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Electing to have a child attend NMMI was a difficult and challenging decision, knowing it was right. Having a child away from home at such a young age is hard not only on us, as parents, but on his siblings.
It was another rough day for the Colt baseball team Saturday, as the Insititute fell to Dexter 9-6 in the third-place game of the Roswell Sertoma NMMI Classic.
Errors didn’t play quite as big a part in the Colt loss as they had in prior games — NMMI only committed four errors and only two of the nine Demon runs were unearned — but the Dexter bats were on fire, driving Colt ace Thomas Haley from the mound after only two innings.
“The kids played with a lot of confidence,” said Demon coach Arturo Duran. “That was the difference with how they played yesterday. They believed in themselves.”
Dexter went up 3-0 in the first, plating runs by Mario Contreras, Dominic Lomeli and Lorenzo Coronado on four hits, including a double by Contreras.
NMMI came back with one in the bottom of the first on doubles by Haley and Blade Allen, but the Demons added another three runs in the second on singles by Raul Duran, Contreras and Jacob Sanchez and a NMMI error.
Mateo Fierro came in to pitch for the Institute in the third, and held Dexter to three more runs, one each in the third, fourth and sixth.
The Colts closed the gap a bit in the third when all-tourney pick Caleb Saiz walked, Haley doubled, Daniel Zaragoza sacrificed, scoring Saiz, and Haden Maloney singled, scoring Haley. NMMI added a solo run in the fifth when Zaragoza singled, advanced on a two-out balk by Dexter pitcher Sanchez and scored on a Gavin Maloney single.
After giving up the final Dexter run in the top of the sixth, the Colts tried to come back in the bottom but only could get two runs. With one out, Saiz singled, Haden Maloney tripled, scoring Saiz and Zaragoza sacrificed Maloney in.
The Colts had runners on second and third in the seventh but couldn’t bring them home, ending the game on Sanchez’ fifth strike out of the game.
“Our youth is showing, and four errors or not, we’re not hitting the ball right,” said Institute coach Charlie Ward. “I think situational hitting is still not good. There’s too many fly balls. Dexter ran a lot of them down. Give them credit for that. We’re not hitting the ball right. We’re trying to hit everything in the air.”
While Duran was happy with his entire team, he had special praise for Contreras and Coronado.
“(Coronado’s) one of our sophomores and he’s quick,” the coach said. “He made a dive for that catch and he made a play on it. And I can say enough about my center fielder going and getting two balls deep, deep in the gap. Like I said, they came out and played and it showed. And I can’t take anything away from NMMI. They played a good game, we just got lucky to hit them today.”
Sanchez not only pitched a complete game, he went 4-for-5 with one run and one RBI, earning him all-tourney status along with Coronado. Contreras, Moreno and Duran were each 2-for-4.
NMMI was led at the plate by Haley, who was 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI. AS to his pitching, Ward didn’t sound concerned.
“We expect him to have his best stuff but this is pitching,” he said. “Pitchers are going to have bad days so he had a bad day. The team still has to do its job. So he had a bad game. Ain’t nothing wrong with Thomas Haley. He’ll bounce back.”
Ben Morgan was also 3-for-4 at the plate and Gavin Maloney 2-for-3.
Fierro pitched five complete in relief for NMMI, and Ward was proud of the young left-hander.
“First time on the mound as a varsity player,” the coach said. “We’re very proud of the way he handled himself there with the situation to keep us in the game.”
While the tournament is in the books with only a fourth-place finish to show, Ward is more concerned about the near future, which includes games against AAA Portales, Jal, No. 1-ranked Cobre and Texico.
“It’s going to make or break us,” Ward said of the next 10 days. “We may not win a lot of ball games, but hopefully it’s going to make us tougher for district.”
But with so many youngsters on the squad, getting back to a good mental attitude could be tough.
“I put it (that way) for a reason,” he said. “The seniors wanted to load up and I wonder if we can handle it. I don’t know. We’ll find out the next few ball games.”
For complete stats and play-by-play, click here.
The Colts will not be playing for a third straight Roswell Sertoma baseball tournament title Saturday.
Despite a big late comeback Friday, 10 NMMI errors led to an 11-6 loss to Santa Rosa, who will face district foe Texico in the championship. The Institute will play their district competitor, Dexter, for third place at 3:30 p.m.
But Friday, despite a five-run sixth inning by NMMI, the big story was mistakes. Only one Santa Rosa inning, the first, was error free, and if not for those mistakes, the game would have been tied 6-6.
“I appreciate the fight in them, still, 10 errors in not good baseball,” said NMMI coach Chardlie Ward. “Santa Rosa is a very good team. They hit the ball hard. They’re a good team. They were solid. They made some errors at the ends, but we’re just not a very good defensively.. I don’t know if it’s, what? Confidence? Focus?”
The Lions started out with two runs in the first, earning them on two hits and a wild pitch. NMMI came back with one in the bottom of the stanza, scoring when Thomas Haley was hit, stole second and came home on a hit by Daniel Zaragosa. But for the next four innings, the game was all Santa Rosa.
