Home Sports Local Sports Connie Mack World Series will turn friend against friend

Connie Mack World Series will turn friend against friend

Former Goddard graduate Cameron Stevenson is playing baseball in Farmington this summer. His team, the Farmington Fuel will try to win the Connie Mack World Series starting Aug. 6. (Alan Stevenson Photo)

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Editors note: This is the first of a four-part series about players from Roswell at the Connie Mack World Series. Players featured in this series include Cameron Stevenson, Ty Jordan, Tyler Hardwick and Drew Price. We will look at how they were selected to play on the teams they are on, their summer and their past baseball as well as the future.

4-Corners Club Sox (18U) will have former Goddard pitcher Tyler Hardwick (New Mexico Military Institute right-handed pitcher and outfielder) and current Rocket pitcher Drew Price (senior at Goddard) representing Mountain West/Canada Regional.

Farmington Fuel, 31-9, is the Host Team. They will play at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Ricketts Park against an at-large team. The team includes Cameron Stevenson, outfielder, shortstop for University of New Mexico, and Ty Jordan, Otero Junior College left-handed pitcher.

Former alliances don’t mean anything when the Connie Mack World Series gets underway at 9 a.m on Friday. Goddard has players in Drew Price and Tyler Hardwick representing 4-Corners Club Sox. One teammate will be Emilio Pardo, an infielder from Farmington High School, a team that beat Goddard in the state championship game, 5-3, at Isotopes Park.

Both Price and Hardwick could be on the hill and could face former teammate Cameron Stevenson. Stevenson will team with former Roswell rival Ty Jordan, as well as Farmington’s Danny Carpenter, Isaiah Jaramillo, Ian Kee, Marcus Maldonado, Lane Hagstrom, Joseph Mlhelich and Elijah Attson. Interesting dynamics could play out at as both teams hope to win the prestigious Connie Mack World Series.

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“It’s basically me and Ty versus Drew and Tyler,” Stevenson said. “I’m not too worried about it. I just don’t like to face my ex-teammates. We went all the way up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and were the only two teams from Farmington and we ended up playing each other. I would rather play other teams because we have played them a couple of times. I just want to see some different teams.”

So far in this summer of baseball Stevenson has yet to face any of his teammates at the plate. He feels it is harder to hit off of them and doesn’t know why. Stevenson has had a great summer playing baseball and has worked on his technique and footwork at shortstop. He felt like he made too many errors (10) at shortstop as a senior and he wants to cut down on them.

Stevenson was originally recruited to UNM as an outfielder, but after coach Ray Birmingham saw him play this summer, Birmingham told Stevenson if he worked at it he could play the shortstop position at UNM. Stevenson feels up for the challenge because he has played at shortstop his whole life.

In order to get ready for fall camp, he has used this summer to take ground balls and worked on getting his feet under him when he throws the ball. This past year, the ball would sail on him when he threw it to first base. At the plate, he continues to hit for power by hitting four home runs — one of them a grand slam this summer. Between this past baseball season and summer, he has hit 10 home runs with two of them grand slams.

“This is something new for me,” Stevenson said. “I’ve only heard about playing in the Connie Mack — I have never done it, so I’m excited because it is the biggest 18U World Series in the United States.”

Stevenson’s goal and dream is to make it to the major leagues and he knows that he has to put in the work. He knows that Division I baseball will be a different ballgame. UNM starts school on Aug. 20 and fall ball will start the 26th.

“I’m a competitor,” Stevenson said. “If someone is better than me I want to go take their spot. I know there are going to be guys better than me, and that drives me, even more, to be great. It is almost to my advantage from my mental outlook.”

Stevenson and Jordan have always been friends, but being on the Fuel and rooming together, both have used this time to bond while they go fishing on off days. They have gone from being friends to best friends.

Farmington Fuel has been around since 2006. As the kids have gotten older, the team has been all local boys. They realized to compete at the Connie Mack level and try to win the championship they would have to have help.

Fuel coach Kim Carpenter knew of Stevenson because of his play in high school, as his son Danny (Carpenter) is the second baseman for Farmington. The University of New Mexico baseball coach contacted Carpenter about placing Stevenson on one of his teams to get him to work in the summer, to keep him sharp for winter ball.

“He ( Stevenson) has been living with us this summer,” Carpenter said. “He’s been an outstanding asset for us. Ty (Jordan) was picked up as a result of us looking for guys that could help us in a five-tool tournament in the New Mexico games. Stevenson reached out to Ty, who had just come from Otero Junior College. He’s been another one that has been a great asset to us.”

Carpenter believes that Stevenson is an outstanding athlete, and feels he’s very coachable and athletic. He believes Stevenson will go on and do great things.

“For the summer what I have been working with the players are the college preparation,” Carpenter stated. “I’m a former NCAA head baseball coach. These guys are fundamentally sound, but what we try to do is work on the mental aspect of the game. We teach a lot of what they are going to experience at the college level.”

Carpenter believes playing college is more mental than physical, and that’s why competing in the Connie Mack World Series is invaluable to athletes 18 and under. Carpenter believes if a player can self-coach himself about his swing or why he is in a slump, he can stay even-keeled and make adjustments before anyone can tell him what he’s doing wrong.

No matter what the future holds for Stevenson, he expects big things out of himself and he is willing to work for them to the best of his ability. He starts with the goal of winning the Connie Mack World Series at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

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