Category Archives: Colt Baseball

Colts unable to hold on against Hope

Michel Hinojos with the ground-rule double into the gap between center and right, plating a run in a big seven-run fourth inning for the Colts.


Paul Burrow

NMMI Sports Press 

NMMI ace Gavin Maloney with a pitch in the first inning of play.

The NMMI Colts ventured to Rio Rancho High School to take on the No. 1 seeded Hope Huskies in the quarterfinals of the New Mexico AAAA State Baseball Championships. The district foes meet for the fourth time this year and to the dismay of the rather large Colt contingent, the fourth time was not the charm as NMMI fell 10-9 on a walk-off hit by pitch.

NMMI out-hit Hope 11-5 but eight errors, nine walks and two hit batsmen did in the Colts. Hope had just one extra base hit in the game with four singles, while NMMI seniors Michel Hinojos stroked two doubles and Jake Guerrero boasted a triple and a single to provide the power for the Colts.

NMMI shortstop Francisco Rivera with the throw to first after a ground ball.

Francisco Rivera had two Colt hits as well. Guerrero, Rivera, and another senior Alex Lopez all had two RBI’s. Guerrero and Hinojos each scored twice for the Colts.

Hope opened the scoring in the bottom of the first taking a 2-0 lead as starter Gavin Maloney gave up a two-RBI single to Brandon Bagon. Maloney settled in after that with three straight three up and three down innings.

NMMI answered back in the top of the second when Hinojos led off with a booming double off the right-center field wall that just missed going out of the park. Guerrero moved him over with a groundout and Lopez followed with a sac-fly to move the Colts to within 2-1.

Coach Steve Rogers talks to his battery between innings: catcher Jake Guerrero and pitcher Gavin Maloney.

In the fourth, the Colt lineup woke up and batted around sending twelve batters to the plate and scoring six runs on six hits and three walks to grab an 8-2 lead. With their ace on the mound, the Colt faithful felt the victory within grasp.

Hope was not to be deterred as they responded in the 5th inning by sending eleven batters up but with a decidedly different way of scoring as the Colts contributed with three errors and four walks to extend the Huskies batting. Hope was able to tally six runs to tie the game up at 8-8 and shed a whole new light on the game.

NMMI moved back into the lead in the top of the 7th when Guerrero got his second hit of the game with a single, moved to second on a stolen base and to third on a wild pitch. Alex Lopez worked a walk, and moved to second on a stolen base to bring up Emilio Maldonado with one out. This is Coach Ward’s favorite baseball strategy of small-ball as Maldonado and Guerrero executed a perfect squeeze play. Guerrero took off for home during the pitcher’s windup and Maldonado laid down a bunt out in front of the plate. The Hope pitcher had no choice but to throw Maldonado out at first as Guerrero scored before the bunt was even fielded to put the Colts up 9-8 going into the bottom of the seventh.

Alejandro Lopez narrowly missed getting a two-run dinger during the Colts’ rally in the fourth. He sent one out of the park down the right field line, but it was foul by about 15 feet. Lopez did manage an RBI single during the at-bat, keeping the rally alive.

Guerrero relieved Maloney on the mound in the 5th inning, helping the Colts end the Husky rally. He then pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the 6th inning with a huge strikeout, but the 7th was to be another story. Guerrero walked the first two batters and then his defense let him down as a force play at third could not be executed. The initial error was then compounded as the throw-back to the pitcher sailed over everyone’s head up the right field line allowing the tying run to score. The Colts then elected to intentionally walk the next Husky batter to load the bases, allowing for a force out at home. Coach Ward’s strategy worked, as the next Hope hitter hit a grounder to second, which Hinojos promptly relayed to catcher Rivera for the out at the plate. But the next batter was hit by the pitch, driving in the winning run for about an unusual walk-off as you will ever see.

Fausto Baranzini rounds third and heads for home after an RBI single by Francisco Rivera in the fourth.

