Goddard senior, Ty Villareal, threw a gem of a performance in a 6-1 win over the Los Alamos Toppers in the Rockets Invitational baseball tournament at the Launch Pad Friday afternoon.
Villareal threw a one-hit, three-walk game. The Toppers’ Jacob Castille broke up the no-no in their half of the sixth inning when his hit barely cleared the Rockets’ second baseman’s head and fell meekly into centerfield.
The Toppers never really hit the ball hard, but when they hit it, it was at someone, once Villareal got into his groove.
“I was hitting my spots well and executed the pitches. On the hit, I let the ball run over the plate and he hit it — it happens.”
However, Ty’s best pitch on the day was his fastball — he struck out 10 Toppers with the heater. Villareal took a no-hitter into the Los Alamos sixth — what were his thoughts?
“You try not to think about it — if you think about it, you’ll jinx it,” said Ty.
And his mom, who was the game’s scorekeeper in the booth, would not reveal to the media how her son was doing. “I’ll jinx it,” she said as she nervously documented Ty’s every pitch.
So did his teammates shy away from Ty as he came closer to accomplishing one of baseball’s most elusive feats?
“The guys (teammates) kept encouraging me. ‘We got your back, we got your back,’ and they did,” said Ty.
Ty’s father, and assistant coach Henry Villareal, said on his son’s performance, “I was really proud of him, he did what we asked of him. He threw strikes and put us in a position to win.”
The Rockets (6-2) begin to believe that Ty might have a special day, when he threw only nine pitches in a one, two, three — third inning. “We started to think they (Toppers) were not going to touch him today,” said Henry.
The Rockets were aided in the win with a combo of hits that put Goddard on the board in the first inning. Initially, Noah Nunez, got on base, followed by a screaming triple from Drew Price, driving Nunez home and a 1-0 lead.
Ty also helped his own cause by driving in two runs in this game.
“We had other guys who hit the ball on the barrel and right at someone,” said Rockets’ head coach Gilbert Alvarado. “We swung the bats pretty well today.”
After the Toppers broke up the no-hitter in the sixth, they scored their only run in their half of the seventh, on a couple of walks and an errant throw.
“My legs began to hurt a little bit, but we got through it,” said Ty, who went the distance.
“I went to the mound, and Ty said he felt great and said ‘Coach, give me a chance to finish it,’ and he did,” said Alvarado.
This early in the season, Alvarado wants to see his team “play smarter, in terms of game time situations. There are still some mental things that are not clicking. We stress to them that we need this quality of at-bat, or steal a base in this situation. Those are the kind of things we’re trying to get ironed out before district. Those are the plays that will make or break you in close games,” Alvarado said.
In the first round game on Thursday, the Rockets played Alvarado’s former team, the Ruidoso Warriors and beat them, 11-0.
“It’s always painful to beat on a program that you were a big part of. I am all Goddard now,” Alvarado emphasized.
The Rockets will play tonight at 7 p.m. at the Launch Pad.