Both teams were scoreless in the second, then the Lions added three runs in the third; three in the fourth and two in the fifth, just missing going up by 10-runs. With a runner on third and two outs in the top of the fifth, Jared Sprague came in in relief of Blade Allen — who had relieved starter Zaragosa in the fourth — and struck out the final Lion.
Then, in the sixth, after Santa Rosa got two runners on base with a walk and Institute mistake, an inning-ending double play finally seemed to fire up the lethargic Colts.
Matteo Fierro reached on the first Lion error of the game. Caleb Saiz tripled him home, then Haley tripled in Saiz and on a wild pitch by Santa Rosa starter Ryan Lopez, Haley scored. Zaragoza then singled, Haden Maloney walked and Blade Allen singled to load the bases.
Zaragoza got the first out when he was forced at the plate, but a second fielder’s choice scored Francisco Galvez, who was pinch running for Maloney, and Ben Morgan singled, scoring Allen and closing the gap to 10-6.
Lion coach Martin Madrid said he really didn’t consider pulling Lopez even then.
“It crossed my mind but he’s our senior leader,” he said. ‘He’s our senior with the most experience and so we stuck with him and we’re going to live with him or die with him. Fortunately, he stuck it out.”
And after Santa Rosa added an insurance run in the seventh on three hits and an error, Lopez held the Colts scoreless on their final chance, but not before the host team loaded the bases on a walk, error and hit batter before ending the game with a strikeout.
With the exception of Zaragosa,who was 2-for-4, the Colts’ six hits were spread across the lineup. Every Lion starter but one had at least one hit, led by Joaquin Lopez, who was 3-for-5 with two runs and 3 RBI.
And while Madrid agreed the NMMI errors did help, he said his team did what they needed to do.
“(NMMI is) a darn good ball club, as their early record can attest,” he said. “It just wasn’t their night tonight. Their defense wasn’t here. I guess they didn’t show up. They helped us out so we’ll take it. But we also put up 12 hits on their pitching. You’ve got to hit the ball to make errors, and that we did tonight.”
Complete stats and play-by-play can be seen here.
The nightcap on opening day of the NMMI-Sertoma baseball tournament saw two teams clearly not playing at the top of their games. While the host Colts eked out a 13-6 victory over Gateway Christian, the teams combined for 14 errors — seven apiece — and both coaches felt pretty much the same way after the game.
“We have to swing the bat with everybody and just try to compete and see if we can get better,” said NMMI coach Charlie Ward.
“We scratched out six runs there,” said Waiior coach Rick Rapp. “So there’s some positive things there. That’s what we’ll dwell on and we need to improve on our mistakes.”
Gateway (3-3) drew first blood, scoring on a single by pitcher Andrew Meeks, who stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and came home on a sac fly by Chris Bonham.
And while Meeks pitched a solid game — “Andrew really pitched a good game,” Rapp said. “They did not beat him. They didn’t hit the ball that hard off of him, we just gave them too many outs then he had to throw too many pitches. So Andrew did a great job” — his fielders didn’t back him up. The Colts (6-1) went up 3-1 in the bottom of the first on a walk, two wild pitches, a passed ball and three errors, and never trailed again.
Neither team scored in the second, then the Warriors closed the gap to 3-2 in the third on a single by Jake Moody, wild pitch by Institute starter Ben Morgan, a stolen base and passed ball. NMMI matched that in the bottom of the stanza when Blade Allen and Jake Guerrero both walked, then, after a running mistake by Allen that saw him out at third, Gavin Maloney and pinch hitter Ryan DeMent both singled and NMMI led 5-2.
The Warriors closed to within one in the fifth, scoring two on a two-out error, stolen base, Meeks single, another error and a wild pitch by Allen, who came in in relief. But NMMI again matched the scoring in the fifth and broke things wide open in the sixth, scoring six runs on two hits and some rough relief work by Bonham.
The final Warrior runs came in the top of the seventh of reliever Maloney, who had a shaky start but settled down to get the final three outs.
Caleb Saiz led the Institute offense, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and 3 RBI. All the Gateway offense came from three hitters: Moody was 1-for-2; Meeks 2-for-4; and Alex King 1-for-3.
And both pitchers also showed some good stats. Morgan allowed only one earned run while striking out eight and walking none. Meeks gave up three earned runs and struck out 10, but walked six.
Both coaches admitted their team’s failings, but credited the other squad with strong efforts.
“Gateway’s a heck of a team,” Ward said. “They’re legit. I think they’re the best Class A team in the state right now. They’re not No. 5, they’re No. 1. They’ve showed me they can play with AA. They’ve got pitching. We just didn’t get it done. We felt sorry for ourselves. But it’s a team game and our opponent did our job for us. We took advantage of their base running, stealing mistakes and we capitalized there and that helped a lot. But very good team. I have a lot of respect for coach Rapp and the Gateway Warriors.”
“The Institute’s got a good ball club,” Rapp echoed. “They’ve got a good 2A ball club, I’m encouraged with what we’ve got. We’ve got a good team, we’ve just got to cut down on the mistakes.”
Both teams will be back in action Friday in second-round tournament action. Gateway will face Hatch Valley in a 1 p.m. consolation-bracket game, while NMMI will take on Santa Rosa at 7 p.m. to determine who heads to the title game.
Complete stats and play-by-play can be seen here.