Home Sports Local Sports Goddard looks to avoid getting swept by Bulldogs

Goddard looks to avoid getting swept by Bulldogs

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Shawn Naranjo Photo Goddard’s Drew Price throws a strike in this file photo earlier this season at the Launch Pad. Price looks to hold Artesia in check as he starts the first game of a doubleheader today.

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If you’re a Goddard baseball parent or fan, and you just read the headline, you’re saying what? I know April Fool’s Day was the first day of the month, but the Roswell Daily Record sports writer has to quit playing and keep it real.

OK. The real is on April 25, 2017, when Goddard went up to Brainard Park and got beat down, 5-2 in the first game and shutout, 4-0 in the second game. In fact, the Bulldogs have always given the Rockets a tough time. It took a 1-0 upset by rival Roswell on April 28, 2017, to give them the title on the last day of the season.

When facing Artesia this season in the Rio Rancho tournament, it hasn’t been a bed of roses either. Goddard won, 3-2. Goddard is the No.1 ranked team in the state and Artesia is ranked No. 5.

“Artesia is always tough,” Matt Shanor said. “They beat us twice down there last year. But we’re looking to take a couple from them this year.”

Look for the Rockets to throw their ace Drew Price to gain momentum. Price has a fastball at or close to 90 mph, with a devasting split-finger fastball.

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“I just want to go in there and focus,” Price said, “and get things done. I just want to trust the process inning by inning. I’ve worked on hitting and arm strength this season.”

Artesia (10-7, 3-0) will counter with their ace JR Bustamante. Bustamante has a good breaking ball to go along with a fastball in the mid-80s. Bulldogs’ coach JJ Ortiz will expect a close game based on how the teams have played each other in the past. Aaron Natera has a team-high, leading four home runs and 22 RBIs for them and a batting average of .364.

Goddard (12-2,2-0) has come up with a new term called “the process.” Coach Gilbert Alvarado feels like baseball is such a long season and he doesn’t want his players to feel bad for hitting .375, instead of focusing on the little things that will lead to the big picture and wins.

“Artesia is a really solid team,” Alvarado said. “They don’t kick the ball around. It’s going to be competitive and hard, but that’s kind of what we’re looking for. I think the guys enjoy those games better than the 16-2 wins. Those games you can turn the engine off and coast, but in the one-run games, I think our boys enjoy the competition.”

Alvarado has broken the process down for his players in that baseball is a game where it can crush a player mentally, with all the failure a player deals with each time they play the game. Baseball is a sport where a player can do everything right and still make an out. Even if a player gets a hit three out of 10 times, they’ve still failed, yet they are batting over .300.

“I try to remind my players that baseball is a mental game,” Alvarado said. “This is not like a weekend getaway. Other sports you can get a break, but for baseball, it is every day, every day, so you have to have your mind right when you play the game.”