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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!

Bronco tennis hoping for individual success at nationals

Left to right: Gabriel Atteh, Kukutla Mutlojoa, Coach Daniel Dominguez, Marcel Agbegne and Noureldin Adam

Left to right: Gabriel Atteh, Kukutla Mutlojoa, Coach Daniel Dominguez, Marcel Agbegne and Noureldin Adam

NMMI Sports Press

Plano, Texas — The Bronco men’s tennis team battled adversity from the start of this year’s season, but despite only having four players on the squad — and only three after an injury to No. 1 player Noureldin Adam, NMMI came close to winning as many matches as they lost, including the regional title vs. Collin College.

“Although we didn’t win the match, we were close,” said first-year head coach Daniel Dominguez.

Adam won the individual regional title with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over Daniel Stormon, while No. 2 doubles Marcel Agbegne and Atteh Gabriel, both freshmen from Ghaha, won 4-6, 6-3, 10-4.

Adam and Kukutla Mutlojoa, a freshman from Lestoho, lost a tough 6-4, 7-5(5) No. 1 doubles match. Mutlojoa lost at No. 2 singles 6-3, 7-5 and No. 4 Gabriel just missed in a 6-4, 2-6, 10-8 loss.

With only four players on the team, that meant three matches automatically went to the opposing squad, and that, Dominguez said, was the story of the season, with three 5-4 losses and one 6-3.

A fifth player expected to arrive in December never made it to the Institute, and had he been there, said girls coach Dan O’Connell,”there would have been a great chance we would have won, because that kid was a pretty good player. So with four players they did exceptional.”

Dominguez agreed.

“Even though we only had four players, I think those four players made up for the other three matches we couldn’t play,”

Atteh arrived in January and had a tough time of it at No. 4, but gave it a great effort, the coach said.

Agbegne won the team award for “most improved player,” with one thrilling match highlighting the season.

“I think the biggest highlight for him was when we played Tyler in Oklahoma. He was able to win a match at the No. 3 position against Tyler, which is the No. 1 junior college in the nation,” the coach said.

That was the only win for the Broncos in that March 31 match against the nation’s top team.

Mutlojoa was awarded the most inspirational award for the season, as the Lesotho native played a finesse game.

“What we like about him as a player is he’s the most consistent player, as far as being out there on the court; keeping balls on the court,” Dominguez said. “The downside of it is he sometimes gets overpowered by players, but that’s not a bad thing. He’s only a freshman and I think he’s going to continue to get stronger as he plays more matches.”

At No. 1, Adam, a sophomore from Sudan who finished All-American last season, was the only returner on the squad. He went 9-5 in singles and 7-5 in doubles despite what could have been a career-ending injury after a singles match at Collin College in mid-February.

“He’s had a couple of tough losses, but I think the fact he was out last semester for a five week period after he had just won the Collin Invite, I think he has bounced back,” Dominguez said. “Not sure I can say he has bounced back up to his top level, but I think he’s doing well considering.”

Adam went 3-3 in both singles and doubles after the injury and earned the NMMI overall “Most Inspirational Bronco” award as well as team MVP.

“This kid overcame a lot,” the coach said. Adam ended the regular season ranked No. 13 nationally and moved up to No. 9 after his regional victory.

The Broncos head back to Plano for the NJCAA men’s national championships May 15-19, and it’ll be an interesting return for Dominguez, who played on a NMMI squad in which every player earned points. He’s hopeful but not sure that will happen this year.

“Obviously as a coach you always want to push your players to do their best, but I think the level now is a little tougher than when I was playing,” he said. “Even though we have good chances for the four guys to win matches, I think the level is a little different now.”

He’d really like to see Adam match his 2016 finish.

“I think Adam, if he’s playing his best, he can achieve All-American status again this year. And maybe him and Kukula at doubles as well.”

All four players will go to Texas, jumping on a bus the minute graduation is over.

Region V tournament results
Team

Collin College 7, NMMI 2

Individuals
Singles
No. 1

(13) Noureldin Adam, NMMI, def. (30) Daniel Stormon, CCC, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
No. 2
James Corns, CCC, def. Kukutla Motlojoa, NMMI, 6-3, 7-5
No. 3
Akinori Wada, CCC, def. Marcel Agbegne, NMMI, 6-3, 6-1
No. 4
Emilio Chavez, CCC, def. Atteh Gabriel, NMMI, 6-4, 2-6, 10-8
No. 5   Never Scheduled (Incomplete Lineup)
No. 6   Never Scheduled (Incomplete Lineup)

Women’s tennis gets gold at regionals

Left to right: Jewel Ellis, Francisca Nyarko, Mikayla Lopez, Katarzyna Rosikon, Lorish Puluspene , Kathy Clouthier, Hannah Lee and Becsave Pacheco.

