Matt Cronin & Stephen Keller Blank Houston 11-0
Cronin and Keller. It sounds like a law firm, but Thursday afternoon it was two Roswell Invaders pitchers who were holding a court of their own, dominating the Houston Apollos in an 11-0 victory. Matt Cronin and Stephen Keller skewered the Apollos like a defense attorney dissects a prosecution witness on cross-examination, allowing three total hits. Keller also drove in two, as did Ian Yetsko to lead the Roswell offense.
Cronin found himself in some trouble in the top of the first. He retired the first two batters, then give up a single and a walk. However, he kept his cool, getting Aaron Thor to ground out to end the threat.
The Invaders staked their starter to a lead with solo runs in the first and second innings. In the top of the first, the team got three straight singles before Coleton Horner grounded into a fielder’s choice to bring home Jacob Lentz. Roswell still had runners at the corners with one down but Apollos’ starter Derrick Sylve got two straight infield pop outs to end the threat.
In the second, Roswell loaded the bases again, this time thanks to two walks and an error. A wild pitch brought home Logan Rycraft to make it a 2-0 Invaders lead.
After the early challenge, Cronin caught fire, retiring nine batters in a row. That streak finally came to an end in the fourth when Thor singled with two down, but he was left stranded. Cronin then retired seven straight, including striking out the final two batters of the sixth, before his day was over. Cronin (2-2) went six innings, allowing just two hits and a walk, he struck out seven.
Before departing, his team blew this game open, scoring in four consecutive innings, starting with four runs in the fifth. Taichi Nakamura led off with a walk, then stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Seth Strong and Horner then each drew a walk to lead the bases and that was it for Silve.
Nick Coffman came on, but he did not provide relief. Yetsko greeted the reliever with a base hit that brought home two. Collins Robinson followed with a single that bought home Horner to extend the lead to five. A fielder’s choice plated Yetsko to make it a 6-0 game.
An inning later Roswell added another run. Coffman retired the first two batters of the inning, but Strong and Horner kept the inning alive by drawing back-to-back walks. The inning should have ended when Yetsko grounded to second, but an error allowed him to reach and Strong to score.
In the seventh, the Invaders added three more runs on just one hit. Rycraft was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Rene Moreda and Austin Marshall walked to load the bases with one down. After Nakamura struck out, Strong walked, driving in a run. Keller then doubled to bring home two. That made it 10-0.
Roswell closed out the scoring with a run in the eighth. With two down, Moreda clubbed his first homerun of the season. That made it 11-0.
Keller had come on in the seventh and was outstanding. He hit the first batter he faced, then induced a double-play. In the eighth, he walked the leadoff batter, who was then picked off by Keller. He gave up a two-out hit in the ninth, the only hit he allowed. Keller went three innings allowing one hit and one walk. He earned his first save of the season.
Strong was 1-2 with two runs scored, an RBI and he walked three times. Esteban Gomez had two of the three hits for Houston.
By Robert Pannier