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Roswell’s teams shock opponents

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Carlitos Montoya gets back to base safely as Artesia’s catcher tries to get the pickoff Tuesday at Joe Bauman Stadium. (Shawn Naranjo Photo)

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Roswell coach Carlos Marrujo III believed, even when his team was making mistakes and using the excuse they were young. What proof did he have that his team could contend for the district title this year with a bunch of freshman and sophomores and only two seniors? Nothing, but his gut and the evidence that they played state champions and rival Goddard tough for the four innings of their game on Tuesday.

The win against Lovington when they had to battle back did wonders for their confidence, especially when they could have just packed it in the second game when they were behind. These scrappy young players scrapped and scraped together enough hits from freshman Rhett Stokes and junior Drew Graham stood tall on the hill to pitch a complete game against visiting Artesia to stun them with a 5-0 victory on Tuesday at Joe Bauman Stadium.

“Drew (Graham) gave us a chance to win,” Marrujo III said. “He (Graham) threw the ball well and let (the) wind put it in play. Like I said, I know my team can play with anybody. If I didn’t think they could do it, they wouldn’t be up here on the varsity level.”

It wasn’t the win the Coyotes expected to win if they expected to win at all. It was a triple by Stokes to drive in a run, another triple by Stokes in another inning to drive in another run and then it was defensive gems in the field when the Bulldogs had men on base.

The biggest surprise of the night was Graham. Graham has had some rough outings before this one, and tonight everything came together. One of the reasons Graham pitched so well is that he is healthy. Tonight, he mixed in his fastball, curveball and changeup to keep Artesia off balance. Graham was able to work quick and get the Bulldog hitters to fly out.

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“My curveball was working decent,” Graham said. “I was working in and out with my fastball. I knew my team had my back and they made some good catches in the left and right field. I feel good after having knee surgery on Dec. 5. I can finally push off on it and my knee feels good.”

The second game of the doubleheader saw Roswell leave nine baserunners on base, with the bases loaded twice, and then committing five errors in a 9-5 loss.

“Hopefully, we can take that (momentum) we have tonight,” Marrujo III said, “and keep it going against Goddard on Friday.”

Roswell will face Goddard at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Joe Bauman Stadium.

Roswell Softball

Game 1 Lovington 6, Roswell 4,

Game 2 Roswell 4, Lovington 3

Roswell High’s Alexa Archuleta swings on a throw for a hit that would end up being a home run in the first game of a doubleheader against Lovington Tuesday in Roswell. (Toby Martinez Photo)

Almost doesn’t count, not even in horseshoes, and that’s what Roswell softball coach Art Sandoval was telling his team after their first game against the No. 2 team in the state. Sandoval gave his team some tough love as they took a knee and had all their eyes focused on him.

“We believe in you as coaches,” Sandoval told his team. “We shouldn’t have to tell you to get up and cheer on your teammates when they’re hitting. Or to do this or that. Alexa (Archuleta) good job, nice hit. Way to hang in there and get us some runs. I expect that out of you. Go hug your parents, get a drink and come back, and get yourselves ready to go — we are going to knock off the No. 2 team in the state in Lovington this second game.”

Sandoval might have been a prophet because that is exactly what his team did in the second game of the doubleheader. The Lady Coyotes were down 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Krissa Mesquita flies out to second base, Alexa Archuleta singled up the middle and on the next pitch, she steals second base. Pinch-hitter Valaree Manzanarez pops out to second base, but the second baseman drops the ball, with Archuleta running all the way. She scores to tie the game up at 3-3.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Racquel Gonzalez is hit by a pitch and goes to first base. Coach Sandoval uses a pinch runner for her and puts in Gabriella Garza. Victoria Sandoval lays down a perfect scarce bunt and moves Garza to second base. Mikenzey Patterson flies out to left field, bringing up Nayelli Morales as she hits a walk-off double that two hops the centerfield fence to score the winning run as the Coyotes upset the No. 2 team in the state, the Lovington Wildcats.

“This is a huge win for us,” coach Sandoval said. “It was a total team effort where everybody contributed. Teams have to watch out for us — we have our momentum back. I couldn’t be happier for these kids. I’ve never seen our kids smile that big before.”

Roswell (6-13, 1-3) is at home at 4:30 p.m. on Friday against Goddard.

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