Category Archives: Bronco Baseball

Homecoming for Bronco baseball alumni is all fun and games

The members of the current and former Bronco baseball teams pose together for a pic after the game. Photo by Laura Brown.

The members of the current and former Bronco baseball teams pose together for a pic after the game. Photo by Laura Brown.


Karen Boehler

NMMI Sports Press

Carlos Marrujo makes the tag on Grady Frost during a stolen base attempt. Photo by Laura Brown.

Carlos Marrujo makes the tag on Grady Frost during a stolen base attempt. Photo by Laura Brown.

As has become a homecoming tradition at New Mexico Military Institute, Bronco baseball alumni gathered at NMMI field Friday afternoon to take on the current crop of players.

And while the Broncos took a close 5-4 victory over the alum in a seven-inning matchup, the day was mainly about fun.

“It was a nice competitive game and the current team got a couple of runs late to give us a 5-4 win,” said head coach Chris Cook. “It was just fun. I don’t care what the score is, honestly. It was a good day.”

Bronco baseball alum Domingo Alonso again took the crown in the Home Run Derby – his third straight title - prior to the Alumni game. Photo by Laura Brown.

Bronco baseball alum Domingo Alonso again took the crown in the Home Run Derby – his third straight title – prior to the Alumni game. Photo by Laura Brown.

After the Broncos went up 1-0 in the first when Nick Espinoza walked, went to second on a single by Angel Colon and came home on a wild pitch — by former player and current pitching coach Tyler Gibson — the alumni took the lead in the bottom of the second.

Ben Chavez, a former Gateway player who still lives and works in Roswell, walked, stole second and came home on a single by another Roswell native, Justin Villareal. Villereal was thrown out trying to stretch the single to a double, but Franky Silva doubled and came home on a double by Chris Foster.

Alum Chris Foster stands safe on base after stealing second. Photo by Laura Brown.

Alum Chris Foster stands safe on base after stealing second. Photo by Laura Brown.

The alums led through the third, when Bronco Justin Williams tied it at 2-2 on single and error in the outfield. But Silva put the alumni back on top 3-2 with a towering home run in the fourth.

The Broncos tied it in the fifth on a triple by Dustin Renfroe and a wild pitch, then, after Bronco Cub Turcotte pitched to Brother Sam Tucotte and got him out on a lcomebacker to the mound — the two hugged for the tag — NMMI strength and conditioning coach Tyrell Curtis walked, advanced on a double by Gibson and came home on a ground out.

But after the Turcottes again faced each other — this time Sam struck out Cub — the Broncos got two finals runs, scoring on a single by Jordan Williams, double by Nick Carrillo and single by Bobby Galindo.

Frank Silva gets congratulations at home plate after his solo shot over the fence in left-center. Photo by Laura Brown.

Frank Silva gets congratulations at home plate after his solo shot over the fence in left-center. Photo by Laura Brown.

Prior to the game, Chavez won the home run derby for the newer graduates, beating out Joe Galindo, who signed with the San Diego Padre organization last spring.

Chavez notched 11 dingers to Galindo’s six, and was excited to beat a baseball professional.

“That was pretty nice. I can’t say that I can do that very often,” he laughed.

Galindo — who’s no relation to either of the two Galindos currently on the team — saw some time on the mound in the instructional league last summer. He had to recover from an injury before playing, but likes being in pro ball.

Justin Villareal goes up to make the catch on a lopping line drive, preventing a Bronco base hit. Photo by Laura Brown.

Justin Villareal goes up to make the catch on a lopping line drive, preventing a Bronco base hit. Photo by Laura Brown.

“It was fun,” he said. “The competition level is up there, of course. Really up there. But it was fun being back in the game. I missed it while watching from the stands. But I love watching the game, too. It’s a big learning experience.”

And while he didn’t play in Friday’s game, he did umpire the full seven innings.

“I’ll just watch the game; talk to the guys and have fun with them,” he said.

Domingo Alonso, an ’05 grad, won the derby for the more “vintage” players for the third time in a row. And like everyone else, he was happy to be back on the field.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “I miss the game quite a bit. It feels good. I’m just trying not to hurt myself out here.”

