The awards banquet for the 2014-15 junior college athletic programs here at NMMI was held this evening, April 27.
After a great dinner prepared by Sodexo for the 250+ attendees at this year’s banquet, first-year Athletic Director COL Jose Barron started off the ceremony with a brief introduction, focusing on the importance of teamwork, in any endeavor, not just in athletic competition.
NMMI’s Commandant of Cadets, BG Richard Geraci assisted in the welcoming remarks, asking our cadet-student-athletes to remember and heed the three words of the school motto “Duty”, “Honor”, and “Achievement”.
After a prayer given by BG Douglas Murray, NMMI’s Academic Dean, the head coaches took over the podium for their team’s awards presentations.
The complete list of this year’s awards, along with the recepients, can be found in the program linked below (in Adobe pdf format): 2015 Bronco Athletic Awards Banquet Program
Pictures of the banquet can be found on our Facebook site: http://goo.gl/DTHhNb
Congratulations to all of our junior college Bronco athletes!
NMMI Sports Press
Lady Bronco Mere Serea, a two-year volleyball athlete from Suva, Fiji, is headed across the U.S. to play for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks. Serea signed her letter of intent Thursday at NMMI, surrounded by coaches and teammates.
After tearing her ACL after the season, Serea said other schools were hesitant about signing her, but UMES “decided they’d make that leap of faith with me,” signing her to a full scholarship. The 6-3 sophomore didn’t visit the school, opting instead for a phone conversation with with head coach Toby Rens, who returned to the Hawks after a decade-long absence, during which time he coached several other teams to NCAA D1 postseason berths.
Serea said that was enough for her.
“I was really interested in the things the coach was telling me, and I decided to commit,” she said.
She also liked the fact she’ll be living near a relative, and that the school offered her a full scholarship and her major, business.
Bronco coach Shelby Forchtner likes the decision her senior made.
“She’s going to a really good school,” the coach said. “(Rens has) only been there for one year, so this will actually be his first official year to recruit, so the athletes who are coming in in this class are his kids, and I expect them to be a whole lot better.”
While the Hawks were 11-18 on the season, Rens led them to eight more victories than a year ago, and made them a contender in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Northern Division.
Forchtner said Rens also was intrigued with the crowds during NMMI’s mandatory games — when cadets are required to attend and create a raucous atmosphere in Cahoon Armory.
“They have a really big crowd of people who show up to their games, kind of similar to this,” she said. “He said he was watching the film and saw our mandatory games, and so he’s pretty excited about that, too.”
Serea brings 1,391 attacks with 633 kills, 48 solo blocks and 290 block assists over two years to her new team. She was also named as a 2014 NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention selection.
NMMI Sports Press
The Bronco baseball team swept conference foe Luna Community College Friday and Saturday, the first time in the NMMI team’s history they ever took four straight from a WJCAC opponent. In the process, the Institute set several school records, getting the most conference wins (13, with eight more games to go) and wins against junior colleges in a season. (The 20-22 record is not the best overall, but many years NMMI played four-year JV teams in non-conference play.) Coach Chris Cook also thinks the total number of wins by the starting pitchers are more than ever in school history.
“It’s awesome, because there’s never, ever an easy weekend, no matter how Day 1 goes or Day 2,” he said. “Every game’s different. We knew coming in Luna could hit. They have a good offense that’s really scrappy and they play hard.”
While Friday’s games were both easy mercy-rule victories (14-4 and 13-5, with Drew Spinnenweber and Kevin Piersol getting the wins), Saturday’s were down-to-the wire nail biters, 7-6 in both games, with the nightcap coming down to a walk-off sacrifice bunt by Game 1 pitcher Alex Howard.
“The key today was getting into their bullpen, and we didn’t do that,” Cook said. “We did that yesterday, got into their pen. We didn’t see their pen today until late innings. Credit to their pitchers, they didn’t walk us very much, especially Game 2, so it was tougher to manufacture runs. We did hit some balls hard, up into the wind and just didn’t get anything out of it. We kind of had to manufacture (runs.)”
