Perhaps it’s only fitting that a team from Roswell with an alien-inspired nickname used the postage-stamp confines of Fort Marcy Ballpark as a launching pad to kick off the Pecos League Championship Series.

The Southern Division champs belted seven home runs, had 16 hits and drew seven walks while circling the bases with unencumbered pleasure in a 17-6 rout of Santa Fe in the Game 1 on Monday night. The Invaders lead the best-of-three series 1-0 and can clinch their second league title in three years with a win in Game 2 Tuesday night at Fort Marcy.

Rather than punching the panic button, the Fuego were already focusing on Game 2 as they cleared the dugout and began heading home.

“This team’s really good at flushing,” said Santa Fe center fielder Matt Petrone. “Almost before the game was over we were kind of ready to move on. That’s the type of group we are. If we weren’t that kind of group when we lost our manager, quote unquote, we wouldn’t be here right now. I think we’ll be all right.”

Fresh off its stunning upset of Trinidad in the Northern Division playoffs, Santa Fe couldn’t maintain the momentum it built over the weekend. Roswell scored four times in the first, four times in the second and by the end of the third inning led 10-1 on the strength of five home runs.

They finished the night with just eight hits — a far cry from the kind of production that produced a league-best .354 team batting average. Roswell starter Tyler Moore had a lot to do with that. The 6-foot-6 pitcher out of Appalachian State sported an unorthodox sidearm delivery that came with a release point at knee level about two feet of the outer edge of the pitching rubber.

Invaders manager Chris Treibt — a former Fuego pitcher who’s in his first year as Roswell’s skipper — said he approached Moore with the opportunity of making a spot start out of the bullpen in midseason. That one start went so well that he found himself in the rotation, and he finished the season with a team-high six wins. He is 2-0 in the playoffs.

He tossed eight innings Monday, giving up eight hits and all six Fuego runs. He struck out four.

Afterward he was asked if that sidearm motion is more taxing on his arm or his body.

“My back, actually,” he said. “That motion of dipping low and twisting through the delivery is hard on my back.”

The magic elixir for the discomfort was a big lead, which the Invaders provided with an explosive start.

Fuego starting pitcher Cody Spriggins, a Pecos League all-star whose season has taken a steep turn for the worse after he won his first five starts, was pounded in his short stint. He struggled from the outset, keeping the ball up in the strike zone — the veritable happy place for Roswell’s hitters.

Leadoff hitter Roche Woodard set the tone by homering in the top of the first inning. He added another long ball in the third as Spriggins was sent packing after facing 13 batters. He gave up six hits and eight runs.

Woodard was one of three Roswell players with a multi-home run game. Nolan Meadows and Mark Fowler also went deep twice. For Woodard, it doubled his season output to four. Fowler had only one home run in the regular season.

“That’s the thing about this place; you’re going to put up some runs,” Moore said. “It’s good to have a lead like that.”

“You can score runs here, true, but to hold a team like ours to six runs like [Moore] did says a lot,” said Fuego interim manager Jake Mitzner.

Petrone and Chevas Numata got into the act for Santa Fe. Each homered twice and combined to drive in all six runs. A left-handed hitter, Petrone said it’s easy to see why Moore’s so tough on right-handed hitters.

“The right-handed guys said he was tough to pick up, but he made a lot of quality pitches in big spots and when we did tag him up a little bit it was just too late,” Petrone said. “If one guy sees him well and eight don’t, it’s not going to be a good night.”


Damage report: Petrone went 3-for-4 while Numata was 2-for-4. No one else had more than one hit for Santa Fe.

Moving up: During the game it was announced that Fuego starting pitcher Francisco Rodriguez has been signed by the Sussex County Miners of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, commonly referred to as the Can-Am League.

Rodriguez finished second in the league in strikeouts with 83 in just 631/3 innings. That includes 15 in his most recent start, a series-clinching win over Trinidad in the playoffs.

He is supposed to report to his new team, which is located in Augusta, N.J., by Friday. Mitzner said he as already been deactivated from the Fuego roster.

Pitching matchup: Roswell will send Ryan Davis (5-0, 2.20 ERA) to the mound to start Game 2. The Fuego will counter with Alex Teal (3-1, 5.56).

Mitzner said Teal and Rodriguez were the team’s top two pitchers for the last month of the regular season and he feels comfortable that he has the right matchup in what is a do-or-die situation for his club.

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