Alum and NMMI Strength & Fitness coach Tyrell Curtis with the heater. Photo by Laura Brown.

Alum and NMMI Strength & Fitness coach Tyrell Curtis with the heater. Photo by Laura Brown.

“It’s always fun coming back,” agreed Villareal. “I love being here and it brings back a lot of memories. I’m just here to have a good time.”

Everyone also seemed to like the changes to the field.

“I love the field, the scoreboard, the fence,” Villareal said. “The NMMI symbol (behind the batting circle) looks awesome. All the symbols around the backstop. It’s a really good, one-of-a-kind baseball field in this area.”

“It’s amazing how much the facility’s improved and how coach Cook continues to bring in quality kids,” said Tim Campos, who is a 20-year alum. “Coach Cook has done an amazing job. With someone who has that much class running this program, it’s a joy to come back.”

Galindo also had praise for the Bronco staff.

“I love the coaches, man,” he said. “The coaches were the biggest thing, because they believed in me. They knew I could do something. Trusted me and I just gave them everything I had. They got me to the next level and from there kept working. Very pleased with the school as well. It’s like, the discipline. I’m a very nit-picky person now. Very organized and very disciplined about my time management.”

“Chris Cook has turned this place into a legitimate, competing college baseball program,” Villareal, a 2003 grad, said. “So I’m real proud of him and proud to support the team as the season goes on.”

And Cook was equally pleased to see the returning players, both from his teams and earlier in the school’s history.

“They’ve all got NMMI in common and it’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s nice to have them back and it’s nice they’re happy with the event and like it. So we’re going to keep on doing it.”

Former Bronco baseballer signs with San Diego Padres

Joe Galindo's NMMI baseball card as a sophomore in Spring of 2015.

Joe Galindo’s NMMI baseball card as a sophomore in Spring of 2015.

Karen Boehler
NMMI Sports Press

Most college athletes dream of moving on to the professional level after their college careers.

Very few get that chance.

But former Bronco baseball player Joe Galindo is one of those few. In June, he was the 384th overall pick of the San Diego Padres, going in the 13th round of the 2016 MLB First Year Player Draft, and is now in Peoria, Ariz., in the rookie league.

“It was a blessing, because it was something I always wanted to achieve, to get to pro baseball,” the El Paso native said. “But now there’s a new goal, and that’s get to the major leagues. It’s like starting from T-ball. You’ve got to work your way up. I’ve got to work my way all the way back up there to achieve another goal and make the actual dream come true.”

“It was exciting to see that he got picked up,” said Bronco baseball coach Chris Cook. “Couldn’t have happened to a better kid. Who knows? They sky’s the limit for a kid like that. He’s still learning how to pitch. He still doesn’t have very many innings under his belt.”

Galindo at bat vs. Dodge City on Feb. 15, 2015

Galindo at bat vs. Dodge City on Feb. 15, 2015

“To say that I am proud of Joe Galindo’s accomplishments is certainly an understatement,” agreed NMMI athletic director Jose Barron. “I think that Joe has demonstrated what a lot of hard work and dedication can do for an individual. I’m very proud of the fact that Joe was a part of our program here for two years.”

That 13th round pick could have been even higher — Cook thought he might have gone in the fifth or sixth round — but in an unfortunate accident two games from the end of the NMSU season — in a WAC tournament game vs. Sacramento State — Galindo broke his hand.

So the fact that the Padres still signed him — with a $100,000 bonus and two more years of school paid for — says a lot about the National League organization, both Galindo and Cook agree.

“Thats the good thing about the Padres organization,” the rookie said. “They had trust in me. They saw me as a person.”

Galindo at first base in a game vs. Otero Junior College on Feb. 7, 2015.

Galindo at first base in a game vs. Otero Junior College on Feb. 7, 2015.

“I think he’s in the right spot,” Cook said. “Right now, with the way the big leagues is, a lot of guys are throwing mid 90s and that’s what they’re looking for. Hopefully he can sustain that. He just needs time to develop.”

“There were several teams that were interested,” Galindo added. “I guess (the Padres) were a team that really enjoyed my presence on the mound and had complete trust in me. I fully respect that.”