The Broncos took an early 5-0 lead over the Roughriders in the second inning of the opener, getting six hits that started with a triple by Joe Galindo and ended with a Joe Inman double. The inning saw some controversy, as Luna coach Antonio Siqueiros argued vehemently that Inman had struck out on what the officials ruled was a foul ball. Siqueiros was tossed for his antics, and INman came back with the double on the next pitch.
But Luna starter Alexander Goodman bore down after that, holding NMMI to solo runs in the third and fourth.
NMMI starter Howard allowed runners on base through the first three innings, but only one one came in. In the fourth, however, the Roughriders scored four runs on four hits and a hit batter, closing to 5-6. The Broncos added an insurance run in the bottom of the stanza, and held that two-run edge until the sixth, when Kody Jones relieved Howard, getting two outs but loading the bases on three walks, a hit batter and an RBI single.
Ruger Rodriguez replaced Jones, getting out of the inning on two pitches, then setting Luna down 1-2-3 in the seventh to earn the save.
Offensively, Galindo led the Broncos, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Colby Brown was 2-for-3 with one run, and both Marion McLean and Inman were 2-for-4 with doubles, with Inman picking 2 RBIs and Galindo two runs.
Jones got the win, striking out five and walking none, while Alexander, who went the distance, got the loss.
Game 2 started out on a positive note for the Institute, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the first on three runs, including doubles by McLean and Galindo. But NMMI could only muster two more runs through the next eight innings, scoring one in the third when Chris Foster singled and came around to score; and one in the fourth, when Howard doubled and came home on a Foster single.
The Roughriders tied it in the third when they put up a three-spot against starter Anthony Martinez — a two-run homer by Anthony Acevedo the big blow — added one more in the sixth then tied it in the seventh on a two out, RBI double.
Neither team could add anything else through regulation, as Martinez — who went the full nine innings — allowed no further runs. A pair of Luna relievers shut the Broncos down, and after both teams put one runner on base but failed to score in the ninth, the game went into extra innings.
Chad Smith relieved Martinez in the 10th, putting the Roughriders up 6-5 on two hits and a walk. But in the bottom of the stanza, Brad Blackwell walked, advanced on a single by Brown and scored on an error, tying it at 6-6. A wild pitch put runners at second and third then McLean was intentionally walked, loading the bases and, with only one out, Howard hit a sacrifice fly that scored Brown and started the Bronco celebration.
“We did hit some balls hard, up into the wind and just didn’t get anything out of it,” Cook said. “We kind of had to manufacture (runs.) It’s the first time all year we’ve put up a slash/hit-and-run on, and we executed it and it put us in scoring position in that final inning. And we still had to battle; find a way to score. But still extremely proud of the guys.”
With the win coming in the 10th, Smith got the win and Martinez a no decision, which had to be somewhat bittersweet for the freshman, who struck out seven and walked none.
On offense, Foster was 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Welch and Howard were 2-for-5, with Howard scoring two runs and getting an RBI.
“We had several guys with significant RBI totals on the weekend,” Cook said. “We hit over .500 yesterday. We didn’t do that today, but still had our share of hits.”
The victories move the Broncos ahead of Luna in the WJCAC, with eight games remaining. Three teams — New Mexico Junior College, Howard and Odessa — have sewn up the top three post-season slots. But with road games remaining against Midland and Frank Phillips College — both of which only lead NMMI by a few games in the standings — the fourth-place slot is up for grabs.
“We’re not out of it,” Cook said. “We’re at a point now where we probably need some help from somebody else. But both the teams ahead of us are still on our schedule, so yes, we have some control of that. We’re going to try to take it one game at a time, just like the old cliche. Midland’s a tough team, and it’s going to be tough on the road, but at least we have a chance, and that’s all we can ask for this late in the season.”
By: Bradley Cordova-Montalvo From about the moment you hit the door coming into this school, you find yourself thinking “I just have to hold out until the next break” or “If I can make it to my next furlough, I’ll be okay”. You never stop thinking of that moment when you leave the school, and go home to your own bed, and your own clothes
NMMI Sports Press
The final scores in Friday’s WJCAC baseball doubleheader at NMMI were more reminiscent of football finales than America’s pastime, but despite falling twice to New Mexico Junior College — 25-10 and 16-12 — the Broncos led in each game and forced the nightcap into extra innings.