Coach Ward in his dismay commented,” I hurt. I hurt for the boys. We did great things today on offense. We’re a great team. It was a great year. We had our chances, just didn’t get it done. Give Hope Christian credit for making the comeback, but to beat the No. 1 team in the state, you just can’t give them extra outs. We kept responding – we fought. We just didn’t make the last play and they did. They were the better team today.”

The Colts end their season with a 17-11-1 record while Hope moves on to the semifinals against the winner of the late game between Silver City and Taos. NMMI graduates seven seniors from this year’s team.

Early graduation for Eight Colts headed to state

From left to right: Jose Carlos Baranzini Rebeil, Fausto Baranzini Rogel, Octavio Lopez, Jake Parker Guerrero, Aaron Guadalupe Sanchez, Michel Alejandro Hinojos Chavez, Sierra Jane Walker and Emilio Maldonado Zuzuarregui

From left to right: Jose Carlos Baranzini Rebeil, Fausto Baranzini Rogel, Octavio Lopez, Jake Parker Guerrero, Aaron Guadalupe Sanchez, Michel Alejandro Hinojos Chavez, Sierra Jane Walker and Emilio Maldonado Zuzuarregui

Eight high school cadet student athletes were honored with an early graduation ceremony on Wednesday afternoon at the Mabee Auditorium in the Toles Leaning Center on the NMMI campus: seven members of the Colt baseball team and one member of the Lady Colt track and field team.

Both NMMI teams qualified and will compete in the NMAA’s Class 4A State Championships this weekend, and might otherwise miss the Institute’s normal high school graduation ceremony scheduled for Saturday.

The Colt baseball team takes on top-seeded Hope Chrisitian in the quarterfinals at 1:00 pm on Thursday at Rio Rancho High School.

Sierra Walker, along with her sophomore sister Mia Walker, will compete in several events – including the 800m, 1600m and 3200m runs – on Friday and Saturday at UNM’s track and field complex in Albuquerque.

Best of luck to our eight early grads this week at state and at the next level!

Colt outlast offensive onslaught by Dons to advance in State playoffs

NMMI shortstop Francisco Rivera makes a play on a ground ball, early in game two vs. West Las Vegas. Photo Courtesy A.J. Roe

NMMI shortstop Francisco Rivera makes a play on a ground ball, early in game two vs. West Las Vegas. Photo Courtesy A.J. Roe


NMMI Sports Press

The NMMI Colt baseball team downed the Dons to move on to the quarterfinals of the NMAA’s Class 4A State playoffs, needing just two games to win in the first round best-of-three series.

The first game Friday was a close and low-scoring affair, with the Colts collecting a shutout 2-0 win over West Las Vegas.

Saturday’s game was in many respects the complete opposite, with NMMI holding on to win a hit-fest, 11-10.

The Institute offense went to work early, plating all eleven of their runs in the first four innings.

After starting pitcher Michel Hinojos stopped the Dons without a run in the top of the first, NMMI scored three in the bottom off a pair of lead off walks to Francisco Rivera and Connor Roe, an RBI single by Gavin Maloney, a sacrifice fly by Hinojos, and an RBI ground out by Jake Guerrero.

Hinojos again blanked WLV in the top of the second, and the Colts again battered away at Don starter James Archuleta, this time bringing four runs across. Emilio Maldonado started with a single into shallow right, Roe drew the base on balls, Maloney drove in one run with an RBI double, Hinojos picked up his second and third RBIs with a single, and Guerrero got the final RBI with his second post-season triple.

In the third, both teams went scoreless, but it was ‘game on’ again in the top of the fourth. The Don bats finally caught fire, using a hit batter-single-double-single combination to score three runs in the fourth.

Undaunted by the Don offensive awakening, NMMI came back with another four runs in the bottom half of the stanza, putting the score at 11-3. Maloney led off with a walk, stole second, then went to third on a throwing error. Hinojos got his fourth RBI of the game with another sac fly. Guerrero then singled to start things up again, followed by both Alejandro Lopez and Gunnar Schwab reaching on errors, with two runs scoring during the melee. The final Institute run came on a two-out RBI single over the shortstop’s head by Fausto Baranzini.