Galindo’s injury meant he could only lift and work out in ways that wouldn’t hurt his hand when he first arrived in Peoria, but the cast is expected to be off now and he said he’ll rehab and hopefully pitch before the end of the Arizona League season.

“I’ll be able to throw a couple of innings before rookie ball ends, and everything will plan out they way they want it to go,” he said.

30JoeGalindoThe fact Galindo got this far says a lot about the Montwood High School (El Paso) grad, but he credits NMMI and coach Cook with helping him get to this point.

“Coming out of high school, there wasn’t much attention given to me,” he said. “Then coach Cook and coach (Rowdy) Hardy saw me. If it wasn’t for the coaching staff at NMMI, giving me an opportunity to play at that level, I wouldn’t be where I am. It definitely helped me make that transition. It made me a good person and the school itself was great.”

And, as an El Pasoan, he thanked Barron as well.

Definitely the coaching staff is what I really appreciated and the athletic director, Jose Barron, him being a former El Pasoan, he was someone I could go talk to a lot of the time, too. He was a great person.”

“It is a little extra special for me when you add in the fact I’m an NMSU alum and Joe is a fellow El Paso native,” Barron said. “I commend Joe for his accomplishment and I’m extremely proud of the role NMMI and our coaches have had in the development of this young man’s extraordinary talent.”

Galindo was drafted as a pitcher, but he didn’t start out that way. In fact, while Cook pitched him occasionally, most of the time with NMMI he was known for his hitting prowess.

“That was a guy who touched 92 or 93 maybe once, as a freshman on the mound, then as a sophomore he hit in the four-hole every day, so I didn’t pitch him as much,” Cook said.

When New Mexico State signed him, he was picked primarily as a pitcher, but was also looked at as hitter.

“Then when he got in there, he just kept working and he got into their pitching routine and pitching more consistently and throwing more consistently,” Cook said. “By the middle of the spring, he was consistently pitching in the mid 90s and was touching 97-98 miles an hour with his fastball. He has an impressive spring there in a tough place to pitch. His numbers were as good as anybody’s ever had at New Mexico State.”

“I was hitting and pitching in the fall, and come the spring season, I was just really focusing on pitching,” the 21-year-old said. “Wasn’t getting many at bats, but I was completely fine. I accepted my role, and that was the way I was going to help the team win. I helped the team win here and it was a great season.”

His record at NMSU is impressive.

As a junior reliever, Galindo was ranked second in the Western Athletic Conference in games finished (19), fourth in saves (eight) and fifth in games pitched in relief (26). Most of those relief appearances came in conference play, where he finished tied for the team lead with teammate Tyler Erwin with 16, second in team saves (7) and second in games finished (13).

A second team All-WAC selection by the league’s 10 head coaches, Galindo finished the season with a 2.48 ERA and a 3-1 record in 29.0 innings pitched out of the bullpen. Additionally, he racked up 47 strikeouts, with opponents hitting just .187 against him.

So there’s no doubt why Galindo was picked, and as the only Bronco baseball player to be drafted in recent memory — Tony Phillips played for eight MLB teams from 1982 to 1999, but played basketball, not baseball, at NMMI — Galindo could be a shining star in the pantheon of NMMI athletes.

Cooks thinks he has what it takes to make it all the way.

“I think he’s got a chance,” he said “He’s got the stuff and the physical size. I think he’s got the makings to have a chance. We’ll see.”

Bronco baseball players earn postseason accolades

2016AllConferenceSelectionsNMMI Sports Press

The Bronco baseball team had a breakout season this year, culminating in a trip to the Region V playoffs and a first-round victory there over the No. 3-ranked team in the nation.

Those facts, plus posting some huge offensive numbers along with some timely pitching, have resulted in one All-Region and several All-Conference team selections for this year’s Institute squad.

“We were able to get three guys on the all-conference team this year: Alex Howard on the infield, Justin Felix at catcher and Carlos Ortiz at pitcher,” said head coach Chris Cook. “We had four guys make the honorable mention all-conference team, Chris Suarez as a pitcher and infielder,  Marion McLean and Winston Welch in the outfield, and Pancho Mariscal in the infield.

