Category Archives: Bronco Baseball

Cook taps Van Buren as new Bronco baseball assistant

NMMI Sports Press

Assistant Coach Jermaine Van Buren

New Mexico Military Institute Head Coach Chris Cook has announced that Jermaine Van Buren will be the new Pitching Coach on staff. Van Buren comes to NMMI with over 12 years in professional baseball, two years in the Major LB. For the past seven years he has been building one the top select baseball programs in Amarillo, Texas, helping to send over 200 kids to college while building relationships with coaches and other organizations along the way. Van Buren comes to New Mexico Military Institute with many years of baseball knowledge with exceptional mentors that have helped him gain ground in the game.

“I’m excited to announce the hiring of Jermaine Van Buren as our new Pitching Coach and Recruiting Coordinator,” said coach Cook. “As a head coach I’m not just looking to bring coaches on staff to improve the players – I want people that will also help me become a better coach. I said that to my team when introducing coach Van Buren in our first team meeting of the year, and I stand by that today. Coach Van Buren will be a tremendous asset to this program with his experience, energy, recruiting connections, and his overall positive attitude and love of the game. Although he will rarely mention his own personal accolades and baseball accomplishments, it’s no secret that he has an impressive baseball background. That background combined with his high passion for the game, and desire to develop players, will amplify our program. We are lucky to have him in our program and I look forward to working with him here at NMMI”.

Jermaine Van Buren has been married to Tiffany Van Buren for 11 years; they have four kids total, Jermaine 19, Jaiden 16, Lara 9, and Karis who is almost 1 year old. His family resides in Amarillo, TX where they have called home for the past seven years.

In high school, Van Buren played for the Hattiesburg High School Tigers (Miss). His senior season they were ranked the #10 high school team in the nation and won the Mississippi Class 5A State Championship title. Jermaine was named Gatorade Mississippi Player of the Year, breaking a school record with a .86 ERA, 13 wins, and 162 strikeouts.

After graduating high school, Van Buren was picked in the 2nd round of 98’ draft by the Colorado Rockies.  While playing for the Arizona Rockies, Van Buren won the Arizona League’s Triple Crown award and also helped them win a league championship.

In 2004-2005, he led the league in saves while pitching for the AAA Iowa Cubs. In 2007, he recorded the last out to win the Pacific Coast League’s AAA championship with the Sacramento River Cats. He was named to All-Star teams in 1998, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2009.

Van Buren had two brief stints in the Major League: his first call up being with the Chicago Cubs in 2005 and again in 2006 with the Boston Red Sox. During the 2006 season, while pitching in the old Yankee Stadium and floating between MLB Boston and AAA Pawtucket, Van Buren led the AAA affiliate in saves.

Van Buren has also experienced many different cultures during his professional career – logging playing time in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan. In 2008 he was the saves leader for Taiwan’s La New Bears team in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, earning Closer of the Year honors and a new nickname: ‘ The Big Bear.’

“I am humbled to have the opportunity to continue my coaching career and teach the game of baseball to kids that have the heart and fight to go out and win each day,” said Coach Van Buren. “I am grateful for the opportunity from Coach Cook and excited to help put my stamp on a program that is pushing the excellence envelope each day. I would just like to see each kid get what he wants out of the program and see them excel in life.”

Two Colts commit to play baseball for Broncos

Surrounded by family, friends, coaches, and teammates, Colt seniors Michel Hinojos and Jake Guerrero (seated left and right) commit to stay at NMMI and play for the Bronco baseball team next season.


Jake Guerrero

NMMI Sports Press

Bronco baseball coach Chris Cook didn’t have to look far to pick up two players for next year’s team, and he hopes it’s a trend that will continue in the future.

Just before they headed off to the high school state tournament, Colts Michel Hinojos and Jake Guerrero committed to play for the college squad, continuing their history with NMMI.

“It’s exciting,” Cook said. “They’re getting ready for state so obviously they’re good players on a good team. They’re well coached and guys who know what NMMI’s about. They’re familiar with our program and how we do things, and having guys who have the ability to play at our level and stay here at school is a big plus, so we’re excited about getting these two guys in.”

Michel Hinojos

Both players see staying at NMMI as a way to further their goals of eventually playing for bigger schools.

“I’m just trying to get to the next step and I felt like this would open options to other colleges after I leave here,” Guerrero, who’ll study sports management, said.

“I came back to play baseball, have a better education, do my best at academics and try to play DI, DII.” echoed Hinojos, who’s looking at a career as a civil engineer.

Guerrero, a Roswell native, played for the Colts as a freshman on the varsity team. Hinojos, who hails from Sonora, Mexico, started as a sophomore. They’ll be following in the footsteps of former Colt Francisco Galvez, who played for this year’s Bronco baseball team, and Cook hopes that’s something that will continue.