But the Dons didn’t lay down and die. Their hot hitting continued with seven runs off nine hits over the final three innings.

After a two-run top of the fifth, the Dons chased NMMI starting pitcher Hinojos from the mound with a four-spot in the top of the sixth. Guerrero got the final out of the inning, then got the save after giving up one run in the seventh – with two outs and runners on second and third in a 11-10 ballgame, Guerrero got the next Don batter to ground out to short, giving NMMI the victory.

NMMI’s offense was again led by Maloney, who went 2 for 3 with three runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Hinojos was 1 for 2 with four RBIs, and Jake Guerrero was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.

“What a series! What a game!” exclaimed head coach Charlie Ward during the post-game interview. “To go 2-0 yesterday and then 11-10 today. Winning it with runners on second and third. We made it closer than it should have been, but give credit to the Dons. They fought and battled; they came to compete and they capitalized on our mistakes.”

Coach Ward also wanted to give some special credit to Francisco Rivera, who has been the day-in, day-out shortstop for the Colts all season. “Francisco hasn’t played catcher for three years, but when I needed to bring in Guerrero to close out the game, Rivera was right there, ready to go behind the plate. He did an excellent job – great team player.”

“We’ll take the ‘W’,” finished Ward. “Hinojos gave us everything he could, and Guerrero closed it out. I’m proud that we won the series. Now the magic number is three and we’re headed to the next part of state. We’ll celebrate the victory tonight, then get ready for Albuquerque next week.”

 

Colts one game closer to quarterfinals

Home run swing by NMMI’s Gavin Maloney – a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth to make it 2-0 in favor of the Colts. Photo courtesy A.J. Row

Home run swing by NMMI’s Gavin Maloney – a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth to make it 2-0 in favor of the Colts. Photo courtesy A.J. Row


NMMI Sports Press

The eighth-seeded New Mexico Military Institute Colt baseball team moved one game closer to a trip to Albuquerque and the NMAA’s Class 4A State Baseball quarterfinals by winning the first game of a best-of-three first-round series vs. ninth-seeded West Las Vegas, 2-0.

Friday’s single game featured a showdown between two of the top Class 4A arms in the state – NMMI’s Gavin Maloney and WLV’s Robbie Alarcon – both junior left-handed hurlers with season ERAs only slightly above 2.00. Thus it was no surprise that the afternoon contest ended up as a true pitcher’s duel.

NMMI’s struck first, capitalizing in the bottom of the first inning on back-to-back singles by Maloney and Michel Hinojos, with courtesy runner Gunnar Schwab coming in to score on a fielding error on Hinojos’ hit to center field.

That single run was all either team could manage until the Colts’ doubled their lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and no one on, Maloney helped his cause by blasting a 2-0 pitch over the right field fence for what would end up being the final run of the game.

“It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen an out-of-the-park home run by a high school player,” said head coach Charlie Ward, “and that was back when we were swinging aluminum. That was a shot by Gavin. I was just shouting ‘Get out of here, GET OUTTA HERE!’”

On the mound, Maloney narrowly missed the complete game no-hitter, but it was broken up with one out in the top of the seventh by an infield single by West Las Vegas’ Joaquin Barela.

Said Ward, “Gavin pitched great, almost had the no-hitter. We don’t like to talk about that much, instead we’d rather focus on the win, but he was only two outs away.”

Maloney finished the game for the shut-out win, allowing just that one hit, while picking up five strikeouts.

On offense, NMMI bats managed seven hits vs. Alarcon, who also went the distance for the Dons, fanning nine Colts with just one walk.

“We knew he was a pitcher,” said Ward of Alarcon, “and we found out he was the real deal. He did his job. His curve ball was working. We had some opportunities early, we just couldn’t get the big RBI hit.”

Maloney went 3 for 3 in the game with a run and RBI off the home run; Hinojos was 2 for 3 with a pair of singles; Jasper Best was 1 for 3; and Jake Guerrero was 1 for 3 with a lead-off triple in the bottom of the sixth, but the Colts couldn’t bring him home for the extra insurance run.