“The offensive numbers held up against everybody else in the league,” explained Cook, “and we were able to get Justin Felix placed on the all-region team, which was a first in my four years here.”

Speaking of those offensive numbers, those six batters for the Broncos combined to hit a for a .347 average, with 99 doubles, 23 triples and an astonishing 61 home runs, all in the course of just 59 games.

On the defensive side, pitcher Carlos Ortiz was the lone all-conference selection. Ortiz broke the school’s record for wins in a single season, posting nine regular-season victories, and added a 10th vs. McLennan in the first round of regionals.

“Ortiz’s ERA wasn’t the best in the league,” said Cook, “but his win totals were in the top three, and his strikeouts were in the top 10, so he was deservingly awarded that all-conference spot.”

Cook was definitely happy with the expanded list of Broncos on this year’s all-conference team.

“No complaints on my end. It was just nice to get some guys recognized and they definitely deserved it. We’ve had a max of one in the previous three years that I’ve been here — Caleb Mitchell my first year and Jeremy Mortensen my second year — and then zero last year. That’s a pretty big jump, but we also made a pretty big jump, especially conference wins-wise.  And offensively,” Cook added,  “It’s a pretty big difference when you hit almost two and half times your home run total.”

According to Cook, the success of this year’s team, and the postseason awards that followed, were a direct result of the players’ hard work and dedication.

“It comes down to players and having kids that play hard and do things the right way. We were very fortunate with the group that we brought in the last couple of years that have built to this position — it wasn’t something that just happened overnight,” Cook said. “A lot of these guys were here as freshmen. They developed, they learned the system, they played together and they became a team. That’s not something that’s easy to duplicate.”

Coach finished by saying just how proud he was of this year’s team and its players.

“They’re going to move on to bigger and better things, and I hope that what they learned here helps prepare them for the next step — that’s all we can hope for.”

Weather wets plans of NMMI win over Cisco

Justin Felix almost slips while rounding third, but found his balance and scored on a Chris Suarez single in the top of the fourth.

Justin Felix almost slips while rounding third, but found his balance and scored on a Chris Suarez single in the top of the fourth.

Anthony Martinez got the game 2 start for the Broncos, throwning two and two-thirds shutout innings before rain delays sidelined his appearance.

Anthony Martinez got the game 2 start for the Broncos, throwning two and two-thirds shutout innings before rain delays sidelined his appearance.

NMMI Sports Press
LUBBOCK – A pair of rain delays helped Cisco Junior College top the New Mexico Military Institute, 13-5, in the Broncos’ second round game in the NJCAA Region V Championships.

In the opening round on Friday, NMMI surprised the North’s No. 1 seed, McLennan, with a 5-4 win.

The Institute was scheduled to play Cisco the next day at 5 P.M., but severe weather forced a delay of all tournament games, postponing the Bronco/Wrangler game until 10 A.M. Sunday.
Sunday’s rescheduled game started on time despite slight drizzling rain and a forecast of more on the way, as tournament officials figured Texas Tech’s all-turf field could handle a little bit of water.

Alex Howard chases down a Cisco base runner between third and home after a missed squeeze bunt attempt.

Alex Howard chases down a Cisco base runner between third and home after a missed squeeze bunt attempt.

All-turf, except for the mound, that is.

A light rain continued for almost the entire contest, forcing two delays during the more precipitous periods, in order to cover and protect the pitching surface.

Both teams failed to score in the first inning of play. The visiting Broncos went down in order with a strikeout, a caught foul fly ball, and a grounder to first. The home Wranglers got a lead-off double off of NMMI starter Anthony Martinez, but after a sac bunt moved the runner to third, Martinez closed the door with a strikeout and ground-out back to the mound.

In the top of the second, NMMI got their first baserunner of the game after a five-pitch walk with one out to Chris Suarez.

Shortstop Alex Pimentel flips to second baseman Pancho Mariscal for the force out at second.

Shortstop Alex Pimentel flips to second baseman Pancho Mariscal for the force out at second.

Play was halted immediately after, due to slippery mound conditions and increasing rain.

The delay lasted about 30 minutes.

