Category Archives: Bronco Baseball

Former Bronco Pimentel becomes second NCBWA All-American in program history


Pimentel’s All-American status comes following a clean sweep of the NCAA Central Region honors where he was a First Team All-Region selection by three different outlets including the Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA), American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) and the NCBWA.

Prior to the all-region accolades, he was previously named the Great American Conference Newcomer of the Year and a First Team All-GAC selection after leading the conference in batting average (.411) and hits (78) while ranking second in total bases (127). He was also selected to the All-GAC Tournament Team after hitting .571 (8-for-14) at the tournament with two doubles, three home runs and six runs batted in during three games played by the Bulldogs in the event. For the season, Pimentel led the Bulldogs in hits, batting average, doubles, RBI, slugging and on-base percentage while ranking second on the squad in home runs.

“I couldn’t be happier for Alex,” Head Coach Zack Saunders said. “He has earned every bit of his success and is a product of what happens when you truly work for something. His competitiveness and work ethic are as good as any player I have coached. We couldn’t be more proud to watch him get what he deserves.”

This is the first time Saunders has had a player receive All-American recognition during his head coaching tenure, dating back to 2012. Prior to Thursday, Michael Felton (2010) was the lone All-American on the list when he was named a third team selection by the NCBWA during SWOSU’s time competing in the Lone Star Conference.

Pimentel ended the year ranked sixth in batting average and tied for fifth in total hits on SWOSU’s single-season Top-10 list and is set to return to SWOSU next season for his senior year, where he will look to continue to leave his mark on the Bulldog Baseball program.

“Congratulations to Kirby on the tremendous season and the long list of accolades that have been awarded to him after his Junior year,” said head Bronco coach Chris Cook. “Its been noted numerous times in his press clippings over the past month how hard of a worker he is, and while that is without a doubt true, the thing that stands out the most to me is just how good of a person and teammate he was here at NMMI and continues to be there at SWOSU. He has the “make-up” us coaches are always looking for in college level athletes. He is an excellent leader and I feel great that he will get to nurture and guide the newest Bronco Baseball players next year at SWOSU (Angel Colon & Luis Rivera). I feel blessed to have had an opportunity to Coach him here at the Institute and I look forward to seeing what he will accomplish down the road.”

Five hard-ballers headed to higher-level play

Left to right: Bobby Galindo, Luis Rivera, Parker Bateman, Dominic Lomelli and Matt Marquez.

NMMI Sports Press

A quintet of Bronco baseball players have signed to move on to the next level, and these five are expected to be the first of many this year to extend their playing careers.

“It’ a good start to the signing period for our sophomore class,” said head coach Chris Cook. “We’re expecting to have a handful of more guys have opportunities coming up here. Some are in the works. Some are just getting started. But all of these guys put in a lot of work and all of them did what they needed to do academically and on the field to give themselves opportunities to continue playing.”

The five signees include third-baseman Luis Rivera, a Puerto Rico native who’ll attend Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford, Okla.; Albuquerque’s Matt Marquez and Dexter’s Dominic Lomelli, pitchers who’ll both be going to Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo.; catcher/first baseman Bobby Galindo of El Paso, who’s headed to West Texas A&M; and pitcher Parker Bateman out of Weatherford, Texas, who’s heading to Washburn University in Topeka, Kans.

Each of the schools compete at the NCAA DII level, and Cook thinks the signees will all have a chance to contribute almost from the start.

“The neat thing about this group right now is I think they’re going to go in and make an immediate impact, and that’s what you want as a sophomore, especially guys who are used to playing for two years,” he said. “You want to go someplace where you’ve got a chance to earn playing time early, and I expect all five of these guys to contribute at their new programs.”

So what made the players choose their respective schools? Obviously, most had good scholarship offers, but the reasons varied from there. Former Bronco Alex Pimental plays for the Bulldogs, so that was a big plus in Rivera heading to Oklahoma.

“He helped me to get there,” the sophomore said of his former teammate. And when he’s not on the field in the Great American Conference, Rivera will be studying accounting.

Both Marquez and Lomelli were impressed by the campus in Alamosa, while Marquez likes the idea it’s close to home and Lomelli liked the coaches there. The Dexter grad said the Grizzlies are in a rebuilding season, and is looking forward to helping the team improve.

Adams State plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, and Marquez will study marketing while Lomeli will be a teacher-in-training in the K-12 education program.

Galindo had a number of reasons he chose the Lone Star Conference school.

“They’re really a good school. Good program,” he said.

Like Rivera, Galindo knows someone in the Buffalo program.

“I have a buddy up there,” he said.”I played with him in high school. He told me so much about it. He also influenced me a little bit as we were growing up.”

And he likes the fact that Canyon, Texas, is close to home, so family and friends can watch him play and he can relax with friends.

Bateman also has detailed reasons for choosing his school. He’s already been accepted into flight school, and will be in the Air Force ROTC program with the eventual goal of being a pilot.

“They’re one of the few schools that would allow me to both play baseball and do the ROTC program, so that kind of narrowed it down,” he said. “It seemed like a good fit.”