On the defensive side the Colts looked solid. They committed two errors, but managed to pitch and catch out of them.

“Our defense did great,” reiterated Ward. “We should have had two double plays but just couldn’t hang to the final throw at first on one of them. We only made two errors and managed to get past both of them.”

With Friday’s win, the Colts need to take one of the two scheduled games for Saturday – the first  match is slated for 10:00 am at the NMMI Ballpark, with the second ‘if’ game set for 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first.

“In the first round, you have to win two out of three,” explained coach Ward. “They’ve got a No. 2 pitcher that is really good. We’ll throw Hinojos, who’s done a great job for us all season. It’s going to be another battle tomorrow. For the big picture, the magic number was five, now it’s four – but the next game is the most important.”

 

Win or lose at state, Colt baseball is something special

DSC_9966
NMMI Sports Press

Head Colt Baseball Coach Charlie Ward

Head Colt Baseball Coach Charlie Ward

If you look at the brackets for the New Mexico high school 4A baseball championships, you’ll see five very familiar names competing for the top prize.

Hope Christian and Portales are seeded No. 1 and 2; Ruidoso and NMMI are No. 7-8; and Moriarty is No. 13. All five teams from District 4-4A qualified for the 16-team state tournament, which Colt coach Charlie Ward said is a testament of the talent of the district teams this year.

“It’s probably the hardest district I’ve even been a part of, from one to five,” he said. “I’ve been here at NMMI almost 20 years, and these were the toughest 12 district games we’ve ever had.”

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.

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.

And he’s not the only one thinking that way. At the District 4-4A meeting, Ward said all the coaches were talking about the other teams.

“We have a lot of pride in our district,” he said. “Our coaches have a lot of respect for our programs. At our district meeting, that’s all I heard, was coaches complimenting the other teams. Amazing. I’ve never been a part of that. They spoke highly of (Michel) Hinojos. Jake (Guerrero). I didn’t have to brag about them. They said, ‘Coach, you’ve got some boys who can rake.’ And I said, ‘You do too.’ We just all talked about our kids. That’s very cool.”

Michel Hinojos fields a ball that goes foul down the third base line - game vs. Santa Rosa on Mar. 24, 2017.

Michel Hinojos fields a ball that goes foul down the third base line – game vs. Santa Rosa on Mar. 24, 2017.

And that competition, the coach said, has his team ready to compete.

“This district has prepared us, playing these three-game series,” he said. “All the hard part’s done now –  getting to state and earning a first-round series at home. This is going to be fun. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but this should be a relaxed atmosphere.”

Still, Ward knows the Colts have probably the toughest match of the entire opening weekend. With a 15-10-1, 3-8-1 record, NMMI was rewarded with a home game as the No. 8 seed, while District 2-4A West Las Vegas comes to town at No. 9. And ask anyone, the Colt coach said, and they’ll tell you the 8-9 matchup is the one to watch.

Jasper Best slides safe into third, narrowly avoiding the tag by Rocket third baseman Owen Alsup - game vs. Goddard JV in Dexter's Hal Bogle Classic, Mar. 17, 2017.

Jasper Best slides safe into third, narrowly avoiding the tag by Rocket third baseman Owen Alsup – game vs. Goddard JV in Dexter’s Hal Bogle Classic, Mar. 17, 2017.

“Any kind of 8-9 because it could go either way,” he said.

The Dons (12-5-1, 6-9-1) come in Friday for a 4 p.m. game, the first of a possible three-game series. Game 1 will feature a matchup between Colt Gavin Maloney, a junior left hander with a 5-1 record and 2.12 ERA vs. Robbie Alarcon, a junior lefty with a 4-2 record and 2.07 ERA.

Ward doesn’t think Las Vegas will hit as hard as the 4-4A teams did — “I was told they can pitch. Offensively, I don’t think they’re going to be a team that swings like what we saw in our district” — but he wants his team ready for what’s essentially a new season in all aspects of the game.

Gavin Maloney pitch during the Colt's firstdistrict game vs. Portales on Apr. 21, 2017.

