For a second-consecutive weekend of beautiful baseball weather, the NMMI Broncos hosted a four-game double-header at the Ballpark, sweeping Otero Junior College by a combined score of 36-11, with two blowout victories on Friday and two squeakers on Saturday.
The weekend series was moved up to a Friday-Saturday tilt because of impending weather expected to move in on Sunday, giving Otero a chance to travel back home to La Junta, Colorado in safer conditions.
Alas, Otero still left town later than expected as the two teams battled to extra-innings affairs in both Saturday games after Friday’s twin bill ended quickly with a 10-run rule in both contests. The Broncos’ first win ended at 10-0 after six innings and the second in five, 13-3. On Saturday, the Broncos prevailed in with the opener in eight innings 6-5 and outlasted Otero 4-3 on a inside-the-park walk-off by catcher Angel Colon, leading off the bottom of the 10th.
“Zach Gonzales battled for us in that second game going seven innings and Cub Turcotte kept us in it,” said Bronco head coach Chris Cook. “The kids battled and stayed with it and got the chance to win, otherwise we might have been here ‘til midnight. We got some luck that went our way but we can’t always rely on the lucky bounce. I like where we are at though, even if we are young. Pitching kept us in the games tonight and we just need to get our timing down a little better.”
Dustin Renfroe picked up his first collegiate win in Saturday’s opener as he helped himself out, scoring the winning run after hitting a triple and then being knocked in two batters later by Alex Pimental, one of the three sophomores on the Bronco roster. Renfroe did not allow a hit in 4 2/3 innings of relief with two strikeouts and no walks, but did hit two batters. However, those runners didn’t hurt him as the first was erased with a double play and the second was picked off trying to steal second base.
Turcotte (Albuquerque-La Cueva) came up big in the first game as well with two runs scored and an RBI. Luis Rivera added two RBIs in a three-run first inning for NMMI. Justin Moskowitz started for NMMI and gave up all four runs on six hits and four walks, but did have six strikeouts.
In the afternoon game that turned into a twilight, Gonzales (Las Cruces-Centennial) went seven innings until he reached his pitch count but could have had the win if not for some shaky play in the fourth when Otero plated two runs on Gonzales’s throwing error on an attempted sacrifice bunt. After fielding it cleanly, Gonzales went to third to get the lead runner, but hurried and put the ball into the left field corner, allowing two unearned runs to score and tie the game up at 3-3. The Broncos had taken the lead in the bottom of the third off of an RBI from Turcotte when he sacrifice bunted Jairus Hampton in and McCoy Pearce’s RBI single that plated Jesse Watson (Centennial), who had singled to put Hampton in scoring position.
Gonzales settled down after that and allowed only two more hits over his final four innings, including three up-three down through the fourth, fifth and sixth. Turcotte picked up the win in relief by finishing the final three innings, allowing three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
NMMI benefitted in the bottom of the 10th when an Otero runner left too soon on a sac-fly to right field that may have provided the winning run, but the heads-up Broncos doubled him off of third to end the inning with the rare double play.
On Friday, Parker Bateman faced the minimum number of batters in the opener, allowing three hits and a walk while benefitting from several double plays to keep the Rattlers at bay. Bateman collected six strikeouts and Matthew Marquez (Albuquerque-Atrisco) picked up the win in game two for the Broncos, going the distance while scattering seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
With the sweep, the Broncos move to 6-2 on the young season and gave Cook his 100th win as a college head coach, all at NMMI. The program is on an upswing with eight Division-I transfers last year and made the regional playoffs. NMMI will host Garden City for a four-game series this coming weekend in a Friday and Saturday doubleheader starting at noon on both days.
NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco baseball team opened up their junior college season with a pair of home wins against Colby Community College, 11-10 and 13-3.
Game 1 was an extra-inning affair, with NMMI earning the walk-off win after a lead-off triple by Angel Colon to start off the bottom of the 10th, then scoring three pitches later on a passed ball.
