NMMI assistant baseball coach Steve Rogers talks with his battery — catcher Jake Guerrero, center, and pitcher Gavin Maloney — during the Colts’ state quarterfinal matchup against Hope Christian on May 11 in Rio Rancho. (NMMI Sports Press Photo)
The Colt baseball team may not have won the Class 4A state title, but they’re well represented when it comes to post-season honors.
Six NMMI players were named to the 4-4A All-District team, led by seniors and future Broncos Jake Guerrero and Michel Hinojos as well as junior Gavin Maloney with first-team selections.
“Our district was unbelievable,” said coach Charlie Ward. “We talked about them all season, with Moriarty, Hope, Ruidoso and Portales. Some great kids. We have a lot of respect for each program and each player on these all-district teams.”
Guerrero made the team as a catcher, Hinojos as an infielder and Maloney as a pitcher and outfielder.
“Those guys, you can’t say enough about them,” Ward said. “Key players on our team. They represented the team extremely well.
“Gavin, we have another year with him and it’s going to be exciting to have him back. What a gamer. What a player. So we look forward to having Gavin back. But Jake and Michel, what about them? They get to play college baseball for the Broncos and coach (Chris) Cook. We’re tickled pink to see them play this game of baseball. All those guys — they’re well deserved all-district.”
Three other Colts made the honorable mention squad: juniors Connor Roe, an infielder/utility player; Francisco Rivera, shortstop and catcher; and sophomore Alejandro Lopez, a second baseman/shortstop.
The Colts will also be well represented at the annual 1A-4A North-South All-Star baseball series in Rio Rancho Friday and Saturday.
Not only will Guerrero and Hinjos be competing, but Ward will helm the South team.
The two easily made the squad on first-team ballots, “So we’re very proud they had that opportunity,” Ward said.
They join three seniors from Portales and Ruidoso and one each from Moriarty and Hope Christian, along with players from Capitan, Cobre, Floyd, Lordsburg, Santa Rosa, Silver and Tularosa.
And Ward, who’s coached the North-South squad twice before, is equally excited about coaching the “Dirty South” against the North.
“We’re going to represent this league and the North-South as best we can,” he said. “We’ll play with class and we’ll respect the game, but they’re called “Dirty South.”
With several of his coaching staff tied up and unable to attend the all-star festivities, Ward will bring assistant coach Steve Rogers, as well as invite other district coaches to join in the fun competition.
“I’m trying to ask any of the coaches from our district, because I have a lot of respect for those coaches and if they want to help it would make it awesome,” he said. “I’m going to have such great memories.”
The New Mexico High School Coaches Association sponsors the all-star weekend, which will be held at Rio Rancho High School. The three-game series is set for 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.
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