Gavin Maloney pitch during the Colt’s first district game vs. Portales on Apr. 21, 2017.

“It’s 0-0. It’s going to be about pitching and defense,” he said. “That should be a perfect atmosphere for both teams, to make plays and be backing their pitcher. I believe our pitching is going to give us a chance. But we’ve got to make plays. We’ve got to get 21 outs and we’ve got to do it twice.”

Plus, they need to get the bats ready.

Connor Roe heads to the foul line - and the fence - trying to make a play on a fly ball hit into right field - game vs. Goddard JV, Dexter's Hal Bogle Classic, Mar. 17, 2017.

Connor Roe heads to the foul line – and the fence – trying to make a play on a fly ball hit into right field – game vs. Goddard JV, Dexter’s Hal Bogle Classic, Mar. 17, 2017.

“I think is the key is going to be situational hitting:: two-strike hitting and hitting with men on base,” said Ward. “Hopefully we can capitalize on mistakes and can get some RBIs and score some runs.”

With almost perfect baseball weather predicted for Friday — 84 degrees with light winds — the Colts are set to go.

“We believe in ourselves. This team is ready and they deservedly know they’re where they belong, at the No. 8 seed,” Ward said.

Shortstop Francisco Rivera makes the play on a ground ball up the middle - game vs. Mesilla Valley Christian, Dexter's Hal Bogle Classic, Mar. 16, 2017.

Shortstop Francisco Rivera makes the play on a ground ball up the middle – game vs. Mesilla Valley Christian, Dexter’s Hal Bogle Classic, Mar. 16, 2017.

And while all they’re currently looking at is this opening series, the tournament continues May 11 in Albuquerque, with quarterfinal games in Rio Rancho, semifinals at the University of New Mexico and the championship at Isotopes park.

“The magic number is five games,” Ward said. “If you want to win it all you’ve got to win five games, but the most important are this Friday and Saturday.”

Even in their losses, the Colts played close against all the district teams, so even if they have to face the Huskies again — which they almost certainly would if they win this weekend — Ward is confident they can come out on top.

Alex Lopex with the hard-hit ball in a game vs. Loving on Mar. 28, 2017.

Alex Lopex with the hard-hit ball in a game vs. Loving on Mar. 28, 2017.

“We’re just excited to be here,” he said. “I know it’s going to be difficult but we have confidence. These kids still feel good. For all the adverse conditions and everything we went through in our district, these kids never gave up. You know how close we were to beating both Portales and Hope. Everything we did in our district shows we’re capable of competing with them.”

And win or lose, Ward said this year’s team has a closeness like no other squad he’s ever had.

Base hit by Emilio Maldonado vs. MVCS on Mar. 16, 2017.

Base hit by Emilio Maldonado vs. MVCS on Mar. 16, 2017.

“During my 20-year run as head coach, I’ve had some great teams and competitive teams; and we expect to always be in the playoffs,” he said. “But this year’s squad is probably the closest and most enthusiastic team I’ve ever had. They cares about each other. They support each other. They’re there for each other. Part of my job is being the one who’s got to criticize them, but I’m going to tell you, through ups and downs, this team is behind each other 120 percent. That’s really what I care about, that they care about each other. Baseball is just the icing on the cake. Come this weekend, we’re going to go out there and do the best we can, but regardless, this is just a great group of kids.”

NMMI’s Gunner Schwab with the sacrifice bunt in the top of the second inning - game vs. MVCS, Mar. 16, 2017

NMMI’s Gunner Schwab with the sacrifice bunt in the top of the second inning – game vs. MVCS, Mar. 16, 2017

Pinch runner Fausto Baranzini slides in safe at third after a single by Michel Hinojos - game vs. MVCS, Mar. 17, 2017.

Pinch runner Fausto Baranzini slides in safe at third after a single by Michel Hinojos – game vs. MVCS, Mar. 16, 2017.

At bat by Jose Baranzini vs. Moriaty, Mar. 31, 2017.

At bat by Jose Baranzini vs. Moriarty, Mar. 31, 2017.