Left to right: Jewel Ellis, Francisca Nyarko, Mikayla Lopez, Katarzyna Rosikon, Lorish Puluspene , Kathy Clouthier, Hannah Lee and Becsave Pacheco.


NMMI Sports Press

Plano, Texas. — The Lady Bronco tennis team brought home some shiny hardware from the regional tournament in Texas last week.

Squaring off against Collin College, No. 1 singles Francisca Nyarko won the regional title with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Alex Gilbert; No. 2 Mikayla Lopez defeated Jayme Waytes 6-2, 6-2; and the Broncos combined at No. 1 doubles to eke out a 7-6(5), 3-6, 12-10 victory over Gilbert and Lopez earning them the doubles title.

“It’s been a wonderful, great season with all the girls, and our top two girls have really done a good job,” said head coach Dan O’Connell. “We really didn’t have a chance to win the team trophy (the Broncos were 3-13 on the season), but we’re very, very strong at the top and this year, all the girls improved a lot.”

Nyarko, a sophomore from Ghana, finished at No. 3 last year in regionals, so improved on her finish, and is ranked 18 nationally. Lopez, a freshman from Saipan in the Marianas Islands, is ranked 23rd, and as a pair, the doubles squad is No. 10 in the country.

Their finishes speak for themselves, O’Connell said, but he wanted to praise the rest of his team, who mostly came to the team as beginners.

No. 3 Becsave Pacheco came to NMMI from Dexter with some tennis experience and won the “most improved award” at last week’s Bronco awards ceremony.

“She’s one of our hardest workers,” O’Connell said, explaining the freshman is taking private lessons from men’s coach Daniel Dominguez. “The other girls are more or less beginners, but they’ve improved really a great deal.”

No. 4 Jewel Ellis came to the team in 2015 with no experience but a lot of heart.

“She’s been a lot of fun for two years,” O’Connell said. “It was very hard for her to move around on the court two years ago, more than four or five steps, and if I would rotate a forehand and a backhand then a forehand she would get confused, but now she’s running around on the court like the Energizer bunny. And she has a charming personality. We’re going to miss her.”

No. 5 Katarzyna Rosikon was part of the exchange program between the tennis team and cross country squad designed to help each team field a full squad. She’s headed to a four-year school to continue running, but was a big help on the court.

“We’re going to miss her also,” the coach said of the speedy sophomore. “I enjoyed doing drills with her, where I would hit one ball as far as I could to the left; one all the way to the right. Back and forth and she ran all over the place. So I’m going to miss those girls. They hardly won any matches but they’ve done very, very well.”

Rounding out the team at the regional tournament was freshman Kathy Clouthier from Tucson.

Lorish Pulsiphene was also on the Bronco roster this season so she could complete educational requirements before graduating and heading to Henderson State University, where she’ll join former teammates Thea Minor and Lorraine Banimataku at the four-year school.

Nyarko, Lopez, Pacheco and Clouthier are headed to Clouthier’s home town for the NJCAA women’s national tournament May 7-11 at the Reffkin Tennis Center, while Ellis and Rosikon will get to wrap up their time at NMMI preparing for graduation.

None of the Lady Broncos are seeded at the tourney, but O’Connell expects Nyarko and Lopez to each win a few matches in both singles and doubles. The team will arrive back at NMMI just in time for Nyarko to join the graduation ceremonies.

“I proudly look forward to watching them graduate, then an hour or two after graduation we will get on the bus and I’ll be the bus driver to coach Danny,” O’Connell said. And I’ll be the hamburger boy. “I’ll go get the lunches and whatever coach Danny wants me to do, but I get the pleasure of watching his team at nationals.”

Region V tournament results
Team

Collin College 6, NMMI 3

Individuals
Singles
No. 1

(18) Francisca Nyarko, NMMI, def. (39) Alex Gilbert; 6-1,6-0
No. 2
(23) Mikayla Lopez, NMMI, def. Jayme Waites, CCC, 6-2, 6-2
No. 3
Hannah Rey, CCC, def. Becsave Pacheco, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 4
Kylie Woody, CCC, def. Jewel Ellis, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 5
Rachel Clark, CCC, def. Katarzyna Rosikon, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
No. 6
Tiffani Holman, CCC, def. Kathy Clouthier, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0
Doubles
No. 1

(10) Nyarko/Lopez, NMMI, def. (22) Gilbert/Bennett, CCC, 7-6(5), 3-6, 12-10
No. 2
Rey/Waites, CCC, def. Pacheco/Rosikon, NMMI, 6-0, 6-1
No. 3
Kanda/Woody, CCC, def. Ellis/Clouthier, NMMI, 6-0, 6-0

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.”