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Broncos drop series opener to Dodge City

Angel Lebron DeJesus throws a picture against Dodge City CC on Friday. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

NMMI Sports Press

Bobby Galindo fields a ground ball and completes the out by stepping on first. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

In a game where the score was inflated by wind-aided long balls, the New Mexico Military Institute Bronco baseball dropped their series opener versus visiting Dodge City Community College, 15-13.

Nine balls breeched the outfield fence in Friday’s single nine-inning game: five by DCCC, four by NMMI.

The Bronco’s homeruns came from four different players: Grady Frost went long with a leadoff dinger in the top of the fifth, followed by a back-to-back solo shot by Paulo Rodriguez; Cedric Reynaud finished up the scoring in NMMI’s four-run fifth with a two-run tag over the right field fence; and Miguel Soto started the bottom of the sixth with another single-run jack.

Will Haywood picks up his only hit of the day in the 6th inning. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

NMMI starting pitcher Parker Bateman went 4.2 innings with no decision, allowing six runs, five earned, off five hits, three walks and five strikeouts.  David Chavez got stuck with the loss on 2.2 innings of work, four runs, three earned, five hits, one walk, and 2Ks.

“It was just an overall bad day to play baseball,” said head Bronco coach Chris Cook. “The wind was blowing out which allowed routine popups to become home runs.”

“We needed this game and tomorrow isn’t going to be a very fun day to play,” continued Cook. “It is going to be a complete ‘Opposite Day’ tomorrow because the wind will blowing in.”

Cedric Reynaud throws to first base to keep a runner honest. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

With the loss, NMMI drops to 10-7 on the season. They’ll square off with Dodge City in a pair of seven innings games on Saturday beginning at noon at the NMMI Ballpark, then finish up the four-game series with a single nine-inning game on Sunday at 12:00 P.M.

Bronco golf begins season at home in Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate

Left to right: sophomore team captain Aaron Troilo with his freshman teammates: Gift Zulu, Christian Mumba,Boyd Kapalamoto, Prin Phokan and Robert Choi.


NMMI Sports Press

The Bronco golf team will officially start their spring season at home Sunday with a tournament that’s anything but easy.

The second annual Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate will feature six teams, including the top three ranked junior college teams in the country.

“The No. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the country will be here, along with probably five or six of the top individual players in the country on those teams,” said head NMMI coach Andy Robertson. “Our guys have a lot of work to do, but it’ll be interesting because we too are on the rise. I’m really anxious to see what’s going on.”

NMMI has a six-player squad this year, led by five freshmen.

Aaron Troilo, a sophomore from Michigan who’ll follow his brother – a former NMMI cadet – to the Air Force Academy, is the only holdover.

Leading the pack of freshmen is Prin Phokan from Thailand, who qualified at No. 1. Swaziland native Gift Zulu moved from No. 4 in the fall to No. 2; while Boyd Kapalamoto, Zambia, is at No. 3; Chris Mumba, Zambia, No. 4; and Hawaiian Robert Choi at No. 5.

Mumba was a last minute addition to the team and Robertson was very pleased with NMMI Admissions team to bring the African to NMMI on very short notice.

“Everybody did a heck of a job really helping me out,” the coach said. “He’s here. He’s playing and so we’re very happy.”

And overall, Robertson said, the team has worked hard.

“We had to get used to college golf and what it was all about and we’ve done that,” he said. “Now, just through six rounds of qualifying, we are five shots better per round as a team than we were in the fall. So I’m hoping to see if that carries over to actual college competition and tournaments, because if it does, we might have to be reckoned with.”

“I think we have a strong five, and to get four scores out of those five I’m hoping that it’s very positive.”

The scores will need to be strong to compete with the teams coming to NMMI on Sunday.

No. 1-ranked McLennan Community College will be competing; Odessa College sits at No. 2 and won last year’s team title at the NJCAA National Championships; Midland College, another conference opponent, is currently ranked No. 3 nationally; New Mexico Junior College also plays in the WJCAC and holds the No. 12 slot in this week’s national poll; Garden City Community College from Kansas has received votes in the national poll and is ranked in the top 25.

Of these six teams playing, four belong to what Robertson said is hands-down the best conference in the country: the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.

“Our coaches do a great job of recruiting and it’s always strong competition. Such competition brings the best out of you so you can’t ask for anything more,” he said.

Historically, he said, a WJCAC team has been the national champion seven or eight years out of 10.

