Chihuahuas get back on track, win four straight


Michaela Roman

Chihuahuas pitcher Branch Kloess pitching in the seventh inning.

Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter

The opening week for the El Paso Chihuahuas was nothing short of historic. The eight game home stand featured extra inning thrillers, virtuoso pitching performances and some Chihuahua wins.

The opening series against the Fresno Grizzlies was a series of firsts for the Chihuahuas and the city of El Paso. Opening day saw Southwest University Park sold out with a great atmosphere brought on by the new and excited fans.

The first four games had everything but a Chihuahuas win, the Grizzlies swept the opening series 4-0 and outscored the Chihuahuas 22-9.

Even though it was the Chihuahua’s first official home series, the players still feel out of place in a city that they have never played in before. Due to construction setbacks the Chihuahuas had to play their first 25 games on the road.

Infielder Kyle Blanks is still feeling out the city and the new ballpark just like everyone else.

“It’s hard to go and play 25 on the road, essentially you come here and you are still on the road because you never played here,” Blanks said. “We hadn’t really played either, same thing as any other team coming here, so we are as familiar with this ballpark just as anybody else. We have a very good team it’s just a matter of time for everyone to find their groove.”

Blanks has 9 HR’s this season and just today got recalled to the San Diego Padres. Blanks hit two in the home stand Friday and Sunday against the Sacramento Rivercats.

Despite losing their first four home games, the Chihuahuas and El Paso fans did not falter. In front of another sellout crowd the Chihuahuas steam rolled the Sacramento Rivercats 12-3 after falling behind 3-0 early in the game.

The success continued for the next three games, as the Chihuahuas secured their first home series win by sweeping Sacramento and finishing the eight game home stand on a good note.

Manager Pat Murphy couldn’t have been happier with the effort and finally securing a win at Southwest University Park.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” Murphy said. “We had a lot of obstacles, a lot of injuries, but they have shown relentless effort. Is a good win and it’s important to get the first one, we owed it to the community.”

The four game winning streak is the longest winning streak concluded with a walk-off grand slamby shortstop Jake Lemmerman to givethe Chihuahuas their longestwinning streak of the season.

Blanks sees that things are finally coming together for the Chihuahuas and the fan support is always a
good thing.

“Everyone has come together well,” Blanks said. “Everyone is moving in the same direction and that’s good especially playing in a new place. Plenty of people are coming to the games and a lot of people are behind us, so that’s a good thing.”

The Chihuahuas will now go on the road for four games to face the Fresno Grizzlies for the second time this year, before returning home. The Chihuahuas will return home for another eight game home stand against the Albuquerque Isotopes and the
Las Vegas 51s.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected]