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Ty Jordan keeps the dream going at Connie Mack

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Ty Jordan gets ready to deliver a pitch for Farmington Fuel this summer. (Submitted Photo)

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Editors note: This will be the second of a four-part series about Cameron Stevenson, Ty Jordan, Tyler Hardwick and Drew Price as they begin their quest to win the Connie Mack World Series. We will look at the teams they are on, their summer and their past baseball as well as the future.

One of the things Ty Jordan fans will notice right away is that his distinctive hair is gone. His coach at Otero made him cut his hair. Jordan has always wanted to do things his way, and a lot of times he has gone against the norm — that’s why he chose to go to Otero Junior College when many of his friends and fellow baseball players were going to New Mexico Military Institute to play baseball.

When he first got to college, he had to learn the pace of the game, which was a lot faster. At Roswell High School, he was the No.1 pitcher. One of the best memories of Jordan was when coach Carlos Marrujo III gave him the ball against Artesia, the No.1 ranked team in the district. Roswell needed to split to have a chance to make it into the playoffs his senior year. Jordan pitched a five-hitter and beat Artesia, 1-0 on the last day of the season to give them a playoff berth and help rival Goddard capture the district title.

One of the main differences between Otero and high school is usually there are only two good pitchers in high school, and at college, there are 14 pitchers and he has to pitch his best every practice or he might not see game time.

“One of the biggest differences is the pace is faster,” Jordan said. “I have to know more and the coaches here tell you how it is — they don’t sugar coat things. They will tell you ‘you’re messing up.’ They will tell you, ‘if you want to play, you have to get better.’ Things are black and white, which I don’t think is a bad thing.”

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He feels that he has learned so much baseball and played so many more games and that at school that is all he does — go to class, workout and play baseball. Outside of the missing hair, one of the most noticeable differences is his coaches have changed his arm slot and delivery slot. He is more of a sidearm and three-quarter arm slot when he pitches.

In high school, Jordan threw a fastball and curveball to go along with a cutter. Now he will throw a fastball, slider and changeup. His out pitch is his fastball away, but he will throw a curve ball if it is working. He will throw a curve to a left-hand hitter and to a right-hand hitter, he will throw an outside fastball.

Jordan’s fastball will start down the middle and tail to the outside part of the plate. One of the highlights of his college career is him striking out the side against Garden City. When he goes back to college, his coach is looking at him to stat instead of being a reliever. One of the things Jordan liked about playing college baseball is the intensity — if he has a bad practice, he might not play that weekend.

“I would say in college I’ve become a thinking man’s pitcher,” Jordan said.

Ty loves baseball and has a desire to play at the major league level and as a pitcher. He loves watching baseball with his great-grandfather Tom Jordan and his grandfather, Tommy Jordan Jr. He notices how they will tell him things about the game and pitchers as the game unfolds. Ty loves spending time with them and has felt the pressure of growing up as a Jordan.

“I’m trying to play baseball as long as I can,” Jordan said. “I would love to go to Metro State in Denver if I could. I feel like I need four or five miles more on my fastball. I try to model my game after Chris Sales.”

One of Ty’s favorite memories is when the St. Louis Historical Society flew him, his great-grandfather and grandfather along with his grandmother Sheila Jordan to St. Louis. He got a chance to talk to Don Larsen, the only pitcher to throw a perfect game in the World Series. Ty wants to excel in baseball and loves it more than anything, and if he didn’t love it, he wouldn’t play it.

“We’ve worked with Ty pitching-wise,”  Farmington Fuel coach Kim Carpenter noted. “We’ve introduced an off-speed pitch for him. He’s throwing a slider now as opposed to his breaking ball. His velocity has improved and he’s a strike thrower.”

Carpenter has Jordan throwing a changeup as well. In Jordan’s first year of college, his pitches were either fastball or curveball. Carpenter has worked with him on dropping down his arm slot and trying to get him to throw his slider away from the hitter instead of him throwing his curveball. Jordan will be used as a short reliever on this team. Jordan is starting to get better as a pitcher and is finding his sweet spot as a pitcher.

One of the reasons this is so important to the players to be able to play in the Connie Mack World Series is the opportunities to be seen by colleges and major league scouts. Jordan feels like he is learning how to be a pitcher instead of a thrower. He is learning location, pace and pitching in and out in the strike zone, while knowing how to pitch against righties and lefties.

“I’m glad I came to Otero,” Jordan said. “I don’t have any regrets coming here. I really like this school and just playing the best baseball all fall and spring has been really nice.”

Jordan wants to major in economics and go into law school when he is done playing baseball. He would like to practice business transactions in law. Jordan got interested in economics when he took an economics class his senior year, and that made him want to get into the law side of economics. He wants to live in Colorado when he is done playing baseball.

“I want to play baseball as long as I can,” Jordan said. “I want to play two years here and then play at another school. I want to play in the major leagues if I can. I think I have gotten so much better as a baseball player now than when I was in college.”

For the players that get into the Connie Mack World Series, it is the experience of a lifetime. There are no losers. Four Hall of Famers have played on those fields, plus over 300 major league baseball players have played in the Connie Mack World Series. Last year alone, they had 36 College World Series participants and one umpire — Connie Mack is a big deal.

“Ken Griffey Jr., remembers Farmington as one of his favorite baseball moments in his entire career,” Carpenter said. “It’s a huge deal when you have 60,000 people going through the gates throughout the week.”

The town will put on a week’s worth of special events by hosting a parade of between 5,000 and 8,000 people. They will enjoy team barbecues with the team hosting team photo shoots and special events with a Home Run Derby in which Stevenson will compete in on Thursday.

There will be a total of 17 teams. The host team, Farmington Fuel (Stevenson and Jordan) will get a bye. The host team will wait for 10 teams to come out of pool play. There will be two teams from each pool and one at-large team making it a 10-team tournament. Stevenson and Jordan will play at 7:30 p.m on Aug. 6.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.