Category Archives: Bronco Baseball

Ten Bronco baseball players garner national press

NMMI Sports Press – Jan. 24, 2019

Four former and five current New Mexico Military Institute baseball players earned national ink in the Jan. 4 2019 edition of the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, a bi-monthly publication that has been heralding the accomplishments of amateur baseball players for over 40 years.

In their pre-season edition – which can be found online at – CBN printed several articles listing players to look out for during the quickly approaching 2019 spring campaign.

Former Bronco right-handed pitcher Chris Suarez (NMMI 2016) garnered mention in the “Other Top Players to Watch” category in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Suarez finished the 2018 season with 2-1 record, 5 saves, 2.93 ERA, 18 K, and 13 BB for NCAA D1 Texas Southern University.

Infielder Alex Pimentel played in all but two of NMMI’s games during the 2017 season posting a .338 batting average before moving on to play at NCAA D2 Southwestern Oklahoma University. “Kirby” was selected by CBN as a 2019 Central Region pre-season All American. Last season as a Bulldog, Pimentel earned All-American honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and was tapped as the “Division II Player of the Year” for the squad.

Big-hitting first baseman Bobby Galindo had 40 RBIs and a .427 batting average for NMMI last season, then signed on to continue play at West Texas A&M University (NCAA II). Bobby was listed by CBN as a top newcomer for the pre-season #18 nationally ranked Buffalo baseball program.

Middle infielder Adam Abeyta boasted a .908 fielding percentage last season for the Broncos, while hitting over 300 at the plate with a .681 slugging percentage. Abeyta has signed to play for Antelope Valley University, an NAIA school in Lancaster, California. Abeyta was selected by CBN as a top newcomer for the pre-season #7 nationally ranked Marauder baseball program.

Adrian Arpero made CBN’s 2019 Junior College Players to Watch list as a right-handed pitcher. Arpero played in 28 games for the Broncos last season, including six appearances in the mound as a reliever, averaging 10.8 strike-outs per nine innings. The El Paso, Texas native played his prep ball at Americas High School.

Incoming freshman Tyler Hardwick was also named as a right-handed pitcher on CBN’s juco Players to Watch list. Hardwick compiled as impressive 1.64 ERA an 8-2 record for Goddard High School last season, helping the Rockets reach the NMAA’s Class 5A State Championship game.

Another El Paso native, Miguel Soto played as a prep for Montwood High. Soto displayed both prowess at the plate and grace in the field, hitting .340 last season as freshman for NMMI with 6 home runs, 49 RBIs, and an extremely solid .956 fielding percentage. Miguel earned juco Players to Watch honors as a second baseman.

More local talent comes to the NMMI team from Gabriel Perez Torres. Perez played as a prep for the Roswell High Coyotes. As a frosh for the Broncos, ‘Gabby’ played in 26 games with a .310 batting average and .429 slugging percentage. He made CBN’s juco Players to Watch team as an outfielder.

The final Bronco player named to the CBN juco squad was Henry Paulino. Although only a freshman, coaches expect Paulino to be a big part of the NMMI outfield this upcoming season. Henry played his high-school ball at Dwight Morrow HS in Englewood, New Jersey.

In addition to those nine, NMMI just recently had another former player, Andrew Spinnenweber, a senior at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, selected as an NCAA III Pre-Season 2nd Team All American by “Spin” earned a 3rd Team All American nod in his 2018 junior season on the mound, after collecting 99 strikeouts in ten starts for the Mariners, along with seven wins and a 1.73 ERA.

“I’m extremely happy that these 10 players have received recognition prior to their respective seasons,” said head Bronco baseball coach Chris Cook. “It could shape up to be a significant year for Bronco alumni and current players, and that hopefully tells people how far this program has come over the past 6 and a half years. We as coaches at the Institute have had the wonderful opportunity to coach unbelievable kids that work extremely hard and enjoy the game of baseball. I can’t wait to get our season started and I wish all of our former players the best as they get ready to start their respective seasons across the country!”

