Tucson Saguaros Rallies to Stun Salina Stockade, 6-5
The Salina Stockade had to be feeling pretty good about stealing Game 1 of the Pecos League championship on Monday, leading by five entering the bottom of the seventh. However, a pair of three run innings put the Tucson Saguaros on top, as they prevailed, 6-5. Five different players drove in runs for the Saguaros, as both Thomas DeBonville and Chris Caffery scored a pair of runs for Tucson.
Walks were the story of this game, as each team grew 13, while combining for 13 total hits in the contest. Ryan Porras started for Tucson and issued two walks in the first inning and walked four more in the third. He was able to escape a run-scoring when Jordan Dicks was thrown out at the plate attempting to steal home with the bases loaded.
Reid Frase started for Salina and issued a walk and hit by pitch in the first, and a walk and a single in the second, but he did not yield a run in either of those frames. He then retired the side in order in the third to keep the game scoreless.
In the top of the fourth, the Stockade jumped out in front. Keaven Diaz led off with a walk and moved to third on a base hit by Alex Nielson. That brought Drew Schutt to the plate, who singled up the middle, easily driving home Diaz. A sacrifice moved both runners into scoring position before Dicks singled into center, plating both runners. That gave Salina a 3-0 lead.
In the seventh, the Stockade extended their lead to five. Dicks led off with a walk and moved to second on a single by Aaron Takacs. A wild pitch allowed Dicks to easily score and Takacs came home on a ground out to give Salina a five-run lead.
Despite yielding five walks, Frase was not scored upon through the first six innings. However, in the bottom of the seventh he gave up a leadoff walk to Tyler Baumann and his afternoon was over.
Frase allowed four hits, six walks, and a run in six innings. He struck out just one batter.
Salina turned to Jacob Williams but he proved to not be the answer. With one down, DeBonville singled and Caffery was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Williams then walked the next two batters, driving home a pair of runs and a fielder’s choice allowed the third run of the inning to score. That cut the Salina lead to just two.
Williams came out to start the bottom of the eighth as Tommy Giunta came on looking to preserve the lead. He was able to retire the first batter of the frame, but then gave up back to back walks and a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position. That brought Caffery to the plate, who hit a popup that should have been caught, but it was misplayed for a single. That allowed both runners to come around to score to tie the game. Next up was Nathan Etheridge, who doubled into the gap, sending Caffery to third. After a walk to Danny Kerr, Giunta walked Blake Berry to bring home Caffery and give Tucson the lead.
In the ninth, the Saguaros brought in closer Martin Alcoverde. He retired the first batter, but then gave up a walk and a single to put two on with one down. With the tying run just 180 feet away, Tucson turned to Cody Earl. He struck out David Peterson before getting Nielson to ground back to the mound to end the game.
Jay Causey earned the victory, tossing a scoreless eighth inning. Giunta took the loss. Berry and Kerr each walked four times for Tucson. Dicks drew four walks for Salina and drove in a pair of runs.
Game 2 is scheduled for tomorrow.
By Robert Pannier