got a good ball team over there and I have a lot of respect for Roswell over there. They’re a well-rounded team. That’s the type of baseball you’re going to see from the two of us. Those last two nights were just out there. But you’re going to see a lot of good baseball.”
The Invaders drew first blood in the second when another Andrew Deeds home run made it 2-0. But has been the case lately, Roswell struggled in the third.
“The third inning again,” Ebright laughed. “The third inning seems to get us lately. But you know what? The third inning, we still have what? Seven more at bats because we’re the home team and you can’t count our guys out. You can’t do it.”
That third saw Alpine put up five runs off starter Ed Kohout. Derrick Fx opened with a double, then, with one out, Logan Lotti singled, Joel Carranza reached on an error and D.J. Johnson sent the ball sailing over the fence for a grand slam home run.
Brycen Bell and Billy Crowe each followed that with singles, with Bell scoring on an out.
Roswell added a pair in the bottom of the stanza when Erick Gaylord singled, advanced on an error and came home on a single by Chad Kruse. Cruse later came home on a Roger Bernal single and put out.
The Cowboys got one run back in the fourth on back-to-back singles by Herman and Lotti and an error, then added another in the fifth when Crowe, Brad Orosey and Fox all singled.
Roswell pulled within one in the bottom of the stanza when Kruse walked, Ryan Normoyle was hit. Mejia hit an RBI single, Mike McCarthy walked and Nate Theunissen sent a sac fly to right.
With starters Orosey and Kohout done for the night, the relievers made thesixth go quickly, and Invader Ryan Richardson did the same in the seventh. But after Mejia singled and McCarthy walked off Josh Cruse, Gilbert Barrera intentionally walked Deeds then Matt Marra got the second out of the inning. But Gaylord unintentionally walked, forcing in Mejia, to tie the game at 7-7.
That’s the way it stayed in the eighth as both teams put a run on the board, then Eric Lambe shut the Cowboys down in the ninth. Deeds, who was 2-for-4 on the day and is batting .523, singled, Gaylord broke his bat but got another single then, with two out, Ryan Normoyle hit a walk-off single to win the game.
“We battled back, what four? Five innings?” Ebright asked. “We just kept doing it tonight. There were a couple of situations where I thought we should have brought more than one run in. Runner on second, less than two outs, even no outs. But you know what? Again, that’s why we play nine innings.”
Stevens had the same thoughts.
“I’ve got a lot of young guys and there were certain situations they could have handled differently, but that’s a part of learning,” he said. “They’ve just got to figure it out now.”
There was one other factor that made the Invader win even sweeter. The Roswell players spent the morning officiating at the Hike It and Spike It flag football tournament, a Memorial Weekend staple in the Alien City. That meant they were up early, calling games until mid afternoon then back at the ballpark for the game.
“They were out in the sun. You should see the funny tan lines these guys got from their hats backwards and their sleeves rolled up but again, I think they’re young enough not to know they should be tired,” Ebright said. “We’ll do it again tomorrow. We’ll celebrate this win tonight but then we’ve got to get refocused as soon as we wake up.”
Andrew Deeds watches as the ball goes up, up and away, sailing out of Joe Bauman Stadium for a home run. (Photo by Karen Boehler)
D.J. Johnson is congratulated by Alpine manager Ryan Stevens after he hit a grand slam. (Photo by Karen Boehler)
Ed Kohout went five innings for Roswell, with only one rough inning. (Photo by Karen Boehler)
Vincent Mejia sends the ball to first for an out. (Photo by Karen Boehler)
Logan Lotti gets safely back to first just ahead of the throw to Nate Theunissen. (Photo by Karen Boehler)
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