“We had a chance to win both games, against probably the best team in the league, and just weren’t able to close it out,” said Institute coach Chris Cook.
In the opener, after ace Drew Spinnenweber shut the Thunderbirds down in the top of the first, the Broncos opened their half of the stanza with a single by freshman Marion McLean and a first-pitch home run over the left-field fence by Chris Foster.
NMMI went on to score four runs in the stanza, then tied it at 7-7 in the bottom of the third and went up 10-7 in the fifth. The seven runs Spinnenweber allowed drove him from the mound in the fourth, and reliever Chad Smith did a good job through five, but he — and Bronco errors — allowed two runs in the sixth, and Kody Jones and Ruger Rodriguez gave up eight more runs in the sixth. Ragan Cole allowed an additional eight in the seventh, but to the pitchers’ credit, only eight of the 25 runs were earned, with seven errors adding to the loss.
The Institute batters were the highlight of both games. In the opener, every starter but Alex Howard — who made up for it in Game 2 — got a hit. Colby Brown was 3-for-3 with a double, 4 RBIs and one run scored; Winston Welch 1-for-1 with two runs and an RBI; and Joe Galindo 2-for-4 with two runs.
The bad news was they left seven runners on base, and the NMJC batters had 22 hits in the game, including six home runs — two by shortstop Branden Grieger — and a double.
“We hit better than we had the past three weeks,” Cook said. “We just didn’t pitch consistently. We left a few runners out there in scoring position that we didn’t drive in early in the game. And there were a few mistakes defensively, but it was a day that everybody was going to score runs. We just left a few too many runs out there early, and we paid the price late in the game. The pitchers didn’t get deep enough in the game, so the bullpen kind of got depleted, with the doubleheader tomorrow.”
Game 2 started out at a much faster pace. The first scoring came in the second when Howard hit a no-count shot over the left-field fence to make it 1-0 NMMI.
Bronco starter Kevin Piersol kept the T-Birds scoreless through 5-1/3 when NMJC went up 3-1. He got the first two batters in the sixth, but after walking a batter and hitting another, he was replaced by Jones, who allowed an RBI single.
NMMI just missed tying the game in the bottom of the stanza, but closed the gap to 4-3 when Galindo reached on a throwing error, went to second on a Howard single and scored on a second Thunderbird error.
NMJC came back big in the seventh, scoring five runs on two hits, including a three-run home run off reliever Devin Hubbard, and three more in the eighth, with a two-run dinger adding to the damage.
But the Broncos came back with six big runs in the bottom of the seventh to trail 9-8, then, after giving up three more runs in the top of the eighth, reliever Franky Silva shut the ’Birds down in the ninth, and the Institute had a big bottom of the inning. They scored four runs on two hits, two walks and two errors, but couldn’t manage the one more run that would have ended the game.
The Thunderbirds then came back with four in the top of the 10th, and after three quick outs in the bottom of the inning, got the second-game victory.
NMMI added 15 more hits in Game 2. McLean, Preston Inman and Howard were each 3-for-6, with McLean getting a triple, 3 RBI and two runs; Inman one run and Howard two runs and an RBI. Colby was 2-for-5 with one run and two RBI. Defensively, NMMI made only one error in Game 2.
“The guys put a lot of work in trying to get their approaches back, and got some swings in, so we had a pretty good offensive showing today against a team that hasn’t been hit that well all year,” Cook said. “Like I said, they’re probably the best team in the league. So I’m not disappointed in how many runs the guys scored and how the guys are swinging it. We’ve got to find a way to minimize innings better on the mound and defensively,and we’ve got to make sure we score every run we can. We left a couple of runs out there.”
The Broncos travel to Hobbs Saturday, where, Cook said, they’ll do the best with the pitching they’ve got left.
“We’ll wake up in the morning and figure it out,” he said. “I think Alex Howard’s going to start the first game of the double header, and we’ll see what’s left for Game 4. We’ll try to do everything we can to win Game 1 tomorrow and we’ll see what happens Game 2.”