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Roswell sweeps Santa Fe with 15-8 series finale

By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer

SANTA FE — No. 1 Roswell — running away with the first half of the season at 22-6 — wrapped up a four-game series sweep of Santa Fe at Fort Marcy Park Tuesday, going up early on a struggling Fuego starter then battling back after their own starter faltered, getting a 15-8 victory.

Asked what the secret was to the early-season success, Invader manager Chris Ebright laughed.

“I really don’t think there’s any secret,” he said. “We’ve got some good hitters and our pitchers, for the most part, did a good job and I think this series we played some good, all-around baseball, for the most part.”

Roswell sent its first six batters to the plate against starter Josh White before even getting an out.

Chad Kruse singled, Ryan Normoyle and Andrew Deeds doubled, Vincent Mejia singled, Charles Dubanoski walked and Daniel Baptisa singled before White finally got an out. After Invader starter Andrew Shoemaker singled, Larry Rofdriguez moved to the mound to close out the inning.

“Josh was having a hard time getting ahead in the count,” said Fuego manager Bill Moore. “He was pitching behind all night long and I think he faced eight guys and didn’t get anybody out. Four runs and no outs. We pull him now, we can pitch him tomorrow. That was kind of our thought process. Larry was supposed to be our starter tomorrow. We just kind of flip-flopped them.”

While Rodriguez was mowing down Invaders in the second and third, Santa Fe was getting on Shoemaker. Kellen Lee, Brycen Sims, Josh Barnett and William Smalls all singled, cutting the gap to 4-3 after two, then Jimmy Maxwell singled and Lary Rodriguez homered in the third to put the Fuego up 5-4.

“Andrew Shoemaker, he battled,” Ebright said. “Let’s say that. His last start was a little shaky. This one was actually a little better. We’ll ease him back into it. We had to go to our bullpen a little sooner than I would have liked, but Andrew’s a competitor and he’ll be OK.”

Roswell re-took the lead in the fourth, scoring on Normoyle’s fifth home run in thee days, a three-run shot.

“Tonight the three-run home run he hit was a legit home run,” Ebright said of the left-fielder’s power hitting. “He really got into it. He was really seeing the ball this series. Baseball players go through that. The baseball probably looked like a watermelon to him, the way he was hitting. I know he had a few doubles, a few singles and five home runs, so of those five, I think three were legit. I think a couple, he was taking advantage of the 285-foot right-field fence.”

After Bryson Sims singled off Shoemaker, stole second and went to third on an out, reliever Chad Hardison came in and got the final outs, but not before SIms scored on a passed ball.

A Maxwell solo home run in the fifth again tied the game — at 7-all — but the Invaders came back with three runs on five hits — including a Roger Bernal double — and two walks, and the Roswell relievers did their job.

The final Invader blow was five runs in the eighth off NIck Huff, starting with an Ed Kohout pinch hit single, Reggie Taylor walk, then, with two outs, a Normoyle 2 RBI double, error and Vincent Mejia home run.

The Fuego got their final run in the bottom of the stanza off Sims walk, two stolen bases and an error.

That late mistake was the only one for the Invaders, and Ebright said that’s the way he likes it.

“(Our infield) makes all the routine plays,” he said. “That’s what I tell them to do. Make all the routine plays and pull a great one out of you-know-where every now and then and you should do all right. That’s what we tell our pitchers. They have confidence to throw a ball over the plate because our guys usually pick it up and throw it to first.”

It was a tough series for the Fuego, but Moore hopes to use itb as a learning experience.

“We made some mental errors,” he said. “That’s a very good ball club in the other dugout and we’re trying to kind of use them at our post-game meeting tonight as an example of where we need to get. They’re a very well-disciplined team. They don’t make mental mistakes that cost them runs later in the game. I hope we learned a few things from them.”

Roswell now heads home to face Raton, while Santa Fe hosts White SAnds in the season’s first meeting between the two teams.

“I think it’s going to be a scrappy series,” Moore said. “I think their record is very similar to ours. I think both teams do things a little bit different from each other in order to play the way we want to. I think the pitching will be pretty good both sides. I think they’re more of a power team and we’re more of a speed team. I think it’ll be a good series. I think we’ll be pretty evenly matched.”