Bateman said the Ichabods —yes, Ichabods, look it up — also spend a lot of money on the baseball program, which was another plus.

Another thing all five signees have in common is appreciation for what NMMI taught them.

“NMMI’s helped me out a lot,” Marquez said. “It’s helped me not only in baseball but it’s helped me in life. It’s helped me get through certain challenges and helped me become more confident in myself.”

“It’s helped me mature a lot, because if I’d had to do this straight out of high school, I don’t think I would have been able to,” Lomeli said.

Rivera said the Institute helped prepare him for the next level as well, while Bateman liked the focus the school helped him achieve.

“Time management. Discipline,” he said. “I’ve always been a driven person, but coming to NMMI has helped me focus my drive and everything like that.”

And Galindo, who’ll be studying criminal justice at his new school, had praise for both teachers and students.

“Major [Stephan] Kaftan is a good teacher here. Good teacher. Good criminal justice professor,” he said. “He sent me on the right path and helped me out a lot with my career. The school just brought me together with the Bronco family here. I’m going to really miss these guys. These guys mean a lot to me, especially the guys from last year. They helped me out a lot. Showed me the ropes and whatnot. Now it’s my turn to show these freshmen the ropes and hopefully they’ll leave a legacy.”

And while Cook is certain these five won’t be the only signees this spring — “It’ll be a relatively large group of guys moving on to play at different levels,” he said — he’ll be looking to see what legacy they create in the future.

“So proud of these guys and the work they’ve put in and we’ll keep track of them as their careers get started next fall.”

Broncos split with Plainsmen

Miko Soto winds up and throws to first to complete a double play. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

NMMI Sports Press

Luis Rivera makes a throw to first in the first game of the doubleheader versus FPC. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

The Bronco baseball team started off their home four-game WJCAC series versus Frank Phillips College with a split on Saturday, dropping Game 1, 5-2, then winning an extended Game 2,  6-5, on a walk off single in the bottom of the eleventh.

FPC started off the first game by scoring a single run off a single hit in the top of the first. NMMI responded with an Angel Colon single and a Miguel Soto double, which scored Colon from first. Adam Abeyta then doubled on a line drive to left center field and Soto coming home to score. NMMI led 2-1 in the bottom of the first.

Over the next three innings the Plainsmen and Broncos had runners on base, but were unable to get the key hit needed to bring the runners home.

That slim 2-1 NMMI led disappeared when the Plainsmen tallied several hits in the top of the fifth, plating three runs, giving the Plainsmen a 3-2 lead.

The Broncos were unable to respond in the bottom half, and FPC added an insurance run in the top of the seventh.

Eric Estrada took the loss for Broncos. He surrendered four runs on seven hits over five innings, striking out two.

In Game 2, Frank Phillips again started off the scoring thanks to a leadoff hit by pitch and a throwing error, resulting in one Plainsmen run.

Bronco players congratulate Adrian Arpero after his homerun. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

They added two more runs in the top of the second to extend their lead 3-0, before the Broncos were able to counter. A two run home run to right field by Colon in the bottom of the third did just that, making it 3-2 heading into the top of the fourth.

NMMI tied things up after a leadoff home run by Adrian Arpero in the bottom of the fifth and had a chance to go ahead with runners on first and second and only one out, but were unable to get the crucial hit needed to take the lead.

In the top of the sixth, a leadoff walk followed by a triple to right center field, again gave FPC a one-run lead.

Neither team would plate another run until the Broncs knotted it again in the bottom of the ninth, set up by a walk and a then successful steal by pinch runner Gabriel Torres. Miko Soto then doubled on a hard hit ball to center scoring Torres from second and taking the game into extra innings.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, FPC was able to add a run in the top of the 10th inning making the score 5-4.

NMMI had one out in the bottom part of the stanza before Luis Rivera tripled on a line drive to center field and Justin Lawrence tied the game 5-5 with a single to shallow left center field. Nicholas Palomino was replaced to run for Lawrence and appear to successfully steal second base, putting the winning run in scoring position, but a batter interference call and strikeout ended the inning.

A scoreless top of the 11th gave NMMI some momentum heading into hit.

Parker Bateman throws a pitch in the second game of the doubleheader. Photo by Rene Aguilar.

NMMI was down to their last strike, but Colon was tough with two, managing to draw the base on balls.  Soto then singled, and veteran sophomore Bobby Galindo came up with a clutch single to right field to score Colon and give the Broncos a 6-5 win.

NMMI used four pitchers in the Game 2. Parker Bateman started the game lasting seven innings, giving up six hits, four runs and striking out two. Angel Lebron DeJesus threw two innings striking out two and surrendering zero runs. Jeremy Griffith threw one third innings and surrendered one run. Dominic Lomelli came on and pitched the final one a two thirds innings and did not surrender a hit in getting the win.

Both teams will square off again tomorrow at the NMMI Ballpark beginning at 12 P.M. with another pair of games to complete a four-game series.

NMJC takes two from NMMI

Cedric Reynaud frames a pitch against NMJC on Saturday.