When play resumed, Preston Inman singled into centerfield. Pancho Mariscal hit a hard grounder to first and was put out, but moved Suarez and Inman each up a base. John Jensen hit an infield grounder and was put out 5-3 to end the inning.

In the bottom half, the Wranglers again threatened, their lead-off batter reaching on a Bronco error. Martinez got the next batter out on strikes, gave up a single, recorded another K, then got the next batter to fly out to left field, preventing any damage.

NMMI went three-up, three down again in the top of the third, and it looked like the same might happen to Cisco, as Martinez fanned another batter, then got a grounder to second. But the next two Wranglers singled and each advanced a base on a wild pitch.

That prompted a yet another delay due to mound conditions. This one lasted 45 minutes and head Bronco coach Chris Cook decided the constant starting and stopping would be too much wear and tear on the arm of Martinez.

Kyle Bosworth took Martinez’ place atop the hill. He walked the first batter, loading the bases, and two pitches later, Cisco third baseman Ryan Nelson brought everyone in with a grand slam over the left field fence.
Bosworth got out of the inning after another Cisco single, and the Broncos managed a small comeback with a single run of their own in the top of the fourth. Justin Felix singled with one out, and took second as well after a bobbled ball by the outfielder. Suarez picked up the RBI with an opposite field single before Inman grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Bosworth gave up another single in the bottom of the fifth, but otherwise made short work of the Wranglers, making it 4-1 Cisco with four innings completed.

NMMI continued their comeback in the top of the fifth, plating three runs and making it a tie ballgame. Mariscal led off and got on thanks to a Cisco error, Jensen worked the Wrangler pitcher for the walk, and Kirby Pimentel laid down the sac bunt to move them both over. Marion McLean then stroked a double down the left field line to bring both runners in. He later scored on a two-out single by Winston Welch.
Bosworth gave up a double to start the bottom of the fifth, then sat down the next Cisco batter on strikes before allowing another double to left. After walking the next batter, coach Cook opted to put Inman on the mound in relief. Inman got the next two outs without further incident, but Cisco once again had the lead, 5-4.

In the top of the sixth, the Bronco offense again sputtered, going down 1-2-3, and the Wranglers extended their lead with a four-spot off four hits, a walk and an error.
NMMI’s final run came in the top of the seventh. They began with two straight singles by Pimentel and Jensen. But the Bronco bats couldn’t string together anything else, plating only Pimentel after a fielder’s choice by McLean.

The Wranglers ended the game early via the run-rule, eight after seven, by scoring five more runs in the bottom of the seventh.

With the loss, the Broncos move into the ‘do-or-die’ loser’s bracket, and will have to win their way back into the championship game.

That climb would include three games, beginning with getting the victory against Hill College later tonight at 7:30 P.M.

Broncs Shock Highlanders in Regional Opener

Justin Felix put the Broncos up early, with a two-run home run in the top of the first.

Justin Felix puts the Broncos up early, with a two-run home run in the top of the first.

NMMI Sports Press

Carlos Ortiz picked up his 10th win of the season.

Carlos Ortiz picked up his 10th win of the season.

The Cinderella story continues for the Bronco baseball team, as they won their first-round game in the NJCAA Region V Championships by a single run, 5-4, against top-ranked McLennan Community College.

Carlos Ortiz got the start on the mound for the Broncos and pitched a gem, allowing just three runs over six innings, against a Highlander team that has averaged over nine runs per game this season.

“I got up to the mound and I knew it was going to be a tough game against a great team and a great offense,” said Ortiz about the start. “I was just mixing up the miles per hour – the change-up, then coming back with the fastball, staying low on the corners, painting those corners.”

Pancho Mariscal completes one of three double plays the NMMI infield had on the day.

Pancho Mariscal completes one of three double plays the NMMI infield had on the day.

Ortiz got help early, as the Broncos, being the visitors as the lower seed in the initial round, struck first in their opening at-bat with a two-out shot over the leftfield fence by Justin Felix. That blast landed in the Bronco’s bullpen and scored two, since Alex Howard was on base after being hit by a pitch earlier in the stanza.

