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Relief pitching falters as Invaders top Fuego 19-8

By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer

SANTA FE — The story around the Pecos League seems to be about pitching. HItters are strong, the defense is much improved but solid relievers are hard to come by. And that certainly was the case Saturday in Santa Fe, as all but nine runs in the Invaders 19-8 victory came from the bullpen.

Jacob Cook pitched a strong game for Roswell, giving up only two runs on four hits and a walk.

“Starting pitcher did great,” said Roswell manager Chris Ebright. “He’s actually been bouncing back and forth between starting and relieving, and we’re actually short a starter until Monday, so he stepped in and did a heck of a job.”

The only Fuego runs he allowed came in the first and seventh innings, on home runs by Josh Barnett — a first pitch shot — and Kellen Lee.

Fuego starter Jon Sintes didn’t do badly, either, even though he gave up seven runs in six innings.

Roswell scored on singles by Chad Kruse and Ryan Normoyle and a wild pitch in the top of the first, then didn’t get another run until the fourth, when they made it 3-1 on doubles by Daniel Baptista and Andrew Deeds. Roswell added another pair in the fifth off a two-run shot by Vincent Mejia —scoring Normoyle, who singled — and 7-1 after six — when Deeds singled, stole second and came home on a Reggie Taylor single, with Taylor scoring on a Kruse double.

Jerome Romero came in for Sintes in the seventh, allowing only one hit, and after the home run to Lee in the bottom of the stanza, Cook came out as well, with Jesus Carlos taking over on the mound.

“(Sintes) did well,” Moore said. “He gave us a chance. He kept the score down and they are a good ball club. I will repeat that. They hit the ball well. They don’t make a lot of mistakes and John kept the score down. Kept it within striking range tonight. Unfortunately, our bullpen couldn’t keep the score down, nor could our hitters keep their part of the deal tonight.”

Carlos did fine, keeping the Fuego scoreless, but Charlie McCready and subsequent Santa Fe relievers didn’t do the same. Roswell sent 15 batters to the plate, scoring 11 runs on eight hits and three Fuego errors. McCarthy, Baptista, Deeds and Kruse all doubled, with Kruse and Mejia singling, Taylor twice, and one walk.

In all fairness to the Santa Fe pitchers — Anthony Welsh came in for McCready — most of the runs weren’t earned, but by the time the inning was over, Roswell led 18-2.

They added a solo run in the ninth off Gil Tussey with Mejia’s second home run, but then it was the Invader reliever’s turn to falter.

Andrew Bruder came in for Carlos, giving up a single to Jimmy Maxwell followed by a pinch hit home run by Devonte Odums. Moore said that hit fired up his team.

“Devonte’s been out for about four or five days because of a pulled hamstring, and he came in and clutched up,” the manager said. “He put a good swing on a good pitch and hit it a long way. Devonte’s a team leader. He’s a good person. He’s a good leader. He keeps on guys and makes them hit hard and I think they saw a wounded warrior out there clutching it up and it was, ‘Oooh! Maybe we all should do that.’”

And while they all didn’t, a lot did.

Lee brought in Evan Mansil with his second dinger of the day, to make it 19-5, then Charlie Calamia doubled, Josh Barnett walked and a passed ball scored Calamia. Kyle Zimmerman reached on an error that scored Barnett. That was the last run for Santa Fe, with Dakota Laufenberg able to close out the stanza without much more damage, but Laufenberg hit Odums, exacerbating his injury and putting the team spark plug back on the injured list on a day to day basis.

Ebright continued to praise Cook, noting, “He kept the Fuego off balance a little bit and he did great,” while saying improvemnt still are needed.

“We need to get better on the back end; our relieving. But the first eight innings was great. We hit. Our pitching was there. But the team’s in this league they don’t give up, and the Fuego just proved that tonight. I think they scored six runs in the last inning. And tomorrow’s a new day.”

For Moore, the problem started early.

“They’re a really good club that beat us. They’re the first place team in the league. I think maybe there was some disruption and some things of that nature that may have kept us from doing our normal preparation. I didn’t think we came prepared to play the best team in the league,” he said.

THe teams meet again Sunday, and both coaches are looking for positive outcomes.

“We’ve got starter Jonathan Sa going, and we might change the lineup here and there just a couple, and hopefully we can come out and hit like we did today,” Ebright said.

“We had a little conversation about preparing to play and about the excitement of being able to play the best team in the league and show we can play with them,” Moore said. “(Sunday starter) Austin (Carden) has given us good, quality starts ever since Day 1, and I would expect the same out of him again tomorrow night.”

Night might be a little late, as the teams are set to face off beginning at 4 p.m. at Fort Marcy Park.

Phil Grondin contributed to this story