NMMI Sports Press

The Bronco baseball team finished off their four-game Western Junior College Athletic Conference series versus New Mexico Junior College with a pair of losses on Saturday, dropping Game 1 by a score of 2-0 and Game 2, 13-7.


Paulo Rodriguez throws a T-Bird runner our at first in Game 1.

In the opener, NMMI’s Gerry Lerma Jr. and NMJC’s Carlos Ortiz battled back and forth in a scoreless pitcher’s duel, but a late two-run homerun in the top of the 7th inning by the T-Birds gave visiting NMJC the win.

Carlos Ortiz was the winning pitcher for NMJC. He surrendered zero runs on six hits over seven innings, striking out nine.

Lerma Jr. took the loss for the Broncos. He lasted seven innings, allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out four and didn’t surrender a walk.

The Broncos scattered six hits in the game. Angel Colon Aviles and Miguel Soto all collected multiple hits for the Institute.

Game 2 started off very different for the Broncos.

Zack Gonzalez watches his pitch cross the plate in Game 2 against NMJC.

Colon began the bottom of the 1st with a single on hard hit ball to center field and the next batter, Miguel Soto, was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.

Bobby Galindo then connected on a pitch that cleared the Desert Sun sponsored scoreboard in right field to give NMMI a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the second.

The next inning, after again holding NMJC without a run, Colon doubled on a line drive to center scoring Estevan De La O and Palo Rodriguez – who both walked – making the score 5-0 at the end of the second inning.

After a scoreless third, the T-Birds responded with two runs on two hits in the top of the fourth bringing the score to 5-2.

NMMI immediately answered with two runs in the bottom half. Galindo singled, which scored Colon and Adam Abeyta hit an RBI double, scoring Galindo.

The Institute held that lead, 7-2, heading into the top of the fifth.

Gerry Lerma Jr. prepares to throw a pitch against NMJC in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, the T-Birds bats came alive. NMJC scored 11 runs in the last four innings, including a seven-spot in the top of the seventh, allowing the T-Birds the victory.

Up next for NMMI is WJCAC opponent Howard College. This two-day series will be held at Howard College on the 13th and 14th of April. Start times for both days’ doubleheaders are scheduled for 12 pm.

NMMI loses a pair to NMJC on the road

Eric Estrada throws a pitch against the NMJC Friday afternoon in Hobbs, NM.

NMMI Sports Press

The Bronco baseball team started off their four-game Western Junior College Athletic Conference series versus NMJC with a doubleheader on Friday in Hobbs, NM, losing both games by a score of 8-4 and 9-6.

We had some mistakes on stuff we practice a lot and that can’t happen,” said Head coach Chris Cook. “Both games were not very clean offensively, defensively or on the mound.”

NMMI started off the scoring in the top of the first inning when Estevan De La O doubled on a line drive to center field, scoring Miguel Soto giving the Broncos a 1-0 lead.

In the top of the third, Palo Rodriguez led off the inning with a single to center.

With Bronco runners on first, second and third, Luiz Rivera Melendez singled on a ball hit to third base, scoring Rodriguez. The NMJC added a run in the bottom of the inning giving NMMI a 2-1 lead at the end of the third.

Unfortunately for the Institute, the Thunderbirds scored a combined seven runs in the fourth, fifth and six innings giving NMJC Game One of the four-game series.

Eric Estrada took the loss for Broncos. He allowed seven hits and five runs over five innings, striking out six and walking one.

Bobby Galindo led the Institute with two hits in Game One.

The NMJC got off to a fast start it the first two innings of Game 2 scoring two runs in the top of the first and adding one in the bottom of the second to give the Thunderbirds a 3-0 lead heading into the third.

Despite getting two quick outs, NMMI exploded for five runs in the top of the third.

Angel Colon Aviles started the two-out rally with a single on a line drive to right field.

Next at the plate was Miguel Soto. Soto singled to right field and advanced Colon to second.

With the bases loaded with Broncos, Rivera Melendez was hit by a pitch and Colon scored, giving the T-Birds a 3-1 led with the bases still loaded.

Adam Abetya then doubled on a hard ground ball to left center, scoring Rivera Melendez, Soto and Galindo giving NMMI a 5-3 advantage heading into the bottom half of the inning. NMJC responded with one run in the bottom of the third and fourth to tie the game at 5-5.

In the bottom of the fifth, NMJC had the bases loaded and Avery Tuck doubled to right center giving the T-Birds 7-5 lead.

The NMJC added two runs coming in the bottom of the seventh and eighth.

Parker Bateman started the game for Broncos. He allowed five hits and five runs over three and third innings, striking out two.

David Chavez took the loss for the Institute. He lasted two and third innings, allowing two hits and two runs while striking out two.

“We know we are facing a good team and you can’t make the kind of mistakes we did today,” said Cook. “Good news is we have two games tomorrow at home and hopefully we can flip it around and have a better outcome.”

Both teams will square off again tomorrow at the NMMI Ballpark beginning at 12 P.M. with another pair of games to complete a four-game series.