Catcher Jake Guerrero dives to try and make the play on a foul pop-up behind home plate – game vs. Portales on Apr. 21, 2017.

“Hopefully in the future we can grab more Colt players, and just keep this streak kind of going,” he said. “We’re excited about it and look forward to them and working with these guys.”

Hinojos pitched and played infield for the Colts. He batted .489 as a senior and was 7-4 on the bump. Cook is looking forward to seeing him hit.

“I really like the left-handed bat that he has,” the coach said. “I’d like to see him match up against college pitching on a daily basis and see what kind of power can develop out of his swing.”

Michel Hinojos with an RBI ground-rule double in the Colts’ State quarterfinal game vs. Hope on May 17, 2017.

Guerrero was a .461 hitter with a 2-2 record on the mound in 2017, and Cook sees him as getting a chance to try a little bit of everything with the Broncos.

“Jake is kind of an interesting utility guy who has a big frame and I’d like to see him get in our weight room and see how much weight we can put on him,” he said. “Positionally, it’s hard to say because I know he’s caught, he’s played first, he’s pitched. We’re going to get him doing multiple positions next fall and really try to get him to put some meat on those bones and start getting him to drive the baseball. I think where he’s going to be 12 months from now, that’s what’s exciting.”

Colt coach Charlie Ward had nothing but praise for his senior players.

Jake Guerrero rounds second on his 2-RBI triple in the third – game vs. Goddard JV, Mar 17, 2017.

“What an honor to coach Michel Hinojos for three years; Jake Guerrero for four years,” he said. “True leaders. True captains of the baseball team. Team players. Very competitive. They’ve worked hard for this team. They love the game of baseball and they understand playing at the next level is going to take a lot of hard work, but we’ve enjoyed it as coaches.”

And Kim Guerrero, Jakes’s mother, was happy for her offspring.

“Both dad and I are very proud of Jake,” she said. “This has always been a goal of his, to play at the next level, and he’s worked hard and sacrificed a lot. So we’re very, very proud and excited that he’s going to play for coach Cook and the Broncos. Coach Cook has a great program and more than anything else, we’ll get to continue to watch him because we live in Roswell.”

Michel Hinojos comes up to play a slow roller down the third base line – game vs. Loving, Mar. 28, 2017. Photo courtesy A.J. Roe

Ward said the pair know what it will take to succeed at the next level.

“It’s hard work. It’s almost like a job,” he said. “It’s a business-type mentality but we’re just proud of them that they want to play at the next level. We’re very honored to be a part of their lives, these past three or four years.”

And while the players thanked their parents, coaches and teammates for helping them advance, Kim Guerrero gave her son all the credit.

“He loves playing baseball. He just has a joy when he plays,” she said. “It’s just so much fun. I didn’t even have to play my mommy card. He made this decision all on his own. And we especially want to thank coach Ward and especially coach Rogers. They’ve been such a positive influence on Jake.”

Bronco bats come alive against Luna CC

Jordan Williams hits a hard ground ball against Luna CC.  He ended up with fours hits in the doubleheader, including a three-run homerun and five RBIs.

Jordan Williams hits a hard ground ball against Luna CC. He ended up with fours hits in the doubleheader, including a three-run homerun and five RBIs.

NMMI Sports Press 
Tanner Hightower-Wilson

Luiz Rivera attempts to advance to second base.

Luiz Rivera attempts to advance to second base.

The Broncos started the weekend off right, taking both ends of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader verses Luna Community College, beating the Roughriders 9-3 in the Game 2 and surviving for a 12-10 win in Game 2.

Both Luna and NMMI started off quick in Game 1, scoring two runs in the first inning and then the offensive production came to a halt.

Parker Bateman attempts a pitch in the first game of the doubleheader.

Parker Bateman attempts a pitch in the first game of the doubleheader.

Neither team managed to score again until the fifth inning, when Luna took a one run lead thanks to an Othon De La Cruz single that scored Rafael Marquez. The Broncos stopped the Roughrider rally by turning a double play to gain the momentum and end the inning.

The bottom half of the sixth inning was when the Broncos had an offensive explosion. It all started with double from Bobby Galindo, who eventually scored on a line drive from Kirby Pimentel. Four additional Bronco hits followed as well as 6 more runs, which put the game out of reach.

Onix Vega prepares to throw down to first.

Onix Vega prepares to throw down to first.

On the mound, Parker Bateman pitched six innings and collected his fifth win of the season. He gave up three runs, two which were earned, and five hits, while striking out four. Dustin Renfroe closed out the game allowing no runs or hits.

