Alpine, Santa Fe advance to Pecos League championship

The teams will play a three-game series July 30 - Aug. 1 in Texas.

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It’s championship time in the Pecos League. The Southern and Northern Division regular-season champs — the Alpine Cowboys and Santa Fe Fuego — both won their first-round playoff series to advance to the championship. They’ll play a three-game series July 30 - Aug. 1 in Texas.

Alpine knocked off last year’s Pecos League champs, the Roswell Invaders, while the Fuego beat the Trinidad Triggers.

A handful of former Taos Blizzard players were on the losing end in those two series, but provided some bright spots in the losses.

Dominic SanFelippo went 2-3 with a double and scored two runs in Roswell’s 4-1 victory to start the series. Alpine, however, won game two 6-4 and won an even closer game three, 9-8. In the finale, SanFelippo scored in the Invaders’ six-run third inning and scored again later to put Roswell up, 8-7. Alpine, however, overtook Roswell in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the series.

Cody Coffman and Jared Hunt also had some big hits for Trinidad. Coffman had two RBIs to help the Triggers win game one, 9-4. In game two, Coffman hit a solo home run and Hunt hit a two-run home run to account for all of Trinidad’s offense in a 7-3 loss. Santa Fe then blew out Trinidad 22-0 in the deciding third game.

Right before the playoffs began, Trinidad traded its top bullpen pitcher, Nick Rodeski, to the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the sixth Trinidad player who was promoted to higher leagues, mostly other independent baseball leagues, this season.

Pecos League scaling back  2015

After adding two expansion teams for the 2014 season — Arizona’s Bisbee Blue and Douglas Diablos — the Pecos League will cut two teams for 2015 and go back to an eight-team league. Douglas, who finished last in the league in attendance, won’t be around again next season in the Southern Division. The other town that will likely lose its team will be Ratón in the Northern Division.

Taos signed a two-year contract with the league before the 2014 season to keep the Blizzard here, so pro ball will return next summer to the Tundra.

The Blizzard’s season came to an end last Wednesday (July 23) with a 16-9 loss at Santa Fe.

Taos finished 22-40 overall this season. The Blizzard finished 1.5 games behind the Ratón Osos for third-place in the Northern Division, but a few games ahead of last year’s Northern Division champs, the Las Vegas Train Robbers (16-42). Taos beat Las Vegas the only time the two teams played this season.

The Blizzard also had six games rained out that weren’t rescheduled, and could easily have been the difference between third and fourth place.

Follow sports editor Cody Olivas on Twitter.

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