Aided by a blinding setting sun, a man-advantage and three defensive errors by Rolloff Container, the Sidewinders blew open a close game with 10 runs in the third inning en route to a 26-11 win in Los Lunas Men’s Softball League action Monday evening at Daniel Fernandez Park.
“We started off slow, but the hits came together in the third and fourth innings,” said the Sidewinders’ Johnny Gardner, who shares coaching duties with Matthew Piro.
The hits didn’t come until after Rolloff made a pair of fielding errors to start the bottom of the third inning and jumpstart the Sidewinders’ offense. The Snakes pounded out eight hits in the inning. J.J. Gonzales had a double and triple in the inning and Piro an inside-the-park home run.
The errors and at least two of the Sidewinders’ home runs – they hit three inside-the-park jobs in the game – could be partly attributed to a setting sun that blinded the fielders. “The sun was a key issue,” said Rolloff’s player/coach Steven Chavez, “but they (the Sidewinders) were in the same position too.”
And the Sidewinders didn’t have to deal with a shortage of players, as Rolloff did. “We only had nine players,” Chavez said. “In softball, if you’ve only got three outfielders, it’s going to kill you.”
The Sidewinders found the gaps in the outfield and benefited from two more inside-the-parkers in the fourth inning, struck by Donny Gurule and Greg Maese. They put the game away with seven runs in the inning, ending the game by “mercy rule.”
It was a seesaw battle through the first couple of innings. Rolloff scored five runs in the first, only to see the lead evaporate when the Sidewinders scored five runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Rolloff took a 9-5 lead in the second, but the Sidewinders matched them with four runs to tie the game again.
Rolloff took the lead for the third time in the third with a pair of runs, but things began to fall apart for them.
The Sidewinders, for the most part, handled the glare of the sun, and their defense shined. “We turned a few double plays in the infield,” Piro said. “That played a big part.”
Piro led the Sidewinders at the plate, going 4 for 4 with three doubles and home run, scoring four runs. Charles Nieto was 3 for 4 and also scored four runs.
Arnold Apodaca led Rolloff by going 3 for 3 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored.
Both teams records are now 2-5. The loss ended Rolloff’s two game win streak. The Sidewinders were hoping the victory might start a win streak.
“Wins like this will get us motivated and pumped up,” Piro said.