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Coyotes sweep Robertson with one hitter

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Roswell’s Taymon Burrola gets ready to hit against the Robertson Cardinals as the Coyotes won, 10-0 and 3-0 on Tuesday at Joe Bauman Field. (Marcus Gonzales Photo)

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What a difference a year makes. Roswell has a new coach and a new attitude — with first-year coach Tyrell Curtis at the helm. Curtis has Roswell playing aggressive, situational baseball. The Coyotes used one-hit pitching by senior Drew Graham to sweep Robertson Cardinals, 10-0 in a mercy-rule game and 3-0 in the second game at Joe Bauman Field Tuesday.

“I’m really happy about our team,” Curtis said. “This team has won one more game than they won last year. We are on a path we’ve been preaching for a while. It’s really the same kids and they’re just starting to figure it out. If you would have asked me when I took this job if we were going to be 8-2 in 10 games, I don’t know if I would have said that.”

In game one, Graham used his bat instead of his arm as he went 2-for-2 and knocked in a pair of runs as Roswell erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Graham’s hits staked the Coyotes to an 8-0 lead.

Junior pitcher Israel Garcia, making his first start of the season, pitched shutout baseball as he picked up his first win of the season. Garcia surrendered three hits and struck out three in five innings of work.

“That was Israel Garcia’s first start of the year,” Curtis said. “His first complete game and he threw strikes — that’s all we ask. We ask our pitchers to give us a chance.”

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The second game was much more competitive. In the first inning, Xavier Gonzales drew a walk to open the game. Rhett Stokes struck out swinging as the catcher dropped the ball — Gonzales advanced and was able to make it to third base when Stokes beat the throw out to first base. Taymon Burrola hit a sharp ground ball to shortstop and threw to first base allowing Gonzales to score on a fielder’s choice to give the Coyotes a 1-0 lead in the first.

Roswell played aggressive baseball in the bottom of the fifth-inning when Alexander Palomino was hit by a pitch. Roswell’s next batter, Brady Villegas, hit the ball to the second baseman and instead of trying to turn a double play, he threw the ball to first base allowing Palomino to be safe at second.

When the catcher tried to throw behind him at second base, Palomino ran over the second baseman and moved on to third base as the ball rolled to short centerfield. Roswell sent Gonzales up and he hit the ball to the Robertson shortstop, with Palomino running on contact and the shortstop fielded it and short-hopped the ball to home plate as the catcher could not come up with the ball cleanly allowing Palomino’s score to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead.

“All we’re asking the kids to do is give us a chance in the end,” Curtis said. “Besides one game, everything is right there. We teach them to put the ball in play — if we do that, we can make things happen. We teach our kids to play the game hard and understand what situations are. Make every out count for something and make the defense get us out and not get ourselves out.”

In the sixth inning, Taymon Burrola led off the inning with a double and then his brother, Tarren Burrola, hit a hard grounder that took a big hop over the third baseman’s head for a base hit as the Coyotes had runners on first and third. Roswell batter Andrew Sedillo hit a sacrifice fly to left field scoring Taymon Burrola to give them a 3-0 lead.

Graham was sharp on the hill keeping hitters off balance by mixing his fastball and curveball. Graham threw less than 50 pitches and felt better than he did at this point last season. Graham injured his knee last year and had a hard time overcoming the injury. Graham struck out seven batters and gave up one hit.

“I was throwing my four-seam fastball,” Graham said. “My curveball was working well. Last year, I was coming off of a knee injury, so this year, I’m a lot more healthy.”

Roswell is ranked No. 8 in 5A according to Max Preps.

Roswell will play in Portales at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.