The funny thing is, a team doesn’t know what its character is like when it’s winning. After all, when things are going swimmingly, it doesn’t take much to be cool and collected. It’s only when the climb gets steeper that a manager begins to understand what type of players he really has.
Which brings us to the Roadrunners, losers of a season-high four in a row heading into a vital home doubleheader Tuesday night against cellar-dwelling Coastal Bend. Their ULB lead having dwindled to a mere one game after a recent slow stretch, the ‘Runners needed to break the streak and get back into business.
But they dropped the opener, 3-2, giving away two runs early, as has been their inadvertent wont. Manager Vince Moore had complained before the match that his men had been forcing the pitchers to get four outs in some innings with less than heads-up play in the field. And sure enough, the lapses came back to haunt them in the loss.
After allowing the go-ahead run in the sixth Edinburg had a chance to tie it but infielder Wilson Batista was stranded at third. The seven-inning game was lost.
It was now up to veteran right-hander Eric Montoya to take the hill in Game Two.
He was brilliant, yielding just two hits through five innings, and the ‘Runners exploded for 10 runs in a much-needed 10-3 breezer.
“I felt like I was back in the old days, I was blowing them away,” said Montoya, who won for the seventh time as the squad improved to 34-21 with two more to go with the Thunder. “I knew this was a must-win game and I came out really ready to get it.”
Moore said that his team never got a chance to test its mettle after a fast start ensconced it in first place early on. He added that now is the time for the guys to show what they are made of.
“Maybe this will set us off on a streak, I don’t know,” he commented. “These losing streaks can take four or five games or they can take 10, it all depends on how you handle it mentally. Right now, we have to come back out here tomorrow, stay focused, and take care of business.”
Edinburg can use some heady play like it got from Batista Tuesday. He made back-to-back sterling defensive plays in Game One and then coaxed a balk call in the sixth from second base, after having slyly lobbied the base umpire for the decision a few pitches earlier.
Normally a fairly quiet performer, the Dominican third baseman could be heard before the doubleheader exhorting his teammates to get with the program.
“Come on, let’s go!” he shouted. “We’re tired of losing!”