Category Archives: Colt Baseball

Colt baseball’s Maloney and Rivera represent well at North-South All-Star games

As has become tradition at the annual All-Star games, players exchange uniforms. Francisco Rivera (left) in a Texico Wolverines jersey and cap; Gavin Maloney in a Cobre Indians top and Wolverines hat.

NMMI Sports Press

Two Colt baseball players wrapped up their high school careers in style — making both the All North-South (A-4A) and 4A All Star teams — and both are headed off to play college ball as Broncos. But they’ll play for different schools: one at NMMI and the other in California.

Outfielder/pitcher Gavin Maloney and infielder Francisco Rivera were both picked as first team players on the North-South squad — an annual tradition for the best seniors in the state. Colt outfielder Connor Roe was also chosen as an alternate.

The games were held June 8-9 at the UNM Stadium in Albuquerque, and included a trio of games as well as lots of fun, food and hoopla.

“It was a great time,” said Colt coach Charlie Ward. “Great memories for our kids. We were very proud.”

Gavin Maloney awaits a pitch during a game at Dexter’s Hal Bogle Classic.

Prior to the actual All-Star games, Maloney was chosen as one of six players to compete in the home run derby. He was the only one able to lift anything out of the massive park (338 feet down the lines, 408 in left and right and 430 in center) during the competition, tallying four dingers over the outer walls.

“They were shots. Two of them were lasers,” Ward said.

Both Maloney and Rivera had key roles to play in the opening game between the two teams, which the South won 4-3.

“Our boys represented our school and district well,” the coach said.

Maloney played right field, and after walking twice early in the game, stepped up to the plate with a 3-3 tie in the seventh and tripled to center. He then scored on an RBI double by Hatch catcher James Gimler, bringing home the winning run.

Francisco Rivera pitching in a home game for the Colts.

Rivera played third in second half of that game, and kept the score tied with stellar fielding in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded and two outs, he made a great back-hand catch at third base and then stepped on the bag to end the inning. He also made the final out in the bottom of seventh to give the South the one-run win.

Game 2 was a pitchers’ duel, what Ward called “the fastest high school game in a long time.”

Pitching for the South, Maloney, and his counterpart on the North, both sat batters down in order, and heading into the fifth the game was scoreless. The North side then managed a single run thanks to a dropped pop-fly, and the relief pitchers for both sides kept the batters off base with the North winning 1-0.

Game 3 was both lots of fun and a blowout for the South, which won 17-2.

The players all swapped uniforms, with Rivera wearing a Texico Wolverine jersey and Maloney a Cobre Indian jersey and Texico hat.

“They had a blast,” Ward said.

With Texico pitcher Ben Crist — who pitched on last three Class A state championship teams — the South made it look easy, as Crist shut the North batters down and the South hitters stung the ball.

Maloney played center and pitched the final inning, getting a single at the plate.

Moriarty Pinto Ben Lipke, who dropped the fly ball in Game 2, hit a 3-run home run to left and had a 2-RBI double, easily making up for his mistake earlier.

“They told me they had a great time. They had a lot of fun,” Ward said. And, he added, Hope Christian coach Glen Copeland, who helmed the South, was “very impressed with NMMI players and how they handled themselves.”

“The most fun part of the weekend was meeting all the players from the teams we used to play against and making all the new friends,” Maloney said.

“The All-Star series weekend was a really fun experience that I will never forget,” Rivera said. “Having the honor to represent the Dirty South was really cool, and getting to play with Gavin for three more high school games made it more fun and an experience that I will never forget. Meeting the players from other teams and having the opportunity to know them more and create new friendships is also one of the best parts of that weekend. I’m really thankful that I got the chance to play in the All-Star game.”

The pair continued to rack up honors as the Class 4A All-State teams were announced. Maloney was picked as a first-team All State outfielder and second team pitcher; Rivera was named to the second team as a shortstop, just beaten out by a Hope player who also won player of the year honors.

Maloney, who signed earlier in the year with the DI Santa Clara University Broncos, was also recently named as a first-team member of USA Today’s All-USA New Mexico baseball team.

“I’m really excited to get there and compete at a high level and I’m just going to focus on getting better every day and being the best ball player I can be,” he said.

Calling the Roswell native “one of the top three players out of the 20 years I’ve been here,” Ward said he’s certain he’ll see Maloney on the field as a freshman.