Bronco ace Parker Bateman had rocky start, walking or hitting the first three Trojan batters, but he battled back and gave up just a single run in the inning despite the bases-loaded start.
“Bateman’s going to be better than he threw today,” said head Bronco coach Chris Cook. “He’s been good all fall. He just got off to a bad start and put himself in a hole. We were able to bail him out, but his pitch count got so elevated he couldn’t stay in the game.”
NMMI’s first at-bat was a foretaste of what they would do to all afternoon against Colby pitching. The Broncs collected five hits in the bottom of the first, scoring four runs. They finished Game 1 with sixteen hits, five for extra bases, including Colon’s triple and a solo dinger by Jordan Williams to tie things up at 9-9 in the bottom of the seventh, forcing the game into extra innings.
“We hit – we hit all day,” said Cook. “That forced them to try and do some things differently on the mound and that put us in better hitting counts and created some walks.”
Soph journeyman Cub Turcotte began the day playing second base for the Broncos, but got the win in relief holding the Trojans hitless and scoreless for the final three innings.
In Game 2, the Bronco offense continued to roll, batting almost .500 with nine hits in just four innings including a double, triple and three homeruns. The offensive onslaught helped end the game early due to the ten-run rule.
True freshman Matt Marquez got the start and the complete-game win – the first of his juco career – throwing all five innings with five strikeouts while scattering six Colby hits and two walks.
Cook was cautiously pleased with his club’s Day 1 performance, noting a few areas where he’d like to see improvement.
“We’re happy to get two wins against a well-coached team,” said Cook. “We played solid defense with just one error although we weren’t as crisp defensively as I’d hoped. Can’t complain about a 2-0 start. We’ve just got to find some answers in the bullpen and find some answers on the mound.”
The two teams will take the field again tomorrow for another pair of games with the first pitch scheduled for 12:00 P.M.
NMMI Sports Press
The Colt basketball team is still searching for their first district win after losing 60-49 to visiting Ruidoso.
The game was much tighter than the final score – the two teams battled to a 16-14 Warrior lead at the end of the first period.
NMMI allowed Ruidoso to score the first nine points in the game before storming back to take a one-point lead, 12-11, after an assist by Hector Reynolds gave Dillon Reynolds an uncontested inside bucket.
Point guard Jesus Luy put up six points in the Colt run with two-for-two shooting from behind the arc.
The second period, however, belonged to the Warriors. They streaked out to a five-point lead to open the quarter, led by as much as 12 halfway through, then went into the locker room with a nine point lead, 31-22.
In the third, NMMI managed to get back to within four points with easy inside shots after breaking the Warrior press, but fell behind once against when Ruidoso dropped the press in favor of a 2-3 zone.
NMMI shot well enough from the outside to win the third, 14-13, but still found themselves down by eight, 44-36, heading into the fourth and final period.
Another Warrior run to start the fourth again had the Colts trailing by 12, but the Colts answered back with seven points by Luy on a free throw and a pair of treys, and another inside score for two by Fausto Baranzini.
With less than two minutes left in the game, the Colts trailed by just three, 50-47.
That was as close as NMMI could get, as Colt shots from the outside missed their mark while Ruidoso hit their foul shots down the stretch to keep the game out of reach.
Top scorer for the Colts was Luy with 17. Baranzini had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Reynolds had 12 points and 5 boards, and Reyna led in assists with eight.
The loss put NMMI at 2-16 on the season and 0-4 in conference, but head coach Christian Stevens knows they are improving with every game.
“We happen to be a really good group,” said Stevens. “We put in a lot of work and we play really hard but because we lack experience, we don’t necessarily know how to get a lead, hold a lead or keep a game close. We’re always playing from behind, trying to scrap. All the games we’ve lost, they are all winnable, it’s just habits that come back to haunt us.”
Despite the loss, Coach Stevens was happy with the Colts’ shooting.
