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Local star adjusts to military life

Former Roswell baseball star Gabriel Perez Torres is adjusting to military school and collegiate baseball. (J.T. Keith Photo)

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Coming from the resurgent baseball program at Roswell, former Coyote baseball star Gabriel Perez Torres has gone from a carefree teenager to a regimented military scholar athlete.

Torres, a freshman shortstop, feels like the improved competition, and being coached by a staff that can devote their energies full time to the players, will improve his chance to graduate college and play at the next level.

“I’m looking forward to the season,” Torres said. “I choose New Mexico Military Institute to be close to my mother (Lillian Torres). My mom has been a big part of my life, and NMMI was going to be better than any other school I could choose”

Torres’ day starts at 5:30 a.m., with wake up and a 6 a.m., formation to start a regimented day. In his day, it will include classes, study table and practice. Torres feels the academics are a lot more demanding at NMMI than in high school. Torres has learned that being a part of the military, he alone is responsible for his actions in the classroom, on the baseball diamond, and in life.

“In high school, I didn’t take care of my grades like I should have,” Torres said. “In high school, I would play video games and waste a lot of time, but not here. I like it and think it is cool.”

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Torres loves being a part of the NMMI baseball team and the discipline of the military. It took time to get used to doing things in a military manner. Torres would like to improve his game and academics and wants to stay another year at NMMI.

“I have some good competition here if I want to play,” Torres said. “I’m going to bust my tail to play.”

One of Torres’ favorite memories of playing baseball at Roswell was taking batting practice, and everyone on the team participating in the team’s home run derby contest. Torres credits that event in helping the Coyotes make the playoffs his senior year.

“Roswell coach Carlos Marrujo has done a good job since he has taken over the program,” NMMI head baseball coach Chris Cook said. “Torres may be the biggest surprise of the fall of all the newcomers. In terms of how he is performing, usually it takes time to adjust to the speed of the game and the different demands of the game. He has started separating himself from a few other guys and put himself in a position to be a guy looking at a lot of at-bats this spring.”

Torres is not there alone as a freshman, joining him from Roswell’s baseball team is, Garrison “Bear” Kyser, Nick Palomino and Brandon Evans.