“I believe Gavin is going to do exceptionally well. He has a great work ethic. He understands the game. He will do the extra things. He will be one who will do the little things. He understands what it takes, and I know he’ll compete for a starting spot right away.”

And while he’s pretty sure Maloney has seen his last action on the mound, he thinks there’s nothing else the Colt turned Bronco can’t do.

“He’s just a player,” Ward said. “He can swing a bat. He can play the outfield. He’s got a great jump. For as tall as he is, that boy can run. He’s got good speed. He tells me he wants to steal bases. Gavin also has that leadership ability that’s going to carry over with him.

“I think what’s going to carryover for him in his next opportunity is how he swings the bat. He’s got great bat speed. Swings with power. He’ll have that opportunity.”

Rivera became the latest Colt to move on to the next level when he signed in June to play for head coach Chris Cook and the NMMI Broncos, where he’ll rejoin with two former Colt teammates, Jake Guerrero and Michel Hinojos, both of whom saw significant playing time last season as freshman.

“Francisco’s parents are very proud he is going to get an opportunity,” Ward said. “Coach (Chris) Cook is going to give him a chance.”

“I’m planning to continue with my baseball career at the Institute playing for the Broncos,” Rivera said. “Having the opportunity to be part of the team is an honor to me. I look forward to working hard to gain a spot in the team with the help of coach Cook.”

Ward said Rivera’s quickness in the field will carry over, and he’ll learn a lot at the college level.

“His best attribute is his quickness at short,” the coach said. “Nice glove. His arm. His bat will come. College coaches will teach him how to swing.

“They’re going to find a guy with a heart who’s a true competitor and will be here for this team. He’ll be a team player, and he’ll get better. I’m looking forward to seeing him get bigger, stronger, faster and play at the next level.

And in the Corps, Rivera will also be a leader, as he’s been picked to be a troop commander.

“We have enjoyed the opportunity to work with the Colt baseball players who have moved on to becoming Bronco’s over the past couple of years,” said head Bronco coach Chris Cook. “Rivera is a great kid, a hard worker, and his energy will immediately make him a positive influence in our program. With more baseball development time being available at the college level, I believe he has a chance to really take off in our program.”

Colts take trio from Warriors, move into second place for district

Alejandro Lopez prepares to throw to first against Ruidoso.

NMMI Sports Press

Alejandro Barcenas rounds third base and scores in Game One.

The Colt baseball team completed their three-game district sweep over visiting Ruidoso, taking both ends of a doubleheader on Friday, 12-2  and 15-5.

In Game 1, NMMI started off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with three runs. Andres Bleizeffer drove in two of those on a fly ball single to center field which scored Alejandro Barcenas and Gavin Maloney. Bleizeffer later crossed the plate thanks to a hard ground ball by Gunnar Schwab.

Ruidoso was unable to respond in the top of the second, despite a leadoff walk.

NMMI then scored again: with one out in the bottom of the second, the Colts tapped two back-to-back singles by Connor Roe and Francisco Rivera, and then a walk by Barcenas, to load the bases for Gavin Maloney. On the fourth pitch of the at bat, Maloney hit a triple to right field, clearing the bases.

Ruidoso’s first runs came in the top of the third. They plated two runs sans a hit, thanks to one walk and pair of Colt errors.

After a scoreless fourth inning by both sides, NMMI added a single spot in the bottom of the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Diego Salido, scoring Alejandro Lopez from second. Lopez got on base with a walk and took second on a sac bunt by Gunnar Schwab.

The Warriors were set down with three straight outs in the top of the sixth, and NMMI ended the contest early via the 10-run rule, thanks to an outburst of five runs in their final at bat. An error, walk and hit-by-pitch loaded the bases. Barcenas then scored from third on a wild pitch, Lopez walked to again fill the sacks, and Salido hit a fielder’s choice to second. The throw to the plate was in time, but the catcher failed to step on the plate before making a throw to first to try and get an out at first. The throw went sailing over the first baseman’s head and downthe right field line, scoring three NMMI runs and placing Salido safe at third. Salido then crossed home on a ground out by Jake Lieble for the mercy-rule win, 12-2.

Alejandro Barcenas rounds third base and scores in Game One.

Rivera went all six innings on the mound for the Colts to get the complete-game win. He threw just 99 pitches and allowed just one Ruidoso hit while collecting four strikeouts.

Game 2 was also shortened by the run-rule, with the Colts again winning in walk-off style in the bottom of the sixth.