Seven sophs sign before season start

Bronco baseball signees. Left to right: Cedric Reynaud, Eric Estrada, Miguel Soto, Adrian Arpero, Gerry Lerma, Gabriel Perez Torres, and Rafael Perez Guzman.

NMMI Sports Press

The season opener is still almost two months away, but seven Bronco baseball players have already signed to move up to four-year colleges.

“I think we’re up to 20 sophomores (on the team) and these seven guys have had opportunities to present themselves,” said coach Chris Cook. “They felt really good about their offers and have decided to make their commitments.”

Those seven (in order of signing) include Adrian Arpero, Rafael Perez Guzman, Gerry Lerma, Gabriel Perez Torres, Eric Estrada, Miguel Soto and Cedric Renaud. They’ve signed with D-I and D-II schools all across the country, and several will be joining former teammates.

El Paso’s Arpero is headed to Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss., a D-I school in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

“They (the Tiger Coaches) saw him throw in the All-Star game this fall,” Cook said of the pitcher from El Paso.

“It was a good choice. The school is pretty good and the offer was good,” Arpero said.

Rafael Perez Guzman, a Venezuelan native, picked D-I Bethune Christian University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

“He did a heck of a job recruiting himself,” Cook said. “I think he got that process started with an email.”

Perez said he picked the Wildcats because it’s close to where his family is now living in Florida.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my mom in the stands,” the pitcher said.

Both Lerma, from Sahuarita, Ariz., and Roswell High’s Perez picked D-II powerhouse Lubbock Christian University.

“We haven’t had anybody sign there since I’ve been here,” Cook said. “I think it was a combination of seeing them play in Albuquerque and Tucson, and talking to (NMMI) coach (Jermaine) Van Buren and his connection with coaches on that staff. So that’s a heck of an opportunity for those two guys.”

“It gave me good options in baseball and it’s a great DII school,” said Perez, a shortstop who added that he’ll play any position he’s needed.

“I chose Lubbock Christian because it’s just a great program overall,” Lerma, a right-handed pitcher, agreed.

Estrada and Soto, both from El Paso and both former Montwood High players, will be joining former Bronco Kirby Pimental at DII Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

“They both just kind of felt it was a perfect fit,” Cook said, and the pair agreed.

“I thought it was the best program to let me follow my dreams,” pitcher Estrada said.

“It was the best choice for me and my family,” second-baseman Soto said.

The most recent signee is Cedric Reynaud, who’ll be heading north to Alamosa, Colo., where he’ll join former Dexter and NMMI pitcher Dominic Lomeli at D-II Adams State University.

“He’s fired up about that,” Cook said. “I know they need a catcher and he should walk in and get a chance to earn a lot of playing time.”

“It’s very exciting,” the Centennial High, Las Cruces, grad said of playing with his former teammate. “I’m looking forward to it. He’s looking forward to it. He’s been telling me a little bit about the program and I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

And while the future is already looking good for the septet, there’s still another NMMI season to go, and everyone agrees it should be a good season.

“I really like our team,” Soto, who will study criminal justice, said. “We have a lot of good guys who take it very seriously and are going to grind every day. We’re going to be really good this year.”

“This season is going to fly by but we’ve got to enjoy every second of it,” Reynaud, who’s got both liberal arts and criminal justice on the radar, said. “I love these guys to death but we’ve got to get to work. Every single game we’ve got to be locked in – our main goal is to make the regionals and beyond.”

“I’m very excited, Gabe Perez, another criminal justice major, said. “I’m sure we’re going to get a lot of wins this year. We’ve got a lot of potential.”

“I think we’re strong,” Rafael Perez, who’ll study business while keeping an eye on the MLB draft, said. “We’re like a family this year. We have a really good pitching staff and we’re working on our hitting.”

And with another 14 or so sophomores still unsigned, Cook expects a lot more good news between now and the end of the season.

“We obviously still have more sophomores who are going to be finding opportunities between now and the summer, and we’re looking forward to getting them placed,” he said. “We’re excited about this group of guys. They all work hard. They’re all good kids and they’re all really pumped up about the opportunities they’ve got next year at their new places.”




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.