Simon Leads Stockade over Invaders to Advance to Playoffs
Mark Simon tossed six solid innings to lead the Salina Stockade to a 9-3 victory over the Roswell Invaders on Saturday. With the victory, Salina was victorious in the play-in game and will advance to the Pecos League championship series which is scheduled to begin on Monday. Ernie Geraci had four hits and drove in a pair to lead the Stockade offense.
Roswell took the lead in the top of the first inning. With two down, Seth Strong his first homer of the year, putting the Invaders on top by a run.
The Stockade responded right away in the bottom of the first, scoring three to take the lead. Aaron Takacs walked with one down then stole second. Geraci followed with a base hit, bringing Takacs home. Geraci advanced to second when the Invaders left fielder misplayed the ball and he scored when Hudson Bilodeau followed with a double. Bilodeau scored on a sacrifice fly to put Salina on top, 3-1.
The Invaders got one of those runs back in the top of the second. With one down, Rene Moreda singled and moved to third on a double by Logan Rycraft. Simon struck out Collins Robinson for the second out of the inning, but then hit Matt Cronin to keep the frame alive. Taichi Nakamura worked the count full before drawing a walk to drive home Moreda to make it a 3-2 game.
In the third, the Salina Stockade began to pull away. Bilodeau singled to start the inning and moved to second on a walk to Jared Gay. Eddie Grimaldo then hit into the fielder’s choice, putting runners at the corners with one down. Alex Nielson then hit into a fielder’s choice, driving home Bilodeau. That brought Takacs to the plate, who drilled a ball into the gap to put runners at second and third with one down for Geraci, who singled up the middle, scoring both runners to make it a 6-2 game.
The Stockade added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. In the fifth, Bilodeau scored on a sacrifice fly by Nielson. An inning later, Jordan Dicks led off with a homerun. Takacs was hit by a pitch and he would later score on a wild pitch.
While the offense was staking him to a big lead. Simon was holding the Invaders bats down. After giving up the two early runs, he breezed through the next three innings, not allowing a hit. In the sixth, a walk and a hit by pitch gave Roswell their first chance to get back into the game, but Simon was able to induce two shallow flyouts to end the threat.
In the seventh, Simon came out and the Invaders were able to get back on the board. Tommy Giunta came in and walked the leadoff batter. Nakamura moved to second on a ground out and scored on a single by Strong. Roswell had two on with one down, but Giunta got Darryl Donerson to hit into a double-play to end the threat. He then allowed just one more base runner over the next two innings, and that runner was erased on a double-play.
Simon (2-0) earned the victory, allowing three hits, three walks, and two runs in six innings. The Salina starter struck out six. Tommy Giunta earned the save, allowing one hit and one run in three innings of work.
Geraci finished 4-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Bilodeau was a perfect 3-3 with three runs scored and an RBI. Strong had two hits and two RBI for Roswell.
The Pecos League championship series is scheduled to begin on Monday, however, expected storms may move the series up to Sunday.
By Robert Pannier