Invaders close in on Tucson

July 1, 2016 • Local Sports

The Inv[auth] aders used a big third inning to ultimately top Tucscon 9-3 at Kino Veterans Park Thursday night, as Roswell closed to within 1 1/2 games of the Pecos Leage-leading Saguaros.

“TJ (Pruneda) kept the hitters off balance and Bobby (Webb) came up with a big hit for us,” said Roswell field manager Bryan Kloppe.

Both starters pitched scoreless games through two, but the Invaders (30-12) broke out with five runs in the third.

Christian Johnson singled, Rene Moreda advanced on an error and Roche Woodard brought both in on a single. With two outs, Kaohu Gaspar walked and Webb hit a line-drive shot over the left-field fence to give Roswell a 5-0 lead.

Pruneda gave back three to the Saguaros (32-11) in the bottom of the stanza on three singles, a double and a sac fly, but those were the only runs any Invader pitcher would allow on the night.

Pruneda, who got the win, went five complete. Kyle Perez put the Saguaros out 1-2-3 in the sixth, Thomas Huddleston allowed a lone single in the seventh and despite loading the bases in the ninth, Lance Fairchild wrapped up the final two innings with four strike outs and no further Tucson runs.

“Our bullpen was great again,” Kloppe said.

The Invaders made it 6-3 in the seventh on a Johnson single, Moreda double and a Gaspar sac fly, before wrapping things up with a three-run ninth.

Facing the third Saguaro pitcher of the night, Roche Woodard led off with a double. One out later, Gaspar was intentionally walked and Webb reached on a fielder’s choice and error that brought Woodard home.

Cody Coffman then walked and Brett Balkan singled to bring in the final two Invader runs.

Webb was 2-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs. Johnson finished 2-for-4 with two runs, while was Woodard 2-for-5 with two runs and a pair of RBIs.

Cody Bishop was only 1-for-4 for the night, but had his 1,000th professional plate appearance. Bishop has never been hit once in all those at bats.

Despite the emotional circumstances of losing several players to higher-level teams, the Invaders still seem to be playing their best ball when it counts.

“Every day, somebody else steps up and gets the job done,” Kloppe said. “I think our team chemistry is great. We have a lot of leaders on this team who are fun to be around every day.”

Roswell’s game with Tucscon on Friday night was rained out, and will not be made up, according to Kloppe. The Invaders still have four games scheduled in the series, including a doubleheader Sunday.

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