The waiting is over.
Professional baseball is now a reality in Taos.
The Taos Blizzard, one of three expansion teams playing in the Pecos League, opened its season Wednesday (May 15) and the team didn’t disappoint. The Blizzard scored in bunches to beat the Santa Fe Fuego, 16-6, in the team’s first game of its inaugural season on its home field at Taos High, a.k.a the “Taos Tundra.”
“Winning is fun,” left fielder Kyle Richardson said. “We all want to play well and help the team win.”
The game was low-scoring early with both teams’ aces on the mound. Taos’ Angel Gonzales limited Santa Fe to 1 run in 3.1 innings of work and left with the score tied 1-1. Once the teams got into their bullpens, however, the ball started flying.
“We’re going to swing it and we’re going to score runs,” Blizzard third baseman Chris Constantino said.
The Blizzard grabbed the lead for good in the fourth inning. John Apostolo doubled-in James Martínez. Khyle Dimino hit a 2-RBI single and then Eric McGee smashed a 2-RBI double off the left-field fence, putting Taos up 6-1.
The Fuego got within 3 of Taos, but Taos scored 5 in the seventh, highlighted by a Cody Coffman home run, and 4 more in the bottom of the eighth to go up by 10.
“We have a great group of guys,” Constantino said. “Chemistry is so big. To be able to compete with each other is a big advantage.”
“We have a lot of experience in different types of baseball,” Richardson said. “We have a lot of quality athletes and a lot of guys capable of playing at the next level.”
After winning on its home field, the Blizzard have been on the road every day since then. Taos hit five home runs the next night (May 16) to beat Santa Fe again, 17-8.
Unfortunately, the Blizzard lost four straight after that. Scoring, however, hasn’t been an issue for Taos. The Blizzard were averaging almost 10 runs a game, scoring 58 runs in its first six games and showing plenty of power during that stretch. Ten different Blizzard players have combined for 13 home runs. Brennan May, Ruben Rijkhof and Louis Gonzales each hit a pair of dingers while Coffman, Constantino, Richardson, Vincent Smarelli, Dimino, Apostolo and Springfield also went deep.
“We like the thin air,” Richardson said.
Despite the 2-4 start, the Blizzard is still optimistic that it can win a lot of ball games this season.
“We want to come out and win every game,” Richardson said. “When we walk into the park, we plan on winning.”
The Blizzard will be back in Taos May 27 and 29 for noon games against the Las Vegas Train Robbers. After that, the Blizzard will play roughly one home game a week.
“Fans supporting us is one of the biggest things to fuel our fire,” Constantino said. “We’re happy to be here and we’re going to win some games for the people of Taos.”