“First thing on my mind was don’t be the last out,” said Felix, recalling the hit. “We had two outs, Howard on second, and the first pitch they threw me was a curve ball in the dirt. The next pitch I was like, ‘Ok, they’re going to throw me a fastball.’ I didn’t expect it to be an inside fastball, but it was and I turned on it, and it was pretty good.”

Marion McLean takes one for the team, and would later score on a home run by Winston Welch.

Marion McLean takes one for the team, and would later score on a home run by Winston Welch.

Pretty good indeed, as it gave the Broncos that initial boost in confidence that they could, indeed, play with the No. 3-ranked team in the NJCAA.

MCC came back a run of their own in the bottom half, off a single-balk-single combo, to make it a one-run ballgame, 2-1.

After two scoreless innings for both sides, NMMI added to their lead, posting a single run in the top of the fourth. Winston Welch started the inning with a single into leftfield. Felix did the same, moving Welch to second. A third single to left by Chris Suarez scored Welch. But the Broncos couldn’t plate another run in the inning, despite having two on with no outs.

Justin Felix and Marion McLean congratulate Winston Welch after his home run in the top of the fifth.

Justin Felix and Marion McLean congratulate Winston Welch after his home run in the top of the fifth.

Ortiz made quick work of the Highlanders in the bottom of the fourth, serving up a pair of pop-flies and a ground out to short.

In the top of the fifth, it was again the two-out/hit batter/long-ball trio that bolstered the Bronc’s lead. Marion McLean was hit by the pitch with one out. Howard grounded out back to the pitcher for the second out, and Welch slammed the first offering he was given – a curve ball – down the left field line for the two-run dinger.

Down 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth, MCC came back with a single run off a pair of opening singles and a misplayed grounder in the outfield which resulted in extra bases. But with one on and no outs, Ortiz bowed up by striking out the next batter – his fifth and final K of the afternoon – got the next hitter to ground out, and, a after a hit batter, got the final out on a fly ball to center.

Winston Welch proving he can play defense as well as hit, making a great leaping catch close to the right field wall.

Winston Welch proving he can play defense as well as hit, making a great leaping catch close to the right field wall.

After a scoreless top of the sixth for NMMI, the game got a bit tighter as MCC plated another one-spot on a solo home run, making it 5-3 with three innings left to play.

Suarez took the hill for the Broncos at the start of the seventh. After some control issues early, including a lead-off walk, Suarez settled down, eventually getting out of the inning unscathed on a 5-4-3 double play.

Again no score for the Broncs in the top of the eighth, but Suarez pitched past a one-out single, to get the goose egg in the bottom half.

Chris Suarez got the save, his ninth of the season.

Chris Suarez got the save, his ninth of the season.

NMMI went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, but remained confident with a two-run lead and their ace closer Suarez on the bump. Suarez struck out the first Highlander hitter, then got the second out on a foul pop-up to Preston Inman at first base. The next batter, however, MCC’s first baseman Dimas Ojeda, made it a one-run ballgame by going deep on the first pitch. Stirred but not shaken, Suarez recorded the final out, and the save, with a fly ball to right.

“It was a good game,” said head coach Chris Cook. “We got a good start out of Carlos Ortiz and came up with two big home runs to give us four of our five runs.”

Alex Pimentel lays down the sac bunt.

Alex Pimentel lays down the sac bunt.

Coach Cook was obviously happy with the win and the timely big hits, but felt the Bronco’s offense could have been better. “We had a couple of opportunities possibly to score some more runs,” he said. “We just needed, like we talked about previously, a couple of two-out hits, but we pitched well enough. Carlos got us pretty deep into the game and then we were able to get the ball to Suarez.”

With the win, the Broncos remain in the winner’s side of the bracket and will play Cisco Junior College – who defeated New Mexico Junior College, 9-5 – at 5 P.M. CDT on Saturday.

Preston Inman catches a foul pop fly for the second-to-last out of the ballgame.

Preston Inman catches a foul pop fly for the second-to-last out of the ballgame.

Said coach Cook of the Wranglers, “They’ve got some guys who can drive the baseball, some guys who can bunt, they’ve got some guys who can run; they’re just a strong, physical team that can score runs. So we’re going to need to capitalize again on any type of two-out situations that we have with runners in scoring position, and we’re going to have to score some runs against an offense like that.”