But the Wiginton won’t be the only chance for local fans to see the tough conference teams. After the golf course originally slated to host the conference championship had to back out, Robertson suggested the NMMI Golf Course and the other coaches agreed. So after more than a month on the road, the Broncos will be back home in late April for the WJCAC Championships.

Robertson said the NMMI course will be tough for everyone competing, with changes made for last year’s Wiginton Intercollegiate being kept for this year’s tournaments.

“In the past, junior college players came here and shot 62s and 63s and just tore this place up,” the coach said. “We wanted to make it more of a challenge, so we’ve put in 10 new tees and we have lengthened the course to 7,028 yards from 6,500”.

Holes 1 and 18, which are par 5s for the public, are now par 4s for the collegiate golfers, reducing par from 72 down to 70.

These changes will bring back the original course design to counter today’s big hitters and bring back into play the tree lines. The course won’t be as wide open as in the past and will require golfers to place a premium on keeping it in play more.

The course record from the new championship tees was set last year by an NMJC golfer, who shot a 3-under 67, but then came back with a 77 on his second round. That, the coach said, shows how tough the course is now.

“College golfers now have to compete hard,” Robertson said. “If you were to look on TV at the PGA, when they go to par 70 and it’s over 7,000, that’s pretty strong. It is a challenge but it’s a good challenge and we look forward to seeing how we stand up.”

And Sonny Wiginton would most likely be quite proud of the tough golf NMMI will be playing.

“Wiggs” as he was affectionately called by his friends and colleagues, led the Bronco golf program from 1989 until his retirement in 2002. In that time he produced 13 NJCAA All-Americans and took 15 teams to the national championships. About half or so of the thirteen went on to become pro golfers, including Norahito Sato, a ’90 All-American who played in the Masters and four times in the British Open; Gary Orr, an ’87 All-American who played in the British Open several times with a best 41st-place finish in 2000 and in the US Open with a 74th placing in 2001; Michael Krantz, an ’83 All-American who played in the Open; and David Tasker, who went on to Texas A&M and is a professional golfer.

“He was a heck of a recruiter from everywhere around the world,” Robertson said of Wiginton.

This Sunday’s tournament is a one-day, 36-hole affair that keeps the players on the course from the 8 a.m. shotgun start until early evening.

“These kids are constantly on the golf course. There is no after 18 come sit down, talk, have lunch. It’s just go,” Robertson said. “They’re eating as they’re walking – take a shot then eat some more.”

Players, coaches and fans will be able to eat from a hot dog wagon hosted by the pro shop, and fans are not only welcome to watch, they’re encouraged.

“The public is always invited to come and watch and you’ll see some outstanding golf. Good individuals; good kids who put forth their craft,” Robertson said. “We’re very proud of this tournament. I think it’s a good deal. We go 36 holes. Most tournaments are 54, but we go 36 on a Sunday so you can come in, get it done, leave on a Sunday and not miss any school.”

Standing in front of the list of NMMI’s All-American golfers, Bronco men’s head golf coach Andy Robertson holds up one of the individual trophies for the Second Annual Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate.

Broncos mull playoff possibilities after home win over Howard

Jordyn Owens dished off a pass early in the first half.


NMMI Sports Press

Atem Bior goes up for a reverse layup.

The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco basketball team moved one step closer on their quest to make the postseason playoffs Wednesday, downing Howard College at home, 76-74.

The pre-game started with problems playing the National Anthem, but the NMMI Corps pf Cadets — in full attendance at the mandatory game – saved the introductions by finishing the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner after the music cut out.

Once play began in the must-win conference game, freshman point guard Jordyn Owens then put on a show for the packed Cahoon Armory crowd. Owens drove to the hoop for baskets, making difficult contested shots against taller Howard players, and also lit it up from behind the arc to finish as the lead-scorer for the Broncos with 24 points, 18 of which were recorded in the first half.

“Jordyn Owens has come a long way and has grown up tremendously these past six or seven games,” said head Bronco coach Ralph Davis. “He gave us great energy and didn’t turn the basketball over.”

Davis Steelman plays tight defense in the second half against Howard.

NMMI rarely trailed in that opening stanza and built up an eight point lead before the ending buzzer thanks to two Owens 3s, along with another trey by freshman forward Jaylen Williams. They headed into the locker room up 46-38.

Howard College rallied to start the second half and took a one point lead, 54-53, after Hawk forward Jack Pagenkopf got an easy bucket in the paint with 13:49 remaining.

