Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Bronco baseball coach Chris Cook didn’t have to look far to pick up two players for next year’s team, and he hopes it’s a trend that will continue in the future.
Just before they headed off to the high school state tournament, Colts Michel Hinojos and Jake Guerrero signed to play for the college squad, continuing their playing careers with NMMI.
“It’s exciting,” Cook said. “They’re getting ready for state so obviously they’re good players on a good team. They’re well coached and guys who know what NMMI’s about. They’re familiar with our program and how we do things, and having guys who have the ability to play at our level and stay here at school is a big plus, so we’re excited about getting these two guys in.”
Both players see staying at NMMI as a way to further their goals of eventually playing for bigger schools.
“I’m just trying to get to the next step and I felt like this would open options to other colleges after I leave here,” said Guerrero, who’ll study sports management.
“I came back to play baseball, have a better education, do my best at academics and try to play DI, DII.” echoed Hinojos, who’s looking at a career as a civil engineer.
Guerrero, a Roswell native, played for the Colts as a freshman on the varsity team. Hinojos, who hails from Sonora, Mexico, started as a sophomore. They’ll be following in the footsteps of former Colt Francisco Galvez, who played for this year’s Bronco baseball team, and Cook hopes that’s something that will continue.
“Hopefully in the future we can grab more Colt players, and just keep this streak kind of going,” he said. “We’re excited about it and look forward to them and working with these guys.”
Hinojos pitched and played infield for the Colts. He batted .489 as a senior and was 7-4 on the bump. Cook is looking forward to seeing him hit.
“I really like the left-handed bat that he has,” the coach said. “I’d like to see him match up against college pitching on a daily basis and see what kind of power can develop out of his swing.”
Guerrero was a .461 hitter with a 2-2 record on the mound in 2017, and Cook sees him getting a chance to try a little bit of everything with the Broncos.
“Jake is kind of an interesting utility guy who has a big frame and I’d like to see him get in our weight room and see how much weight we can put on him,” he said. “Positionally, it’s hard to say because I know he’s caught, he’s played first, he’s pitched. We’re going to get him doing multiple positions next fall and really try to get him to put some meat on those bones and start getting him to drive the baseball. I think where he’s going to be 12 months from now, that’s what’s exciting.”
Colt coach Charlie Ward had nothing but praise for his senior signees.
“What an honor to coach Michel Hinojos for three years; Jake Guerrero for four years,” he said. “True leaders. True captains of the baseball team. Team players. Very competitive. They’ve worked hard for this team. They love the game of baseball and they understand playing at the next level is going to take a lot of hard work, but we’ve enjoyed it as coaches.”
Kim Guerrero, Jake’s mother, was happy for her son and excited that he’d still be playing ball at home.
“Both dad and I are very proud of Jake,” she said. “This has always been a goal of his, to play at the next level, and he’s worked hard and sacrificed a lot. So we’re very, very proud and excited that he’s going to play for coach Cook and the Broncos. Coach Cook has a great program and more than anything else, we’ll get to continue to watch him because we live in Roswell.”
Ward said the pair know what it will take to succeed at the next level.
“It’s hard work. It’s almost like a job,” he said. “It’s a business-type mentality, but we’re just proud of them that they want to play at the next level. We’re very honored to be a part of their lives, these past three or four years.”
And while the players thanked their parents, coaches and teammates for helping them advance, Kim Guerrero gave her son all the credit.
“He loves playing baseball. He just has a joy when he plays,” she said. “It’s just so much fun. I didn’t even have to play my mommy card. He made this decision all on his own. And we especially want to thank coach Ward and especially coach (Steve) Rogers. They’ve been such a positive influence on Jake.”