Category Archives: Colt Baseball
Seven Colts earned spots on this year’s 4-4A All-District baseball team, with two of those players making the 2016 South All-Star squad.
Four Colts were selected for first team All-District honors: senior Eli Aguilar at pitcher; senior Francisco Galvez at outfielder; junior Jake Guerrero at catcher; and junior Michel Hinojos at designated hitter.
“We’re just proud that we had four kids who played hard,” said head Colt coach Charlie Ward. “They represented us well in district. They deserve the opportunity to be All-District for 4-4A.”
Three more Colts made the roster as honorable mentions: senior Danny Jaramillo at outfielder; and sophomores Frank Marchi and Francisco Rivera – both as infielders.
“Those three,” said coach Ward of his honorable mention selections, “really played well when we needed them.”
The two seniors, Galvez and Aguilar, were tapped to play in the annual A-AAAA North/South All-Star game, held this year at Rio Rancho High School June 10-11.
“Francisco (Galvez) told me yesterday that he’s committed and will be back to represent NMMI and play for the South All-Stars,” said coach Ward. “As for Eli (Aguilar), he made it as an alternate, and we’re hoping that he’ll get a chance to play as well.
“With all the adversity we have to go through at the beginning of the year, these kids didn’t feel sorry for themselves” added Ward. “They played hard, gave us an opportunity to compete and we ended up making the playoffs. I was very proud of that.”
NMMI Sports Press
ALBUQUERQUE — The Colt baseball team ended its season with a 10-2 loss to Sandia Prep in the first round of the state tournament Saturday, but that loss doesn’t tell the story of the NMMI season.
Despite numerous injuries and a losing record, the Colts squeaked into the tourney as a No. 16 seed, but nothing about their effort make them look like a last-place seed.
“We played hard again,” said coach Charlie Ward. “These boys earned a lot of respect from Sandia. Those coaches said, ‘Your boys came to play. You weren’t weren’t intimidated by us. We weren’t expecting a team of your caliber at the 16 seed.’ We knew it. We weren’t that low-seeded, but it is what it is. Through all the injuries and adversities that we went through we battled. We competed. We took leads in both games.”
That they did.
With one out in the first inning, Francisco Rivera reached on an error then Michel Hinojos — who was also pitching Saturday — stepped up to the plate and hit a shot over the right-field fence to give NMMI a 2-0 lead.
“Hinojos pitched a great game and also helped himself at the plate with another two-run jack,” Ward said. “That boy had two home runs in two days. He stepped it up today and did his part.”
Errors betrayed him early, as the Sundevils got four unearned runs in the bottom of the first on two miscues. But that was the biggest inning the host team had all day, as they simply chipped away, adding two runs in the second and one each in the third through sixth.
And the Institute had their chances, stranding a half-dozen runners and hitting some long and hard shots that the ’Devils snagged for outs. Hinojos went 4.2 innings then gave way to senior Jake Guerrero, who closed out the season on the mound. His likely successor, freshman Jasper Best, took his place behind the plate, and Ward gave as many players as he could a chance to see action.
“I wanted to make sure everyone had good memories,” he said.
With the season in the rear-view mirror, the coaches handed out the season’s awards in right field after the game, as friends and family gathered around the team for the impromptu ceremony. That crowd of supporters — who almost matched the home team’s fans in size — drew praise from Ward.
“We want to thank all our parents,” the coach said. “There were so many parents and family and friends here that supported this team and love these kids just like we do. The support is amazing. They’re some of the best parents in the world, and it makes it all worthwhile.”
Some of the team’s 13 seniors said their goodbyes as well, “and said a lot of emotional things to their teammates that make it why we coach this game,” Ward said. “We coach this game for the things they said. The emotion that came out of these seniors. The sincerity. We coach this game for the right reason for these kids.”
He praised the players who stepped up after the early season loss of two key pitchers, and despite losing so many seniors, Ward is still excited about the future.
“We’ll have a lot of kids coming back who will have a chance to experience the playoffs,” he said. “We’re excited about who’s coming back. They all have the right attitude: it’s all about the team. And that’s what makes this fun.”
NMMI Sports Press
ALBUQUERQUE — It didn’t take long for Colt baseball coach Charlie Ward’s prediction of a low-scoring pitcher’s dual between NMMI and Sandia Prep to fly out the window.
