There are some new faces in the dugout these days, but they’re only unfamiliar to the unfamiliar. As the Roadrunners vie for the playoffs, they have a handful of guys who have been there, and here, before.
He’s 28 years old now, but can still play. Hector Garanzuay comes to the Roadrunners from Monclova, where he hit .306 with 76 RBI this season. He played five seasons in the Mexican Leagues, and parts of two in the States.
He was in town for the glorious season of 2004, when the original Roadrunners enjoyed one of the finest seasons in Independent history. The team was 68-27, breezing to the flag with some heavy hitters and an unbeatable pitching staff.
Garanzuay hit .290 as a shortstop on ’04 paired with second baseman Tony Angel (.308, 66 RBI). Also on board were infielder Ryan Lehr (team best 74 RBI, .322 clip), outfielder Ryan Webb (.338, 30 steals), and a quartet of current Edinburg vets.
Eric Gonzalez (.305, 53 RBI), Eric Montoya (10-2, 2.59 ERA) and Pedro Flores (10-5, 2.49) were mainstays of the best team the town ever had. Plus, current manager Vince Moore was an outfielder on that pennant winner, and he stole 18 bases while hitting .269.
Sergio “Keko” Guerrero, McAllen High class of 1993, has been on fire since joining the team in early August, hitting over .500. He began his pro career with Helena in the low minors, batting over .300 twice in four seasons. In independent ball, Guerrero was a member of the first Roadrunner squad in 2001, hitting .312. He toiled for five seasons in the Mexican League with a number of clubs, compiling a .341 average in 2006 with Saltillo. In 119 at-bats this year, the 34-year-old vet hit .336 with Tijuana.
The Runners currently hold down the second spot in the ULB. They defeated Laredo Saturday night behind seven innings of two-hit ball from Flores to rise to 40-31 for the season. Garanzuay had a couple of hits in that game, as the left side of the infield featured he and Guerrero, with fellow in-season acquisition Wilmer Pino at second. Garanzuay had three hits in back-to-back contests earlier in the week, as the roster moves paid off big time.
NOTES: Former Roadrunner Randy Williams is up in the majors with the Chicago White Sox, where he has appeared eight times with a 2.16 ERA. The 6-foot-3 lefty saved 10 ball games with a 1.20 ERA in 2002 for Edinburg, and has also been in the big leagues with Seattle, San Diego, and Colorado.
Sunday the Runners won again, with Tim Haines earning his ninth victory. The team then prepared for the most important series of the year starting Monday versus San Angelo. As the last eight contests of the regular season neared, the Edinburg squad was five back of the Colts and a half-game up on Amarillo. The Runners will face Amarillo Aug. 28-31 to conclude things before the playoffs.