Right around the time Austin Carden was scheduled to throw the first pitch in Sunday night’s playoff game between the Santa Fe Fuego and visiting Trinidad Triggers, Bill Moore was sound asleep on his sofa.
That’s because Sunday afternoon’s brief downpour that featured hail and lightning made the playing surface at Fort Marcy Ballpark unplayable. The decision was made several hours before the game that it would be postponed at least a day.
“I went out there around 2 o’clock and knew we were going to get the night off, so I came back home and took a nap,” Moore said.
Game 3 of the best-of-three Northern Division series will be played Monday night instead. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The winner earns a berth in the Pecos League Championship Series beginning Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the outcome of the Southern Division series. Entering play Sunday, it was knotted at a game apiece between Alpine and Roswell.
The Fuego manager since the team’s inception three years ago, Moore knows all too well the affect rain can have on his field.
“If it comes down hard for even 10 minutes, it puddles and turns parts of that field into a swamp,” he said.
A crew from the city Parks Divison will work on the field Monday morning, spreading sawdust and dry sand around the infield to absorb any excess moisture. Weather permitting, Monday’s game will go on as planned.
Santa Fe forced a deciding game by rallying for a 7-3 win in Game 2 on Saturday night. The Fuego have ridden the red-hot hitting of first baseman Chevas Numata. He has hit three home runs and driven in eight of the team’s 15 runs in the series.
One player who doesn’t need the time off is Fuego center fielder Nick Billinger. One of the top hitters in the league all season, he is hitless in eight at-bats with three strikeouts in the series.
“The strategy is to let him keep playing,” Moore said. “Billinger’s a good baseball player. People get wrapped up in 0-for-8, but the best thing for him to do is get back out there and keep playing. He’ll figure it out.”
Moore said the rain won’t affect his choice of starting pitcher, either. Carden (4-2, 5.32, 60 strikeouts in 49 innings) will get the nod Monday, just as he was supposed to start on Sunday. He is 1-1 in three starts against Trinidad this season. He logged eight innings in a no-decision against the Triggers on July 20.
NOTES: Contrary to a previous report from the league, Las Vegas will apparently return to the Pecos League next season.
When asked about the future of the 10-team league during the recent All-Star Game at Fort Marcy, Pecos League President Andrew Dunn said he would drop two teams in 2015 — those teams being the Las Vegas TrainRobbers and the Douglas Diablos.
This week, the league announced that Las Vegas will return but Raton will not. The Osos, who joined the league two years ago when the Triggers were supposed to make Raton their home before landing in southern Colorado, will go the way of the Diablos next season. It will reduce the league’s membership to eight clubs.