Hagstrom, Tom help the Pumpjacks pile up 15 runs in the final three innings
FARMINGTON — Slow starts have been a trend for the Pumpjacks baseball team lately in the Connie Mack City League, but the slow start didn't doom them tonight.
The Pumpjacks have fallen behind by at least three runs on three occasions in the past 11 days, and they've managed to pull out the comeback victory twice in that span.
Tonight was one of those times, as the Pumpjacks scored 15 runs over the game's final three innings to top the Halos 17-7 at Ricketts Park.
"That's really been the struggle all year, coming out of the gate with some energy," Pumpjacks coach Nick Clayton said. "I've tried switching it up with them, mixing it up in pre-game (batting practice), but I just haven't found what our glitch is there to start games."
Starting pitcher Coby Baer had trouble getting the Halos out to open the contest. He walked four and gave up four hits in the first two frames, and the Halos turned those eight base runners into four runs.
Trailing 4-1, the Pumpjacks flipped a switch in the top of the fourth inning, when they sent 10 batters to the plate. The Pumpjacks slapped four singles and drew a walk that inning, and took the lead on a Devin Williamson RBI single. They scored five runs in the frame to go up 7-4.
Halos coach Pedro Tom said the fourth inning did his team in.
"We gave up some hits with two outs there and loaded up the bases, and that was just an inning we couldn't squeeze out of," Tom said. "I think that was the game-changer right there."
The Halos got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth and then managed to tie the game at 7 when pinch-hitter Josh Begay stole home in the fifth. But the Pumpjacks roared back the next inning and took the lead for good, blasting Halos starter Aarwin Chee — who entered the top of the sixth with more than 70 pitches thrown — for four runs.
Tom yanked Chee in the sixth in favor of Trevor Smith, who got the Halos out of the inning before getting hammered in the seventh.
The Pumpjacks' first six hitters of the seventh inning reached base, and all six of them eventually came around to score. Lane Hagstrom caught fire at the plate in the final two frames for the Pumpjacks with two singles, four RBI and two runs scored.
Since the game against the Pumpjacks was the Halos' first of a doubleheader tonight, Chee and Smith were put in the undesirable position of having to eat up innings despite each being hit hard.
"We had a doubleheader tonight, so I was kind of saving my other pitchers for the next game coming up," Tom said. "But Aarwin kept us in the game for a while. He went over 90 pitches for us tonight."
Pedro Tom — the son of the Halos' head coach — crossed the plate a game-high four times for the Pumpjacks, who were also helped out by Jason Engel's three singles and three stolen bases.
Chinle, Ariz., senior Brandon Brown led off for the Halos and did his job in the losing effort, drawing three walks and scoring three runs.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.