But that was the only time Howard had the upper hand on the scoreboard. NMMI came right back and made it 55-54 on a low-post shot by sophomore forward Atem Bior while frosh guard Matt Brown had the assist. This started a 7-0 Bronco run with a pair of free throws by Owens, followed by a clutch 3 by soph guard Davis Steelman.

Rosel Hurley guards a Howard College player in the first half.

NMMI tied their biggest lead of the game, that eight-point margin they held at the half, at the 4:04 mark. After a Howard bucket made it 68-64, Bior got another assist from Brown for the inside two, then after a defensive stop, was fouled and made both free throws, to put NMMI up 72-64.

NMMI staved off a last-ditch Hawk rally – five quick points in the final minute of play – but the win for the Broncos was never seriously in question.

In addition to Owen’s 24 points, NMMI had two other players in double figures – Bior with 17 and soph guard Rosel Hurley with 10. Frosh forward Jaylen Williams also added nine points with 3-for-6 shooting from behind the arc. Brown was the Bronc’s top rebounder with seven, including four on offense.

“It was a great atmosphere. I wish I could have played in this game,” said coach Davis. “No question that the cadets helped us get that win tonight. We knew we were certainly capable of winning this game and this was a must win to keep our conference tournament hopes alive.

“Special hat tip to Davis Steelman, our only two-year player,” continued Davis. “We have a tradition of moving along our freshman that are qualifiers so they can go to a four-year school. Steelman was a qualifier and top in his class and he decided to come back.”

With the win, NMMI moves to 18-11 overall and 8-7 in conference; Howard drops to 21-8 and 9-6.

NMMI still sits in fifth place in the WJCAC standings and they’ll need some help to make the Region V Postseason Tournament. The Institute needs to win their final game of the season – at Western Texas College on March 1. Also, after a Howard win last week over conference leader Odessa College, the Broncos are no longer able to surpass the Hawks for fourth place – even in the event of a tie in conference records, the Hawks would win the tiebreaker.

Thus, the Broncos need also Clarendon College to lose all three of their remaining conference games. While this seems like a bit of a long-shot, two of those games pit the Bulldogs against the top-two teams in the conference — at Odessa, and home vs. South Plains – with the third match being at home vs. Frank Philips College, currently in eight place in the WJCAC standings with a 4-10 mark.

But it is almost time for March Madness and those darkhorse teams we all love. And maybe, just maybe,  the NMMI cadets joining together to finish up a previously-failed playing of the National Anthem is exactly what is needed to spark the beginnings of such a Cinderella story.

Broncos still in postseason hunt with home win over Frank Phillips

A pair of Broncos contest a shot by a Frank Phillips player in the first half. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.


NMMI Sports Press

Matt Brown attempts to block a Frank Phillips players shot. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco basketball team kept their playoff hopes alive with a 78-69 win at home over conference opponent Frank Phillips College.

NMMI trailed the Plainsmen for all but the very beginning of the first half, allowing FPC to build as much as a nine-point lead with 5:34 left.

But the Broncs came storming back to close the gap to just two before the halftime buzzer. Freshman shooting guard Jaylen Williams began the rally with a trademark three from NBA range, sophomore wing Rosel Hurley then went inside for two back-to-back scores off the drive for four of his game-high 23 points, and sophomore University of Highlands transfer Atem Bior made it 36-34 after his post move and bucket in the paint.

In the second, after a mostly back-and-forth game in the first few minutes, the Plainsmen managed to move the margin back to five points in their favor as sophomore guard Knowledge Darby hit a trey from the corner with 13:32 left on the clock.

Rosel Hurley goes up for a contested layup. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

NMMI needed just two possessions to knot the score at 50: Bior hit a shot for two from the top of the key, got the rebound after a missed FPC three-point try, then freshman point guard Jordyn Owens connected from downtown.

The Broncos trailed just once more after that, but went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to amass an eight-point lead, 64-56, 4:05 remaining.

A final FPC rally cut that lead to one, 65-64, with 2:56 left to play, but scores by Hurley and the three-point play, the hard way, by Owens, put NMMI back solidly out front.

Down the final minute-and-a-half stretch, NMMI hit just enough of their free throws to keep a two-digit lead before running out the clock.

In addition to Hurley’s 23, NMMI had three more players with double-figures in points: Atem Bior had 17, along with 10 rebounds; Owens had 15, along with 5 assists; and Williams had 13, along with nine boards.

