The Taos Blizzard started turning the corner last week. Numerous players returned to action after spending some time on the disabled list and the team was able to win its first series of the season, taking three of four games against the Ratón Osos.
The Blizzard went 2-6 in Arizona, but Dominic SanFelippo, Brandon Cooksey, Jared Hunt, Alex Fera and Alex Loftin were all back in Taos’ lineup when the team returned home for a doubleheader Friday (June 20). Brian Rich was also available to pinch hit.
No double-headers were on Taos’ original schedule. The alternative, however, was leaving Arizona around 10:30 p.m. after their game, driving eight hours back to Taos and playing later that night.
In the first game of the night against Ratón, the Osos jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Taos, however, made a furious comeback to win the game, 8-6. In the third inning, Cody Coffman singled and scored on a Steve Taft double. Fera then brought home Taft and later scored on a Andrew Bruder single to cut the lead in half. The Blizzard overtook Ratón with five runs in the sixth. Taft legged out an infield single and later advanced to third on a Fera base hit. Taft scored on an error. SanFelippo doubled home Fera. Hunt singled to score SanFelippo and tie the game. Cooksey then stepped up to the plate and ripped a ball down the right field to knock in the winning run. Loftin pinch ran for Cooksey and, after a single by Lange, scored an insurance run for the Blizzard.
Matt Garlock pitched the final inning to earn the save.
In game two of the doubleheader Taos made another furious comeback, but came up short, 14-7. The Blizzard, however, made things interesting at the end. Down 14-2 in the final inning, Adam Chatman walked, Taft singled and Cooksey walked to load the bases. Mike Lange then hit a 2-RBI single, Evan Mansell hit a 2-RBI double and Coffman hit an RBI-double. Ratón, however, switched pitchers and Phil Richmond was able to get the final two outs.
After the double header, the last two games of the series were played in Ratón. On Saturday (June 21), Ratón led 2-0 early, but a Taft solo home run in the third gave Taos the lead, 3-2. Taos scored two more in the sixth, but the Osos tied the game at 5 in their half of the inning. The Blizzard, however, scored two in the seventh and two in the ninth to get the win, 9-5.
The next day (June 22), Richie Anderson didn’t give up any earned runs and pitched a complete game to help Taos win the game, 8-1, and the series. Mansell provided Taos’ offense with a pair of home runs. Mansell hit a grand slam in the fifth and a solo shot in the seventh.
On Monday (July 23), Taos and Trinidad traded the lead a few times, but the Triggers scored two in the ninth to send it into extra innings and eventually won the game, 11-10. Trinidad led 3-0 early, but Cooksey hit a 2-RBI double and pitcher Jordan Kraus singled home Cooksey to tie the game. Coffman hit a 3-run home run in the fifth inning and Taos eventually went up 8-3. Trinidad tied it at 8, but Lange put Taos up again with a 2-RBI double in the eighth. Trinidad’s Chris Esobar smacked a 2-run home run in the ninth, however, and the Triggers won it in the 10th.
Three Blizzard players were selected to play in the Pecos League’s all-star game on Monday (June 30) at Santa Fe’s Fort Marcy Park. Cooksey, SanFelippo and Richie Anderson will all represent Taos in the game. Cooksey leads the league with 11 home runs. SanFellipo is batting .400 and is among the league leaders in numerous categories, including runs and stolen bases. Anderson has given Taos a chance to win every time he’s stepped on the mound.
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