DeBonville, Saguaros Deal Stockade First Loss of the Season, 15-5
It took four games, but there are now no longer any undefeated team in the Pecos League. This came courtesy of the Tucson Saguaros, who battered the Salina Stockade for 13 runs over the final four innings on their way to a 15-5 victory. Thomas DeBonville led the Tucson offense with four RBI and Erwin Real pitched six outstanding innings for the victory.
The game was scoreless through two, but the Saguaros changed that in the top of the third inning. Real led off with a base hit and moved to second on an error. He scored when Chris Caffery followed with a base hit. After a passed ball, Caffery came around to score on a DeBonville double to the wall. That made the score 2-0.
Salina battled back to tie the score in the bottom of the fourth. Aaron Takacs walked to start the inning, then stole second base and moved to third on a wild throw from the catcher. He scored on a base hit by Brian Dansereau. After Seth Strong followed with a single, Jared Gay delivered a base hit that brought home Dansereau to tie the score. There were runners at first and second and no one out, and it looked like Real was in a lot of trouble, but he retired the next three batters to end the threat.
In the sixth, Tucson took the lead for good. Marcus Catalano began the inning with his first home run of the season, a towering shot over the left-centerfield wall. James Prockish and Nathan Etheridge followed with back-to-back singles.
After striking out Cody Earl, the Stockade went to the bullpen, removing Alex Clayton and replacing him with Kenneth Pierson. That move proved to be ill advised as the new Salina pitcher hit Danny Earl before walking Blake Berry to drive home Prockish extending the lead to two.
Matthew Fountain relieved and gave up a two-run single to his counterpart, Real, to make it a 6-2 ballgame.
Salina got one of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh, but Tucson would add two more in the top of the eighth. That came courtesy of a two-run single off the bat of DeBonville.
Leading by five entering the top of the ninth, the Tucson Saguaros blew this game open with seven runs. The first three batters of the inning reached, with Earl plating a run on a fielder’s choice. Two batters later Prockish drove home another run with a single. A two-run double off the bat of Eli Straw added a pair as did a two-run double by DeBonville. Caffery drove home the other run with a double of his own. Salina added to runs in the bottom of the ninth, but it was far too little.
Real tossed 6.0 innings, allowing four hits, two walks, and two earned runs, while striking out six. He also was 2-3 at the plate with a run scored and two RBI. DeBonville went 3-6 with four RBI, and Caffery, Berry, and Straw each drove in two runs. Dansereau had two RBI for the Stockade.
The victory by Tucson moved them to 3-1 and into a first-place tie with Salina in the Pecos League. The league takes a two-day rest, resuming play on Wednesday.
By Robert Pannier