And it wasn’t the No. 1 seed Sundevils who broke things open. Although they eventually fell 16-9 to the defending state champs in Game 1 of the state tournament, the No. 16-seed Institute went up 5-0, drove starting Prep pitcher Bo Williams from the mound in 1.2 innings, and led 7-5 through 3-1/2 innings.
“We were loose. We were relaxed. We came to play,” Ward said. “We knocked out their ace 5-0. We did some positive things there.”
After both teams went down scoreless in the first inning, the Colts teed off on Williams. With one out, Jake Guerrero was hit; Peter DeGroot walked; and Connor Roe struck out. But then Frank Marchi was hit; Rivera singled in pinch runner Ja’lil Brown and DeGroot and Michael Hinojos hit a shot to left center to make it 5-0.
Unfortunately, Prep came back with five of their own in the bottom of the stanza. The first batter popped up to short center, and both DeGroot and Rivera went for the catch. They collided and DeGroot had to come out of the game with an injury.
The Sundevils followed that with two singles, a double, a triple, a walk and a fielder’s choice. The Colts stranded two in the third, while a double play — one of three for NMMI on the night — set Sandia down quickly.
The Institute again took another lead in the top of the fourth despite some questionable calls.
Marci singled; Rivera reached on a fielder’s choice; Hinojos was intentionally walked; Gavin Maloney walked — unintentionally; and that saw the third Sundevil pitcher of the night come to the mound.
Francisco Galvez wasted no time getting a single to score Rivera, and then the controversy arose.
“I think Danny (Jaramillo) got robbed with the bases loaded,” Ward said.
Jaramillo hit a shot to center that the fielder appeared to catch but then drop. Hinojos came home on and DeGroot went to third. But the umpire ruled the centerfielder caught the ball and dropped it on the exchange, then claimed DeGroot hadn’t tagged second, making it a double play and ending the inning, meaning Hinojos run didn’t count.
After much discussion between the umpires the run was allowed, but the double play stood and the inning was over.
“We didn’t get calls. They got theirs,” Ward said. “We got behind and our strike zone tightened up on Eli. That’s life. That’s just baseball.”
Sandia Prep got their first lead of the game with five in the bottom of the stanza, then added two in the fifth and four in the sixth of reliever Marchi.
But the Colts didn’t quit, adding two more runs in the seventh off three more Sundevil pitchers, but a strikeout ended the game with runners on base.
Give them credit,” Ward praised Sandia. “They’re the defending state champs. But I’m very proud of this team how we battled. We responded.”
He was pleased with Aguilar despite the loss — “Eli pitched his heart out, even with his bum ankle,” Ward said — and the three double plays.
Against a team known for its pitching, the Colts tallied 10 his, led by Galvez (3-for-4, one run and RBI) and Hinojos (2-for-3, two runs, 3 RBIs.)
The first round of the state tournament is the best two out of three, so the Colts will be back at Sandia Saturday morning to try again.
“We’re going to come back at 10 o’clock and try it again with Hinojos,” Ward said. “I just want them to fight all the way and they said the right things as a team a while ago.”
Photos courtesy Laura Brown
NMMI Sports Press
The Colt baseball team (9-17) squeaked into the AAAA state baseball playoffs with a No. 16 seed, meaning they’ll travel to Albuquerque Friday and Saturday to face defending champ and No. 1 seed Sandia Prep (22-4) in a two-out-of-three game match.
But despite the disparity, NMMI coach Charlie Ward thinks his team can play with the powerhouse.
“I believe it’s going to be competitive,” he said. “It’s going to be low scoring and I believe we have a chance. We’ve just got to play good baseball and support our pitchers.”
Ward knows the ’Devils will be tough.
“They’re solid one through nine,” he said. “They have athletes. They play the game of baseball the way it’s supposed to be played. They have very good pitching. You have to play the best sometime in the state tournament and we’re going to get a chance early.”
While he won’t be pitching, Ward believes the return of Gavin Maloney from the injured list will give the Colts a big confidence boost. Ward credits the sophomore with helping NMMI to a victory over AAA top seed Texico last Saturday.
“He’s one of our leaders,” the coach said. “He’s one of our top hitters. He’s going to play first base. The team all knows we’re a better team with Gavin in the lineup, so that’s a big boost of confidence. And I think that (return) made each player’s confidence and ability rise. They feel more positive as a team.”
With Maloney in the infield, Ward will stick with the pitching lineup he’s used since district: Eli Aguilar in Game 1 and Michel Hinojos Game 2.
