Roswell right fielder Bobby Webb (33) [auth] runs through the celebratory Invader tunnel after hitting a solo home run off the White Sands Pupfish in the bottom of the second inning Monday at Joe Bauman Stadium. The Invaders defeated the visitors 9-6 and travel to Alamogordo today for game 2 of a three-game series with the ‘Fish. (David Rocha Photo)
SANTA FE — What looked like it was an easy 15-5 win in Santa Fe Sunday was a little closer than Invader manager Brian Kloppe would have liked.
“They were up in the fifth inning and we were getting rain,” he said. “It was kind of scary that we might get rained out. Then we scored 11, and I was like, ‘Well, I hope we can get three outs before the rain comes in.’ It ended up not raining, but that changed the game plan a little bit.”
Yes, Roswell scored 11 runs in the top of the sixth, but before that it was close.
The Invaders scored two in the top of the first on a double by Rene Moreda, single from Louis Martini, passed ball and a single by Bobby Webb.
But Roswell was then scoreless until the fifth, when they scored one on a Cody Coffman home run, while Santa Fe picked up two in the bottom of the first on a single and home run off starter TJ Pruneda, and two in the fourth on back-to-back solo home runs.
That made it 4-3 Fuego as the rain threatened, but then came the big 11-run sixth.
The Invaders sent 14 batters to the plate, picking up 11 runs on eight hits and three Santa Fe errors. Home runs by Martini and Kaohu Gaspar didn’t hurt either.
The Fuego added a run on a solo homer off reliever Alex Dandridge in the bottom of the stanza and Roswell added a final run in the eighth when Webb singled, was balked to second, went to third on a sac fly and home on a wild pitch.
Because of the rain, Kloppe pulled Pruneda in the top of the sixth, but Dandridge went three innings with only one run on three hits, and Ryan Ward closed out a perfect ninth.
“TJ did good to keep us in it, then we broke it open and Alex and Ryan came in and did their job,” Kloppe said.
Offensively, Martini continued the hot pace he’s shown since arriving back in Roswell, going 3-for-5 with two runs and four RBIs. Woodard was 3-for-5 with two runs; Jim Smith 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI; Coffman 2-for-5 with a run and two RBIs; and Webb 2-for-5 with two runs.
It’s not as easy to hit balls out of Joe Baurman Park as it is Fort Marcy Field, but both Roswell and White Sands hit several long balls Monday, en route to a 9-6 Roswell victory.
“We have a powerful offense, and we lead the league in home runs,” Kloppe said
Both teams put up a pair in the first.
The Pupfish went up on two singles and a double off starter David Johnson, but the Invaders matched that in the bottom of the stanza when Moreda singled, Martini was hit, the pair advanced on a wild pitch then scored on a Coffman single and Joey Miller sac fly.
Bobby Webb added a run on a solo homer in the second, making it 3-3, then after a two-out ‘Fish home run in the third, Miller hit a shot out in the bottom of the stanza to take a 4-3 lead they’d never relinquish.
A Moreda single and Coffman homer made it 6-3 in the fourth, then White Sands added a solo run on a triple and error in the fifth.
Roswell added a pair in the fifth on a two-out walk to Moreda, single by Martini and two-RBI double by Coffman, and one in the sixth when Woodard doubled and came home on a pair of outs.
Johnson wrapped up his stint on the mound after six, allowing four runs on 10 hits and no walks while striking out six.
Mike Gomez put two runners on base in the seventh but got out of it unscathed then Kyle Perez allowed two final White Sands runs in the eighth before Thomas Huddleston closed out the stanza.
The Invaders loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth but couldn’t bring anyone home, but Mike Scimanico closed out the game with a three-up, three-down ninth, striking out two, getting his first save.
“Everybody did their job tonight,” Kloppe said. “Scimanico got his first save, so that’s big. David Johnson just competed as normal.”
Back from a Canadian league, Joey Miller led the offense — as well as making some fine plays at first — going 3-for-4 with one run scored and two RBIs. Coffman was 3-for-5 with a run scored and five RBIs; Smith 2-for-3 with an RBI; Webb 3-for-5 with one run and RBI; and Moreda, Martini and Woodard were all 2-for-4.
Kloppe was glad to have Miller back, noting he will get to move up again once the season’s over.
“It’s great to have him. Just positive energy. He’s a great clubhouse guy and it’s great to have him around.”
The teams face each other again Tuesday, this time in Alamogordo, with Eric Gleese getting his first start for the Invaders.