Jaylan Williams grabs one of his nine rebounds. Photo by Mirna Kovacevic.

“We started off very flat those first ten minutes,” said head Bronco basketball coach Ralph Davis. “But the good thing is, we got through it. In the second half, our guys came around; they battled and got crucial stop after crucial stop. We missed quite a few free throws down the stretch, but by that time the game was mostly well in hand.”

“We’ve got to win the next two,” continued coach Davis, “but we’re going to take it one game at a time – need to focus on our next game vs. Howard.”

With the win NMMI moves to 17-11 overall and evens up their 5th-place WJCAC record at 7-7.

Howard College is the team in fourth with an 8-5 conference mark – that’s the team NMMI needs to surpass in order to make it to the Region V Postseason tournament.

Howard comes to play NMMI on Thursday in what could be the deciding factor in who goes on to postseason play and who stays at home. Tip-off of that game is slated for 6:30 P.M. in NMMI’s Cahoon Armory gym. The NMMI Corps of Cadets will be in full attendance at the game and we encourage the Roswell community to come and help support our junior college Bronco basketball team.

Broncos split with Garden City

Angel Colon slides safe into home to tie Game 2 up at 5-5. Colon went 5 for 8 on Saturday and scored every time he got on base. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

NMMI Sports Press

NMMI shortstop Paulo Rodriguez completes the 4-6-3 double play in Game 1. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco baseball team split a pair of home games on Saturday versus Garden City Community College, 4-6 and 9-5.

In Game 1, Garden City started off the first inning with a monstrous two run home run that cleared the score board in right field.

The Broncbusters finished the inning with a 3-2 lead.

NMMI tied the game in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a single by Luiz Rivera Melendez on the first pitch of his at bat.

Ricky Roybal took the loss for the Institute. He gave up five runs, three which were earned and six hits in three innings pitched.

NMMI had seven hits in Game 1. Bobby Galindo went 3-3 and finished with three RBI’s.

Second baseman Tony Galindo makes the throw to first base on a ground out up the middle. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

“Game 1 was just a matter for not getting anything to fall in for a base hit, not getting timely hits, and some poor base running, which normally hasn’t been an issue all year,” said head coach Chris Cook. “GCCC’s a good team – there’s always tough to beat. Their starting pitching was tremendous – very good command. We just didn’t do a good enough job early on of getting into their bullpen. “

In Game 2, NMMI took a late lead and won 9-5 to split the series against Garden City.

”We saw some things this weekend where we did not play as good defensively or run the bases as well and we do usually, but we found a way to battle and split a series,” said Cook.

Despite being down 5-4 heading into the eighth inning, Angel Colon started the rally with a hard hit single to right field.

With the bases loaded, Garden City walked the tying run in to make the score 5-5.

Miguel Soto came in clutch and singled on a line drive to right field to give the Broncos a 7-5 lead.

With two outs, Cook put in pinch hitter Tony Galindo. Galindo did not disappoint, hitting a two run double and extending the Bronco lead 9-5.

NMMI’s Bobby Galindo had a huge offensive series vs. GCCC, hitting .600 (8 for 13) with four doubles, six RBIs and scoring two runs. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

Eric Estrada started the game for the Institute. He allowed five runs on nine hits over five and a half innings of work.

Angel Lebron DeJesus picked up the win for NMMI allowing one hit and no runs through two and two thirds innings.

“He pitched fantastic,” said Cook. “We brought him in to face the three lefties, and he was throwing so well we just let him roll with it until we got the lead, with Zack ready to go against their next two right-handed hitters.

Zack Gonzales came on in the top of the ninth with a three- up, three-down inning to give the Bronco’s the victory.

“Then Zack comes out with a four-run lead and pounds the strike zone against their best hitters and gets them out, 1,2, 3,” continued Cook. “I don’t think we did that the entire series. Nice job on Zack’s part – not a save situation, but still a great performance.”

Zach Gonzalez closed out Game 2 sitting down the top of the Broncbuster lineup in order: 1, 2, 3. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

Colon had a stellar day at the plate going 5 for 8 with three singles, two doubles and five runs scored.

Next weekend NMMI takes on Dodge City Community College Friday at the NMMI Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM.

“They are always a tough, physical team,” said Cook.” The series will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We found a way to win a series against them last year, but typically it’s a dogfight. They definitely swing the bats and they can pitch.”