NMMI posted three runs in the first, six more in the second, and a pair of in the fourth, all while holding the Warriors scoreless. The Colts had a chance to end the game after five, but Ruidoso refused to go down, plating four runs in the top of the fifth, off of three hits, a Colt error, and a walk.

Ruidoso then blanked NMMI in the bottom of the fifth, and posted another solo run in the top of the sixth to tighten up the ballgame, 11-5.

The Colts came back with four during their at-bat to end the game. Roe lead off and reached via an error; Rivera singled up the middle; and Barcenas also got on due to a Warrior miscue. That again brought Maloney up to the plate with bases loaded. He again went opposite field, driving in two with a single. Bleizeffer hit a ‘grounder-with-eyes’ up the middle for the Colts’ three run of the stanza, and NMMI’s final run came on Texas-league single by pinch-hitter Esteban Delgado.

Lopez got credit for the Game 2 win, hurling five complete innings before turning the ball over to Barcenas for the final three outs. Lopez allowed five hits and three earned runs, with one strikeout and zero free passes. Barcena gave up one run, one hit and one walk.

At the plate, Maloney was the Colts’ main weapon. He hit the cycle during the twinbill, going 5 for 6 with two singles, a double, a triple anda legitimate in-the-park homerun. He also had 11 RBIs and scored five runs.

Connor Roe fields a ground ball and prepares to throw to first base.

With the sweep, NMMI moves into second place in the District 4-4A standings with a 6-3 record, and an impressive 17-5 overall mark.

The Colts are off all next week – their next game won’t be until Monday, April 23 at Texico.

“We have three big games in Portales, which could determine playoff implications for seeding,” said head Colt coach Charlie Ward. “Hopefully we put ourselves in a position to host a first round playoff game.”

Those games vs. Portales will also be on the road, with a single contest on Friday, April 27 at 4:30 pm, followed by a pair on Saturday at 10 am and 12 pm.

Colts down Ruidoso

Francisco Rivera congratulates Jake Leible on scoring a run.

NMMI Sports Press

Gavin Maloney throws a pitch in the second inning on Thursday.

The Colt baseball team topped Ruidoso 5-2 in the first of a three-game District 4-4A series at home vs. the Warriors.

“For us it was a special moment,” said head coach Charlie Ward on earning their fourth district win.  ”First of all, assistant coach Steve Rogers is sick right now. He’s getting well, but he won’t be back in the dugout until our next series on Monday. And all the players were rooting for his health and a speedy recovery. We wish him the best.”

NMMI started off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a pair of runs. Francisco Rivera crossed home plate on a passed ball and Alejandro Barcenas later scored on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch with two outs; designated hitter Gus Curnutt got credit for the RBI.

Ruidoso responded with a two-out triple by Gabe Dorame, followed up with a single by Ian McClure, to score Dorame and make it 2-1 after the top of the second.

“We had several key hits in the right inning, which allowed us to put up multiple two spots on them,” said Ward.

Alejandro Lopez rounds second base against Ruidoso.

After a scoreless bottom of the second and top of the third, NMMI had runners on first and second. Back to back wild pitches allowed Alejandro Lopez to advance to third and then home, giving the Colts a 3-1 advantage heading into the top of the fourth inning.

In the top of the fourth, the Warriors managed to get another runner into scoring position, but the Colts dodged the bullet, as Ruidoso wasn’t able to bring their player home for the run, despite there being just one out.

In the bottom half, the NMMI offense came through for another pair of runs. With a runner on second, Gavin Maloney started a two out rally, doubling to center field and scoring Barcenas. Andres Bleizeffer then singled on a line drive over second base, scoring Maloney to give the Institute a 5-1 lead.

The Warriors’ final run in the top of the sixth. Maloney struck out the side, but two walks and two errors gifted Ruidoso a single-spot in the stanza.

Joshua Lopez slides safely into home in the fourth inning against Ruidoso.

Maloney got the complete-game victory on the mound, lasting all seven innings, allowing just three hits and two runs while striking out seven.

” We also had coach Greg Maloney calling pitches for his son,  a senior, Gavin and I felt like that was a special moment for both of them,” said Ward.

Both teams will square off again tomorrow at the NMMI Ballpark beginning at 4 P.M. with another pair of games to complete a three-game series.

The Colts were led by Rivera at the plate. He went 2-4.