In Game 2, the Broncos survived a late inning scare from the Roughriders. NMMI was up 10-0 after three innings and watched that lead slowly disappear in the later innings. At the end of the top of the six, Luna was down by just one run, 11-10, capped by a six-run sixth.

Alex Pimentel patiently waits for the perfect pitch to hit.

Alex Pimentel patiently waits for the perfect pitch to hit.

NMMI managed an insurance run in the top of the seventh after Galindo led off with a single and came in to score on a sac bunt by Grady Frost, an ensuing error, and a sac fly to center field by Jordan Williams.

It was not needed however, as Cub Turcotte picked up his second save of the season by setting down Luna without a hit in the top of the ninth.

Matt Marquez was the Game 2 winner – his fifth win of the season. He went five innings allowing eight runs, but only three were earned.

Turcotte finished with the final four innings allowing two runs, both earned, and one strikeout.

In the doubleheader, big bats for the Broncos were Williams – 3-6 with a homerun and five RBIs; Rivera, 4-9 and three RBIs; and Galindo – 5-7 with two RBIs.

“We got both wins, so we’ve got to feel good about that,” said head Bronco coach Chris Cook, but added that they’ve got to find a way shorten games where they are ahead by large margins, like they were in Game 2.

Cook was also pleased with how his team played at the plate. “I like how we swung the bats, especially in Game 2. I really liked our approach against their left-handed pitcher who’s thrown well against some guys.”

With the wins, NMMI moves to 18-16 overall and 5-9 in conference.

The Broncs and Roughriders will play another pair on Sunday, April 2 – first pitch in Game 1 scheduled for 12 p.m.

Broncos Complete Weekend Series Sweep

Zach Gonzales picked up his second win of the season by striking out seven and allowing just one hit in a run-rule shortened complete game shutout. Photo by Laura Brown

Zach Gonzales picked up his second win of the season by striking out seven and allowing just one hit in a run-rule shortened complete game shutout. Photo by Laura Brown


Jordan Williams tagged out at the plate after trying to come home on a wild pitch. Photo by Laura Brown

Jordan Williams tagged out at the plate after trying to come home on a wild pitch. Photo by Laura Brown

The NMMI Bronco baseball team ran its record to 13-7 after sweeping the Hesston College Larks in a Sunday afternoon doubleheader, taking game one 10-0 and battling out a back and forth nine-inning affair 13-9.

Zach Gonzales took the mound in the opener in dominating fashion as he only faced one batter more than the minimum over the six innings. Gonzales only allowed a double to the second batter he faced and then proceed to mow down the Larks’ anemic offense. He finished with seven strikeouts and walked no one.

Catcher Angel Colon gets the out at first after a sacrifice bunt. Photo by Laura Brown

Catcher Angel Colon gets the out at first after a sacrifice bunt. Photo by Laura Brown

The Bronco offense tallied a run in the first off of a double by Luis Rivera, moved over to third on a groundout and scored on a passed ball by the Hesston catcher. That was all the cushion Gonzales needed but NMMI tacked on another two in the third stanza when Rivera again doubled and scored on Jordan Williams RBI single. Williams moved to second on McCoy Pearce’s infield single and scored on Kirby Pimentel’s single to put the Broncos up 3-0 after three.

Grady Frost slides safe into third after an RBI walk-off triple in Sunday's first game against Hesston. Photo by Laura Brown

Grady Frost slides safe into third after an RBI walk-off triple in Sunday’s first game against Hesston. Photo by Laura Brown

In the fourth, the Broncos’ bats exploded with a 6-run inning when they sent eleven batters to the plate. Jairus Hampton started things off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, stole third and came home on Rivera’s third hit of the game. Bobby Galindo followed with a single and teamed with Rivera for a double steal putting runners at second and third for Pearce who delivered with a 2-RBI single. Pimentel knocked in Pearce with a RBI-double, effectively knocking the Lark starter out of the game.

Between innings, NMMI shortstop Kirby Pimentel takes a throw to second by catcher Angel Colon. Photo by Laura Brown

Between innings, NMMI shortstop Kirby Pimentel takes a throw to second by catcher Angel Colon. Photo by Laura Brown

Cub Turcotte kept the hit parade going against the fresh pitcher, plating Pimentel with a single. Turcotte would later score on a two-base throwing error by the Hesston third-baseman off of Artesia alum Grady Frost’s grounder, increasing the Bronco lead to 9-0 after the fourth.

The Broncos would wrap up the 10-run rule in the 6th inning when Turcotte got on base by being hit by a pitch and then scored on Frost’s walk-off triple.

Rivera led the way with three hits in the game, while Pearce, Pimentel, and Turcotte all had two hits apiece.