“On the offensive side, we shot the ball well. We’re not normally a good three-point shooting team, but we found a way to make it work and put up [almost] 50 points. It was just nice to see results from what we do in practice,” he said.
At times, he was also pleased with their defense.
“Our execution of defense was great at moments. There were a few lapses, but they did the things we asked them to do. I also thought the defensive effort from Christian Padilla was great. Our game plan was to put him on their best player and he did a nice job helping with contain.”
Next up for the Colts will be another district contest at home vs. Hope Christian at 7 P.M. on Feb. 7.
NMMI Sports Press
It wasn’t easy and went down to the wire, but the Bronco basketball team picked up their second straight conference win 56-54 over visiting Frank Phillips College.
The Plainsmen walked into NMMI’s Cahoon Armory gym with an 11-11 record overall record and 0-8 in the conference.
One of those losses was on their home court to the Broncos, 91-64, in both team’s first conference game of the season back on Nov. 30.
So it was a bit of a surprise when the two teams played to a 24-24 tie at the end of the half.
“FPC came in hungry – they wanted their first win and we came out a little flat,” explained NMMI head coach Ralph Davis.
The first points of the game went to Frank Phillips on a three-pointer by Isaiah Palmer, who finished with 17 to lead all scorers.
The Plainsmen held that lead until the 12:32 mark when DeMarco Enoch put NMMI up for the first time, 13-12, hitting both the shot and the free throw to complete the and-one.
Another FPC three at 6:06 gave the Plainsmen a four-point lead, 22-18, but NMMI quickly tied things back up with an inside bucket by Lenny Kadisha, and two more shots from the charity stripe from Enoch.
At the start of the second the Broncos went on a 6-1 run to go up 34-29.
The Plainsmen caught up just as quickly with their own run and surged ahead again by four thanks to fouls, made free throws and six points by Palmer.
Back-to-back treys by Bronco guard Maurice Coleman put NMMI back on top 40-39, with just under 12 minutes left in regulation.
After that, FPC never lead again, although they did manage to tie the score four more times.
The game was back-and-forth after that until the final minute of play, with neither team able to hold more than a slim one-point margin.
NMMI tied their largest lead of the game – five points – with just 17 seconds left on the clock, after Will Sessoms got a long defensive rebound and was fouled trying to dribble up court on the fast break.
He drained both charity shots and it looked like the game was well in hand at 54-49.
But then the Broncos did the unthinkable – they fouled the FPC player going up for the shot. The two-pointer was good, as was the ensuing foul shot, making it 54-52 with 11 seconds left.
FPC was forced to foul and Coleman went to the line for the Broncos on the double bonus. He sunk both to put the game out of reach and get NMMI the win.
Two players had double figured in points for the Broncos, Enoch and Coleman with 12. Enoch also got the double-double with 10 rebounds.
Coach Davis was happy with the win and his team’s defensive play, but concerned about their scoring.
“For the time being, it feels good to get the win,” he said. “We’ve won three out of the last four conference games, which starts to put us in the thick of things. Defensively, we know as long as we compete we can stop teams from scoring, but we need to play better offensively. We’ve got some big games coming up – Odessa College at home – and 56 [points] won’t get it done. We’ve simply got to play better on offense.”
That home game vs. Odessa is set for Monday, Feb. 6 at 6:30 P.M. in the Cahoon Armory.
NMMI Sports Press
Senior Sierra Walker had an outstanding night with 21 points for NMMI, including 13 in the second period, helping the Lady Colts overcome a 9-7 Lady Bulldog lead at the end of the first.
At halftime, the Lady Colts led 22-18, slightly extended that lead by one after a low-scoring third, 27-22, then won the fourth quarter as well, 12-8.
Solid defense was a determining factor in the contest, with Institute players pulling down 28 rebounds and picking up 20 steals.
With the victory, NMMI finishes their abbreviated season – which ends early because they don’t compete in district – with a 9-7 overall record and four wins in their last five games.