Colts blast Eunice in five innings

Andres Bleizeffer throws a pitch in the first inning against Eunice.

NMMI Sports Press

Jake Leible rounds third base and scores a run against Eunice.

The Colt baseball team topped the Eunice Cardinals in a non-district matchup at home on Tuesday evening.

Both teams were hot at the plate as they combined for 26 runs in the game, with NMMI earning 18 of those on 12 hits.

The Cards started off the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first on two hits and a walk.

NMMI quickly responded, thanks to a leadoff triple to center field by Francisco Rivera, followed by a Gavin Maloney blast over the fence in right center, making the score 2-2 with just one out in the inning.

After a hit-by-pitch and walk, Gunnar Schwab singled to right center field, scoring Jake Leible and advancing Alejandro Lopez advanced to third.

Up next at the plate was Gus Curnutt. He singled to on a line drive to the shortstop, scoring Schwab and Lopez, making the score 5-2 at the end of the first.

Eunice answered with a three spot in the second, knotting the score at 5s.

Gavin Maloney prepares to swing against a Eunice pitcher in the bottom of the first inning.

In the bottom half, Rivera singled on a line drive to right field and advanced to second

on an error by the right fielder.

Maloney then doubled to center and scored Rivera. He eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by Andres Bleizeffer, who in turn scored after a walk given up to Alejandro Lopez, and another RBI single by Schwab.

NMMI led 8-5 going into the top of the third, but again, Eunice responded with a two run inning cutting the lead to just one, 8-7.

NMMI’s next run came after a Cardinal error, two consecutive walks and a hit by pitch. Then with two on, Lopez smacked an opposite-field triple, scoring Alejandro Barcenas and Maloney. Lopez later crossed the plate on a wild pitch to give the Institute a 12-7 advantage at the end of three.

Francisco Rivera throws a runner out at first in the top of the third inning.

In the top of the fourth, Eunice was set down in order for the only three-up, three-down half inning in the game.

The Colts exploded for five hits and six runs in the bottom of the fourth, setting the stage for the run-rule victory, up 18-7.

The Cards did manage one final run in the top of the fifth, but couldn’t bring another runner in from third to extend the game.

Bleizeffer got the win for the Institute bringing his record to 2-0 on the year. He threw two innings, gave up five runs on five hits. Lopez pitched the next 2.2 for the hold, allowing two hits and three runs (two of which were earned). Luke Taylor took the mound for the final out, allowing a single hit and no runs.

Schwab, Lopez, Curnutt, Rivera, and Maloney all managed multiple hits for NMMI, with Schwab going 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the Colts in hits

Up next for NMMI is District 4-4A opponent Ruidoso. The three-game, two-day series will be held at NMMI on the 12th and 13th of April. The first pitch for both days is scheduled for 4:00 PM, with a single game slated on Thursday and a doubleheader on Friday.

Texico downs Colts in 24th Annual Colt-Sertoma Classic

NMMI Sports Press

The Colt baseball team took on the Texico Wolverines in the 24th Annual Colt-Sertoma Classic Championship game and lost 4-1.

Texico has won the Colt-Sertoma Classic for the third consecutive year and returned all but one starter from last year’s state championship team.

”We faced a very good team, the defending state champs in 3A the last two years,” said head coach Charlie Ward. “We had [runners on] second and third twice, bases loaded twice – we just didn’t get any clutch hits. That’s baseball. It didn’t happen tonight, but maybe next time it will.”

On the mound for the Colts was Gavin Maloney, who signed to play Division I baseball for Santa Clara next year. He took the loss, striking out 11 Wolverines while giving up four hits and four runs on six innings of work.

“It was a great baseball game,” said Ward. “We just gave up too many walks early and they capitalized with a shot in the gap.”

Leading the offensive charge for NMMI was Francisco Rivera. Rivera went 2-for-3 at the plate hitting a single and double.

Nathan Phipps was credited with the victory for Texico. He lasted four and a third innings, allowing two hits and one run while striking out five.

The Colts will hit the road on Monday as they travel to play the Loving Falcons at 4:00 PM. NMMI will then head into district play as they face off against the Pintos next Thursday in Moriarty.

Coach Ward also wanted to thank everyone who helps make the annual Colt-Sertoma Classic a success. “It’s a lot of work to put on a baseball tournament and I definitely want to thank the Roswell Sertoma Club, along with all the parents, NMMI employees, and local businesses who help make our tournament one of the best in the state.”