Home Sports Local Sports For Goddard seniors, it’s ride or die

For Goddard seniors, it’s ride or die

Goddard’s baseball team poses at Brainard Park after winning the District 4-4A title on Saturday to finish the season 20-6, and 9-1 in District 4-4A play. (J.T. Keith File Photo)

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For many of the players on this team, they know what it’s like to be in this position. For the last six years, they were on the precipice to doing something great. This year, they have a chance to go to the state title game for the sixth-consecutive season.

Goddard’s Drew Price prepares to throw a pitch during a game against Roswell at the Launch Pad last month. (Scott Stevenson File Photo)

The seniors have seen it all and been put in adverse conditions and played against the best in their varsity years. Some of the players have played varsity as a freshman. As senior pitcher Drew Price said on Thursday, it’s ride or die with his crew and he feels like they are ready. It has been a long season.

Goddard has gotten it done in a variety of ways, they have become a better baseball team because their calling card has been pitching and defense. As the second season begins, second-year coach Gilbert Alvarado has stressed that his team is not playing against Hope Christian. All the Rockets have to do is play baseball the best they can.

“Our margin for error is shrinking,” Alvarado said. “If we can get past this weekend, God willing, it shrinks even less to no losses. We’re trying to win every inning, which is 35 innings, and 5 and 0 is the goal.”

Goddard is 20-6 and 8-1 in the district this season. Goddard has had an infield get better as the season has gone along. Shortstop Sean Henry made game-saving plays against Artesia in the district title games, as well as third baseman Owen Alsup. Backstop Noah Nunez has been a vacuum behind the plate and an ignitor as the leadoff hitter.

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Alvarado feels like his one-through-nine hitters have been the strength of the team. Other teams cannot gear up to stop one hitter because they have speed and power interspersed throughout the lineup. Ninth-place hitter John Henry is hitting .167 and is third in runs scored with 20. Villareal is second with 23 runs scored and Colton Sons is first with 26. The fourth-place hitter, Alsup leads the team in RBIs.

Nunez has the speed to bunt for a hit, and the power to take a pitcher out of the park as he did against Artesia. Nunez’s job is to work the pitcher so the Rockets can see what the pitcher has. He has developed into a dangerous two-strike hitter. Nunez has the speed to steal a base, as he did against Artesia. He also is second on the team with RBIs.

Goddard has been known for their power pitching and on Friday and Saturday, they received a gut-check performance from New Mexico State commit Drew Price. Price summoned up the heat to dominate in the last inning.

His sidekick Ty Villareal, brought it and manhandled the Bulldogs on Saturday. The nice part is that if Hope Christian sleeps on either of the pitchers on the mound, both players have dangerous bats and can take a pitcher out of the park.

“I’ve been to the state title game four times,” Drew Price said. “I’m just out here trying to have fun. Once we beat Hope (Christian) and we get out of here, then that’s when the pressure kind of starts. If we’re able to make it to the state championship game, then the pressure is all off. That’s when you can go out there and have fun.”

Eli Fairbanks has come into his own, the bigger the game. He is turned into a heady player. He has taken the extra base and thrown to the correct base and hit the ball the opposite way to drive in runs. He jump-started the fifth inning on Friday, and the sixth inning on Saturday. His glove has been invaluable at first base.

“It’s all about how we play,” Alvarado said. “That’s where we’ve been able to focus this week and doing the things we want to do. The best part about this game is baseball separates us. We’re not playing Hope Christian, we’re playing baseball. If we play baseball better than Hope Christian does Friday, then we’ll be alright.”

Coach Alvarado doesn’t know what to expect from Hope Christian. They have a first-year coach and not a lot of people have any information on them.

Because of the expected weather today, coach Alvarado will have to make the call on whether to move their game to the NMMI field if they can play at all if Goddard’s field is too wet. If the game is moved, it will be at 7:30 p.m. after NMMI has played their game under the lights on Friday, that is if it rains as hard as expected. TBA later today.

“This is some of our final rides,” Price said. “Some of us will keep going on and playing, and some of us are hanging them up. I talked to some of the guys and told them to just have fun, and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s not a hard game, just relax and have fun. Every team I have been on has been great.”

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

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