Roswell’s first-year baseball coach, Tyrell Curtis, knew when he took the job, he had his work cut out. Curtis took over a job in which the Coyotes had made the playoffs the last three years to only lose in the first road to cross-town rival Goddard.
Roswell finished last season, 7-21 and 4-8 in district. Roswell started the season hot going 10-2 and then suffered through a six-game losing streak when district play began. Coach Curtis tried different lineups and wanted to get back to what helped them win early in the season. He wanted them to play aggressive, situational baseball.
The Coyotes in their last home game of the year and wearing black uniforms sent senior Drew Graham to the hill. Roswell received timely hitting from Rhett Stokes, Xavier Lomeli, Brady Villegas, Hunter Myers-Palma, Raul Guzman and Taymon Burrola all had two hits or played a hand in helping the Coyotes to score as they defeated Clovis, 8-0 Thursday at Joe Bauman Stadium.
“I think Drew (Graham) threw a heck of a game,” Curtis said. “It was his last home game, he couldn’t do any better. We finally got 13 wins. No matter what happens from here on out, we won’t have a losing season.”
Graham gave up a single to the first batter and then shut down the side. Graham went all seven innings and gave up five hits while striking out 10 batters the last three on 103 pitches to end the game in the last inning. Graham used his fastball all game long and when he got ahead of the hitters with two strikes on them, he would throw his curveball, which froze hitters in the batter’s box.
“My field did a lot of good work,” Graham said. “I think we came out mentally prepared, we knew we could win and that gave us confidence. I’m glad I got another chance to pitch at home, after our loss to Carlsbad last week; I didn’t know if I would pitch at home again. I wanted to go out with something good and have a good memory since it was my last time.”
Graham is the team’s unofficial barber. He cuts his teammates hair, he would like to continue playing baseball. Once his career is over, he would like to be a barber. Thus, his teammates call him “barber.”
Roswell scored two runs in the first inning when Taymon Burrola was hit by a pitch, and then Rhett Stokes hit a base hit to right field scoring Taymon Burrola from first base. Stokes stole second base and scored when Xavier Lomeli hit the ball deep in the hole to the shortstop. Clovis’ shortstop overthrew first base and Lomeli was safe, as Roswell lead, 2-0.
In the third inning, Taymon Burrola hit a bloop single to left field. Stokes came up and hit a triple at the base of the center-field fence, scoring Taymon Burrola from first, as RHS took a 3-0 lead. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Roswell put the game away.
AJ Palomino bunted the ball and the third baseman under threw the ball to first base. Palomino ended up on second. Meyers-Palma hit the ball to second base and the second baseman made a throwing error allowing Palomino to score from second base.
Xavier Gonzales singled to put runners on the corners at first and third base. Gonzales stole second base. Brady Villegas singled through third base and shortstop scoring an RHS runner to give them a 5-0 lead. Lomeli came up again and singled up the middle to give Roswell a 7-0 lead. Roswell would add another run in the fifth inning to win, 8-0.
“We think our magic number is two,” Curtis said. “We need to win one more game to get into the playoffs. One gives us a chance, we win two and I think we’re in. We have a chance to be 15-11, and that will put us a little better off in the playoff seeding.”
Roswell travels to Clovis to play at 5 p.m., at Bell Park Stadium in a doubleheader to close out the season.