The Taos Tundra has been a refuge for the team and the Blizzard put together a complete game Monday, June 3, to beat the Trinidad Triggers, 6-5. Kenny McDowall pitched into the seventh inning, striking out seven and leaving with the game tied at 4. Drew Evans, Mike Londino and Kody Gorden then came in and shut the door on Trinidad.
“The best part of the game today is our pitching kept us in it,” Blizzard manager Matt Leahy said.
Trinidad went up, 5-4 in their half of the seventh, but Taos’ Calvin Culver doubled to start the bottom of the seventh and Cody Coffman tied the game with an RBI single.
With the game tied at 5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Taos’ Jimmy Martínez stepped up and into the hero role, smashing a ball over the right field fence for a game-winning, walk-off home run.
“That’s a good team over there so a win is definitely a positive; hopefully it will snowball into a winning streak,” Taos second baseman Blair Springfield said. “I see good things happening the next couple of weeks. Our pitching is coming around and our hitting is coming around at the same time.”
Brennan May and Jon Apostolo scored in the second to put Taos up, 2-0. In the third, Springfield scored on a Coffman sacrifice fly and Culver scored on a passed ball to extend Taos’ lead to 4. Trinidad came back to take the lead, but Taos found a way to win it at the end with their bats.
The Blizzard haven’t had much trouble offensively this season. After 19 games, the team had hit 27 home runs, scored 168 runs and was batting .360 as a team.
“At the end of the day we have the most potent offense in independent baseball,” Leahy said.
Pitching, however, has been off and on for Taos. New signee Gorden, from the University of Nevada, should help the team out. Gorden pitched two scoreless innings, in the eighth and ninth innings, in the win against Trinidad.
Trinidad, however, won the first three games of the series against Taos. The Blizzard in led all three games, but the Triggers were able to put together some late rallies to pull out the victories.
Home field, however, has an advantage the Blizzard haven’t had very often.
The Blizzard have been playing on the road a majority of the time — they’re actually living in Las Vegas to make the commute to other parks easier since it’s located in I-25 — the team feels that when they do get to play in Taos, and eat the Yu Garden, it feels like home and their record reflects it. The Blizzard are 3-1 in Taos now and 5-1 in games where they bat last.
“At the end of the day we have to mentally tough,” Leahy said. “No matter where we are or who we are facing, it’s the same game. The logistics of getting from point A to point B is the hardest part.”
The Blizzard’s next game in Taos will be Sunday, June 16. They’ll also play here June 17 and June 19 that week, facing Roswell, Alpine and Ratón during the home stretch.
“We’re mostly the away team so fans are chirping at us the whole time,” Springfield said. “It’s nice to have fans cheering for us (in Taos).”
“We’re looking forward to a couple game in Taos,” Leahy said. “The ball flies for us pretty good here.”