Takacs, Stockade Pummel Tucson to Open Season, 16-5
Professional baseball got underway in America on Thursday as the Pecos League became the first league to offer games. It was an exciting return to the diamond, especially for an American Association fan favorite, as the Salina Stockade battered the Tucson Saguaros, 16-5. Salina rapped out 14 hits, led by Aaron Takacs who had three hits and drove in four in the victory. The Stockade were a member of the American Association in 2017, playing their entire 100 game schedule as the road team.
After a scoreless first inning, the Stockade jumped all over Tucson starter Sati Santa Cruz in the second. Takacs walked to start the frame and scored when Eddie Grimaldo followed with a triple to the gap, bringing Takacs all the way around from first. It looked like Santa Cruz was going to get out of the frame without any further damage when he got a popout and a strikeout, but Jordan Dicks followed with a base hit to keep the inning alive. The Saguaros starter did not respond well, hitting the next two batters before walking the next two and his day was over.
With the bases loaded, Chris Caffrey came on looking to keep the damage at four runs, but he fell behind Takacs 3-1 before giving up a triple that cleared the bases. That made it 7-0.
After being blanked through the first two innings, Tucson came back with three in the bottom of the third. Back-to-back doubles by Christopher Eusay and Thomas DeBonville started the inning. Two batters later James Prockish walked. Blake Berry followed with a single to right that brought home DeBonville with Prockish advancing to third on a throwing error. He scored on an error to make it 7-3.
The Stockade responded with five runs in the top half of the fourth. Brian Dansereau led off the inning with a walk and advanced to third on a ground out and a stolen base. He came around to score on a Drew Schutt single. Takacs followed by turning on a 1-1 offering, lining it into the gap. That allowed Schutt to come all the way around from first to make it 9-3.
That would be all for Caffrey as Jake Lialios came on looking to shut the door. He quickly got ahead of Grimaldo 0-2, but the third strike proved to be elusive, as Grimaldo singled to drive home Takacs to extend the lead to 10-3. He moved to third on a Hudson Bilodeau single and scored on a balk. Bilodeau would later score on a sacrifice fly to make it 12-3.
That would be more than enough run support for the Salina Stockade pitching staff. Five pitchers combined to allowed 11 hits and four earned runs over nine innings. Jacob Williams (1-0) earned the victory, allowing a run on one hit in two innings of relief.
Takacs led the Stockade offensively, going 3-4 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI, and a pair of walks. Grimaldo had three hits and drove in three, and Dansereau scored three for the Stockade. Thomas DeBonville and Nathan Etheridge each had three hits for Tucson.
By Robert Pannier
Featured Image Courtesy of the Pecos League