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Roswell’s young and restless baseball team

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Roswell senior pitcher Carlitos Montoya allowed three runs as his team defeated Taos 7-3 on Saturday at Goddard in the Southwest Baseball Classic. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

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All Roswell’s baseball coach Carlos Marrujo has done in his two years at the helm, is get it done. Marrujo has guided his RHS teams to two district playoffs. Last year with seven seniors, the team went on a winning streak just to make it into district playoffs. One of their biggest wins of the year was a 1-0 upset over rival Artesia at Joe Bauman Field in the second game of a doubleheader.

Coming into this year, no one expected anything but a rebuild.

Coach Marrujo has other plans.

With a team of seven freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors, and three seniors, look for growing pains because of being such a young team — everyone on this team plays.

Senior Victor Bolanos was called upon to pinch-hit on Saturday, in their 7-3 win over Taos at Goddard High School in the Southwest Baseball Classic.

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“The first win is always the hardest to get,” Roswell coach Marrujo said. “With the youth we have, that’s big for us. That hopefully will get us moving on to the rest of the season. We had a couple of chances early in the season that we just didn’t finish.”

“Carlitos (Montoya) threw a heck of a game,” Marrujo said. “68 pitches through seven innings, you can’t ask for anything better than that from a senior to show. I thought he threw very, very well. He gave us a chance to win, he kept the ball down. They (Taos) didn’t catch up to us until the sixth inning. Montoya had such a low pitch count that we had to keep going with him.”

On the mound for the Coyotes was Montoya, who was in command of the game, until he ran into trouble in the sixth inning, in that inning Taos scored three runs off of him after seeing him for the third time. Montoya had his fastball and knuckleball working and threw both pitches effectively. He was aided by several defensive gems by freshman shortstop Rhett Stokes.

“Pitching junior varsity and varsity is the same,” Montoya said. “You have to hit your spots. My fastball today was working and so was my knuckleball. I’m comfortable throwing either pitch. My goal this year is to lead the lead team for next year, and to win.”

Coach Marrujo expects his team to be able to play hard and compete, despite their youth. Each day he and his coaches work with the team on situational baseball and baseball knowledge. He knows that a lot of things he can teach his team will not register until they confront the situations in the field. Marrujo can live with the growing pains of mistakes as long as his team plays the game the right way and hard.

“We’re young,” Marrujo said. “You can tell when we bat, we don’t swing with power. We hit for contact right now until we can get a little bit stronger and a little bit older and more mature. When we do we will be able to jump on pitches earlier in the count.”

Freshman Raul Guzman has the team’s second-highest batting average, early in the season. He is also counting on big things from Saturday’s winning pitcher. Montoya pitched junior varsity last season.

“Last year, we had five seniors starting,” Marrujo said. “We used him in relief last year; he did get a lot of reps at the junior varsity level. We knew he was someone we could use for this year. Coming into the season, he’s a sleeper and no one knows too much about him. He’s going to help us out a lot and give us an opportunity to win games.”

Freshman Brady Villegas broke open a 0-0 tie in the third inning. Villegas hit a shot to third base, and the third baseman made an error as Villegas was safe at first. Taos’ pitcher threw wildly to first base as Villegas moved to second base.

On the next pitch, Villegas stole third base. Coyotes’ Noah Byrd and Stokes both were walked to load the bases. Up next came Xavier Lomeli and on a 2-0 count. Lomeli hit a smash over third base to score two runs, giving Roswell a 2-0 lead. In the fourth inning, Roswell scored three runs and in the fifth added two more to win their first victory of the season, 7-3.

“I had just been in a slump the past four days,” Xavier Lomeli said. “I finally found my sweet spot. I look for the first pitch if it is perfect than I try to take it. I try to be aggressive at the plate.

Roswell will play Lovington at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Artesia Invitational.

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