Horner Leads Invaders in Slugfest Over Stockade, 20-17
It is true that the Pecos League is playing all of their games in Texas this year where football is king, but a 20-17 Friday morning affair made it seem more like the contest between the Roswell Invaders and the Salina Stockade was on the gridiron than a baseball diamond. Coleton Horner led the way for Roswell, driving in six, and the Invaders put together two five-run frames and an eight-run inning to help lead them to victory.
The Stockade drew first blood, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Jordan Dicks led off the game with a single and moved to second on a walk to Hudson Bilodeau. Dicks then scored when Eddie Grimaldo followed with a base hit to right. A single by Lance Myers scored Bilodeau, leaving two on with no one out. It looked like the rally would continue, but Alexander Merithew was able to induce a double-play to put Myers at second, however, Alex Nielson singled to drive home Myers for the third run of the inning.
Roswell was held off the board in the first, but took the lead in the second. Horner led off with a double. Rene Moreda then drew a walk and both runners moved up on a sacrifice. A walk to Collins Robinson loaded the bases for Taichi Nakamura, who doubled into the gap, bringing two runners home. A single by Ausar Rankin tied the score and Jacob Lentz gave his team the lead with an RBI single. A walk to Seth Strong loaded the bases for Ian Yetsko, who drew a walk to drive home Rankin with the fifth run of the inning.
The Stockade responded right away in the top of the third, putting together a five-run inning of their own. A Bilodeau double and back to back walks to Grimaldo and Myers loaded the bases with no one out. Geraci then grounded a single up the middle that scored Bilodeau. Merithew looked like he would reduce the damage when Nielson grounded back to the box but, instead of getting a double-play, his throw went wild, allowing two runners to score. Trevor Wick would drive home two more with a two-out single to give Salina back the lead, 8-5.
Roswell was held off the board in the third, but rallied for eight in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nakamura walked to start the inning and moved to second on a single by Rankin. Two batters later, Strong singled up the middle, driving home Nakamura. A walk to Yetsko loaded the bases before Horner drilled a single to drive home two runners. Back to back RBI singles by Moreda and Tyler Schmidt put the Invaders back on top. Nakamura extended the lead to three with a sacrifice fly and Rankin added a two run single to give Roswell a 13-8 lead.
As they had done the previous time that the Invaders had taken the lead, the Stockade responded, scoring five runs in the top of the fifth. Jared Gay singled to begin the inning, then stole second and scored on a base hit by Khalyd Cox. Cox moved to second on the throw to the plate, allowing him to score when Aaron Takacs followed with a base hit. That brought Dicks back to the plate, who crushed a two-run homer to pull Salina within one. They tied the score on a ground out by Myers, tying the score at 13-13.
The Stockade retook the lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a two-run single off the bat of Bilodeau. However, the lead did not last long. The Invaders responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning, thanks to a bases-loaded hit by pitch to Yetsko and an RBI fielder’s choice by Horner.
Once again, Salina retook the lead in the top of the seventh, but Roswell responded with five runs in the bottom half of the inning to take the lead for good. Nakamura delivered his third hit of the game to plate Schmidt. Back to back walks loaded the bases, and Yetsko gave his team the lead when he drew a walk. Horner then followed with a bases clearing double to put the Invaders on top, 20-16.
Salina added one more run in the top of the ninth, but it was not enough. For the Stockade, seven players finished with two RBI in the game. Bilodeau had three hits and drove in a pair.
Roswell was led by Horner, who was 3-5 with two runs scored and six RBI. Both Nakamura and Rankin scored four runs and had three hits. Jonathan Fleckestein earned the victory with four solid innings of relief, allowing five hits and two runs.
By Robert Pannier