5/28/2013-Taos manager Matt Leahy takes a turn on the mound for the Blizzard. (Photo by John T. Denne)

By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer

TAOS — Balls were flying out of the Tundra in Taos every which way Monday, but not off the bats of the Blizzard. Las Vegas played its first game in the ski town, pounding out 28 hits en route to a 24-7 victory. (Neither play-by-play nor accurate stats were available, so statistics may be incorrect.)

“We can hit. There’s no doubt about that,” said Train Robber manager Casey Dill. “We had a great game. Aside from the hitting, Edison (Alvarez) threw well. I don’t hink we made an error on defense. It was a good team win all the way around.”

Alvarez went the distance, allowing only seven runs on 10 hits total, and three runs and four hit through eight complete.

“He threw a great game,” Dill said. “He went out there and he did what he does every game. He throws strikes. He gets ground balls. He gets guys out. He’ll give us a chance to win every game, and if we score 24 runs, we shouldn’t have a problem doing that.”
 “Edison can pitch,” agreed Taos manager Matt Leahy. “He’s a damn good pitcher. All in all, he had us today. But we’re ready to face him whenever he comes back, because we want another chance at him, too.”

The demolition started early, with the Train Robbers putting up eight runs in the first inning and never looking back.

“We got unlucky,” Leahy said. “They hit us hard in the first inning and at the end of the day we just tip our hat. They came out swinging and they beat us.”

Vegas added another four runs in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth, leading 15-0 before the Blizzard finally got on the board, putting up three in the bottom of the fourth.

Blair Springfield opened the stanza with a double and came home on a Cody Coffman single. Two outs later, John Apostolo doubled, Leahy — who started at catcher, moved to second and even pitched — hit a 2-RBI single to give Taos three runs, but that was all the scoring the Blizzard would see until the bottom of the ninth. Las Vegas, meanwhile, added three in the fifth, one in the sixth, two in the eighth and three in the ninth.

The only inning the Robbers didn’t score was the seventh, when reliever Drew Evans allowed only two hits.

“We had some good relievers,” Leahy said. “Shane Miller and Drew Evans shut the door. One of them got unlucky with a pop fly that landed over the fence. That’s going to happen when you’re at 7,000 feet.” There were four shots out of the park by Vegas: Joey Haskell, Randy Wells, Ted LeMasters and Gary Stauff each had bases-clearing shots.

Taos took advantage of Alvarez’ complete game to tee off him just a bit in the ninth, scoring a final four runs on an Alex Loftin double; Christopher Ciatti single; two walks; a passed ball; singles by Jordan Chiero and Chris Culver; and a fielder’s choice before Alvarez struck out the flinal Blizzard batter.

“We’re good. That’s all I can say,” Dill said when asked what accounted for all the hitting. “I don’t know how to explain it. We were hitting line drives all over the ball park.”

Dill didn’t make one substitution, making for big stats for his hitters.

Haskell was 6-for-7 with six runs and 3 RBI; Wells 5-for- 6 with four runs and 5 RBI; Chris Wilson 4-for-7 with three runs; Matt Grosso, LeMasters and Gary Stauff each 3-for-6 — Grosso two runs and RBI; LeMasters two runs and 4 RBI; Stauff two runs and 5 RBI; and Andrew Lopez 2-for-5 with three runs and 2 RBI.

Leahy gave 23 players a chance to see action, with pinch hitter CUlver going 2-for-2 with 1 RBI.

“That’s what we try to do,” Leahy said of the liberal substitutions. “It’s for player development, and it’s tough to develop when you’re losing by that much, but guys were getting tired when we got down to the late innings, so we chalk it up, we tip our hat and at the end of the day we get ready for tomorrow. We’ll see them again for the next couple of days and our pitching’s set up so we’re ready to rock and roll.”

Tuesday, Taos head to Vegas for the Train Robber’s home opener. That game was delayed because of problems with Rodriguez Field, but the players were headed to a welcome dinner Monday night, then, Dill said, they’ll play Tuesday.

“They’ve been doing work every day,” Dill said. “They had an expert come in and tell them exactly what they needed to do to get the field ready for opening day and they’ve been doing those things. Whether we’ve had enough time to make that happen, I don’t know. We’ll find out tomorrow.”

But whatever happens, he’s looking forward to playing at home because of the strong community support they’ve been receiving.

“The support from the community has been there from Day 1,” Dill said. “I came from a place last year where there wasn’t support from the community. The leaders in the community, like the mayor, the city manager, the Chamber of Commerce, all these people, (they’re) doing everything they can to keep us here and make us feel comfortable. It makes you feel like you’re a little bit more home. LIke they want you to have success.”

Opening pitch is set for 7 p.m.