“Then if necessary, we’ll let the chips fly and figure it out, but we’re focused on Game 1,” Ward said. “Eli will probably go against their big lefty, 6-foot-5 Beau Williams, or they’ve got another 6-2 lefty. They’ve got pitchers, but we’ve just got to compete and back our defense up and do the little things right as a team.”
Ward doesn’t expect the Colts to get many hits off Sandia Prep. They just have to take advantage of the opportunities they’re given.
“Runs are going to be limited,” he said. “In situational hitting, you’ve got to execute, when you’re given the opportunity. We expect it to be low scoring.”
And, he said, coming in as the 16 seed means there’s no pressure on the Colts.
“We’re 9-17, but honestly we believe we’re a lot better than that,” Ward said. “We believe we’re in the top 10, but with the injuries and all that, that’s life. It is what it is. We have confidence they’re not going to be seeing a 16 seed. They’re going to be seeing a team that will play. And these kids believe that. So we’re going to get at it and battle and we have no pressure on us. The pressure is on them, being state champs. Hopefully our kids will play hard, play loose and have fun. We’re hoping for positive memories.”
Game 1 is set for Friday at 5 p.m. at Sandia. Game 2 will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, with Game 3, if necessary, to follow immediately after.
NMMI Sports Press
TEXICO — The doubleheader between NMMI and Texico might not have meant much to the Wolverines before it got underway, but after it was all over, the Colts had handed the No. 1 AAA team only their fourth loss of the season, winning 2-1 before falling 9-3.
Plus, while NMMI’s record (9-17, 4-8) has them near the bottom of the 22 AAAA teams, coach Charlie Ward thinks the 2-1 victory in Saturday’s opening game, combined with an early-season win over the Wolverines, should earn the Institute a spot in the state playoffs.
“With that record, we think we deserve to be in there, anywhere from a 14 to a 16 (seed),” the coach said. “We’re just going to wait until four o’clock (Sunday), and hopefully (the seeding committee) will believe that NMMI deserves to be in the playoffs.”
Ward sounded thrilled about the victory.
“We played a great game and Eli (Aguilar) pitched a great game,” he said.
Aguilar pitched a complete seven innings, allowing only one run — in the third on a dropped third strike, wild pitch and ground out — on five hits, four walks and a quartet of strikeouts.
That third-inning run put Texico up 1-0, but the Colts took the lead in the top of the fourth.
Francisco Rivera opened the stanza with a walk, stole second and came home on a Jake Guerrero double. Guerrero advanced on a ground out and scored on an error, and after that the game belonged to the pitchers, with each team putting runners on base, but unable to bring them home.
“Everybody played really hard,” Ward said. “Everybody backed up Eli. He pitched his best game of the year. He gave us a chance to win.”
Another plus on the day for NMMI was the return of Gavin Maloney, who’s been out with an injury since the Dexter Tournament in March. Ward said just having the sophomore back on the field made a big difference.
“He hit the ball hard,” the coach said. “He hit some to people, but you could see the team had confidence with their teammate in there. It was an extra bat to help us, so it was good to have Gavin back. We can’t pitch him, but as long as we can have him in the lineup, it’s a big plus to the team and a big confidence builder.”
Ward wasn’t quite as happy with Game 2, which saw errors lead to the loss.
“We had seven unearned runs and lost 9-3,” he said. “So it was very frustrating to lose that second game. But we battled. We played everybody. We played the seniors.
“We just didn’t cover routine plays. That gave them a four spot and a three spot. Those seven runs were costly to catch up.”
After going down 4-0 in the first, the Colts came back with two in the second with a Francisco Galvez double, Danny Jaramillo triple and a wild pitch.
The other three Texico unearned runs came in the third, making it 7-2, then NMMI added a solo run in the sixth on singles by Galvez and Jaramillo and a fielder’s choice. The Wolverines added solo runs of their own in the fifth and sixth.
Michel Hinojos got the loss with seven runs, none earned, while Connor Roe and Frank Marchi each gave up one run in relief.
Jaramillo was 2-for-2 at the plate with one run and RBI, and Galvez was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Whether NMMI gets another game this season is up to the NMAA seeding committee, but despite being unhappy with the final game, Ward had praise for his squad.
“The kids had a great year, even though the record doesn’t indicate it with all the injuries and adversity,” he said.