Game two saw the Hesston bats come alive as they matched their run output for the first three games in just the first three innings. The Larks put up a run in the 2nd only to have the Broncos answer with two runs in their bottom half. Hesston tied it up in the top of the third 2-2 only to have Dustin Renfroe double in the bottom of the inning and get knocked in by Frost for NMMI to regain the lead at 3-2.

Undaunted, the Larks would put together their best inning of the weekend and tally three runs to take a 5-3 lead where things would remain until the Broncos would come up with a crooked number in the sixth with three runs and then top that with a better seven inning with five more runs.

In that game changing sixth, Frost lead off with a walk, Taos alum Adam Abeyta followed with a double and both were scored on a bases-clearing triple by Jose Velasco. Gadsden grad Jacob Hernandez would plate Velasco with a sac-fly to centerfield to give the Broncos a 6-5 lead. Hesston would answer back in the 7th with a couple more runs to retake the lead at 7-6.

NMMI wasn’t about to let the series sweep get away as Renfroe led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple to the right-field corner, then after a walk to Michael Salcedo and Frost getting plunked for the second time in the game, Abeyta came up big with a bases-clearing triple to give the Broncos a lead they would not relinquish. Velasco followed with a RBI single plating Abeyta. Tony Galindo coaxed a walk but Abeyta got picked off of second base. Hernandez then walked to set up Angel Colon with a runner in scoring position. He answered the call with a RBI-single scoring Galindo to put the Broncos up 11-7.

The Institute added two more runs in the eighth when Renfroe again led off with a single, Salcedo followed with a double and both scored on Abeyta’s double, which gave him his fourth and fifth RBIs of the game.

Hesston would scratch out another run in the top of the ninth when Turcotte came on in relief. The red-shirt freshman recorded backward Ks on the first two Lark batters, then lost command giving up a pair of walks and then an RBI single to round out the scoring at 13-9.

Goddard alum Ricky Roybal would pick up the win with his relief appearance over the 7th and 8th innings, giving up just one unearned run and a pair of hits.

The weekend sweep moves the Broncos’ record to 13-7 on the year as they move into their conference portion of the schedule with a weekend home series vs. El Paso CC, doubleheaders on both Friday and Saturday, beginning at 3 pm and 12 pm, respectively.

Cook ties win record as Broncos take DH vs. Hesston

The NMMI Bronco baseball team rode their starting pitcher’s back to back complete game performances to sweep the Hesston College Larks out of Hesston, Kansas in Saturday’s doubleheader by the tune of 6-1 and 9-1.

First game starter Parker Bateman went the full seven innings allowing the one earned run on 5 hits while striking out 7 Lark batters and surrendering but two bases on balls with both in the same inning. The only time Bateman faced a man in scoring position was in the top of the 7th inning when he allowed a lead-off triple and then gave up an RBI single two batters later.

Bateman was supported from his offensive teammates led by 3-4 performances by Onix Vega and McCoy Pearce. Vega had a triple and two runs scored while Pearce hit his first homer of the day leading off the 4th inning and later in the 6th had an RBI single to knock in Vega with the last run of the game for the Broncos.

Angel Colon contributed a multi-hit game with a 2-4 performance with a triple to get things going in the 6th when NMMI scored three runs to seal the game. Bobby Galindo scored a run and had a 6th inning RBI while Luis Rivera had the other RBI for the Broncos in the 6th inning. Jordan Williams plated Vega after his triple with an RBI single in the 5th inning.

The second game was supposed to be a 9-inning affair but the Broncos were able to get a shortened win with the 8-run cushion after 7 rule. Once again they relied on their starting pitcher to go the distance as Matthew Marquez scattered six hits, struck out five Larks and only had one walk. Marquez only gave up a run when he gave up back to back extra base hits to lead off the 3rd inning with a double and triple. He calmed down after that and only gave up two hits the rest of the way.

At the plate, the Broncos came up with 11 hits as a team as they felt a power surge with two homers, a triple and two doubles. Leading the charge with multi-hit games were Colon, Rivera, Pearce and Cub Turcotte, all with two apiece. NMMI did all of their damage in the 2nd and in the 6th innings with all of their runs being scored in just the two rallies.

Pearce once again went deep with a lead-off homer in the 2nd inning that sparked the Broncos to a 5-run inning that they used to cruise to the victory. Colon added a dinger in the 6th inning in the big 4-run frenzy to sew the game up. Pearce had three RBI’s on the contest while Colon added two. Rivera, Galindo, Turcotte and Jesse Watson knocked in a run each. Colon also had a double as did Turcotte and Rivera sped to a triple in the 6th inning.

Broncos improved to 11-7 with the two wins while Hesston fell to 8-14 on the year. NMMI and Hesston will be back in action again with a Sunday doubleheader on slate for a noon start. With the wins, head coach Chris Cook became the co-leader in career victories at NMMI, picking up his 105th win in the second game.