Roswell still wins but Osos pitch better
Vincent Mejia makes the throw from second for an out. Mejia is part of an Invader infield that has been practically flawless as the season goes on. (Photo by Robert Bailey)
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
ROSWELL — Raton’s pitching staff looked a lot better Friday night than they have in a while, but this time errors betrayed them, letting Roswell continue its winning streak with a 9-2 victory. As the score shows, though, there was strong pitching from both sides, with Jonathan Sa allowing only one Oso run on four hits and five strikeouts.
“Sa did a great job,” said Invader manager Chris Ebright. “He gave us seven strong innings and that’s what we ask from our pitchers and he did great. That’s all you can ask for.”
Raton had to make a last-minute pitching change, putting in Larry Rodriguez — just brought over from the Fuego — to start.
“Our starting pitcher got extremely sick right before the game, so I basically had to cobble together a pitching staff at the very last minute. And when I say last minute, I mean last minute,” said Raton manager Ray Hancock. “That’s what I was doing. But actually we didn’t look too bad, per se. Had the first inning, which cost us four runs, but Larry came in and said he would try to give us the best he had and he gave us the best he had on short notice.”
The Roswell first-inning runs came when Ryan Normoyle walked, Andrew Deeds was hit, then, after the second out came on a fielder’s choice, Mike McCarthy walked to load the bases and Goose Kallunki double, scoring three. Roger Bernal followed that with an RBI single, and the Invaders were up 4-0.
They added another run in the third when Deeds singled, stole second and came home on an error, and three more in the fourth when Sa reached on a fielder’s choice, Chad Kruse singled, Normoyle doubled them in then came home on a Deeds double.
The Osos broke the Sa shutout in the top of the fourth when Westley Jones and Aaron Carman singled and Jones came in on a pair of outs.
Cameron Powers came in for Rodriguez in the fourth and Taft in the sixth, and along with Sa, who continued his mastery of the mound, the pitchers kept the hitters mostly off base. Roswell broke that drought in the seventh when two Raton errors betrayed reliever Ivan Velasquez, giving the Invaders their ninth run.
Those errors could have been due, in part, to the fact the rain was coming down pretty hard during the bottom of the seventh. The wind and lightning had started moving in about an inning earlier, but play was never stopped and it let up after about 15 minutes.
“We were just going to keep going,” Ebright said of the rain. “We had the main groundskeeper here, and he was looking at the radar letting us know we were just getting the edge of it. And the umpires did a great job keeping us out there and letting us finish the game.”
Jesus Carlos came in for Roswell in the eighth, allowing the game’s final run when Stedman Smith singled, stole second and came in on a Carman RBI.
While Sa only gave up six hits, Carlos one and closer Ryan Rogers none — for seven total hits — the five Raton pitchers only allowed 11, with only three of the Roswell runs earned.
“Made a couple of errors that killed us,” Hancock said. “We’ve kept our errors down, but when we have them, we have them in a real untimely fashion.”
While the Invaders continued to take advantage of the other team’s mistakes, Ebright had good words about the Oso pitching.
“We saw Larry Rodriguez again from Santa Fe. We just saw him three days ago. Yeah, they’re not bad,” he said. “They brought in the kid from Mexico (Velasquez) and he threw strikes. He’s a competitor. He’s going to do well for them. Then they threw in their closer, I guess to get work tonight. Richard Suniga, and he throws hard for a little guy. They’re going to start putting it together and they’re going to start beating some people.”
Ebright can only hope that’s not Saturday, when the teams meet for the final game in the series before both head up north beginning Sunday, Raton back home and the Invaders to Taos.
For more information visit Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs LLC. http://www.PecosLeague.com 575-680-2212