The New Mexico Military Institute baseball team needed all three games against Sandia Prep to advance to the quarterfinals in the 2019 New Mexico State Championships.
The Colts lost Game 1 on Friday 9-6, but came back to take a doubleheader on Saturday, game 2 final 10-0 in 5 innings, and a 10-7 final in Game 3.
In Game 1, the Colts’ Jasper Best and Marin Ayon had three hits each in four plate appearances to lead the team in hits.
Alex Lopez led the team in RBI with three on a double and a triple. Gunnar Schwab had two RBI going, 1-3 on the day. Andres Bleizeffer and Best scored twice as Schwab and Gus Curnutt had the other two runs in the game for the Colts.
The Colts went on a fifth-inning tear, scoring eight runs in game 2 for the 10-0 victory. Lopez went 3-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Alejandro Barcenas and Ayon were the other Colts with multiple hits as they had two each. Lopez and Ayon led the team with two RBI each and Curnutt had two runs with every other player in the starting lineup scoring a run except for Ayon.
Carlos Retamoza courtesy-ran for Ayon in the fifth and scored on a Barcenas flyball to center that was dropped by the Sandia Prep centerfielder. Oscar Gomez pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout striking out two Sundevils.
Game 3 featured 13 hits from NMMI as Barcenas, Bleizeffer, Best, Lopez and Schwab each had two hits. Barcenas and Lopez recorded a double and Bleizeffer had a triple. Barcenas led the team in runs, scoring three. Barcenas, Bleizeffer, Best and Luke Taylor had two RBI during the game. Bleizeffer started the game on the mound for the Colts, going four innings and striking out two Sandia Prep batters. Taylor came on in relief and pitched two shutout innings and Barcenas pitched the final inning for NMMI.
Head Colt baseball Coach Charlie Ward gave all the credit to his team. “The team had a lot of confidence in themselves and they believed that they could still come back and find a way to win. They knew the most important game was Game 2 and we would have a chance if we won that game. We knew that these two ball teams were very evenly matched and very disciplined.
“Coming back and winning two games the way they did show a lot of character and handling adversity really well. We have a shot. We are one game away from the final four and we are going to battle all the way. It was fun the team found a way to win and to be a part of the final eight and play East Mountain on Thursday.”
Ward is thrilled for his team to compete in Albuquerque next week and have the season continue.
“The best eight are going to be in Albuquerque and we are fortunate enough to be in the eight.” We are excited for the opportunity and we will get out there and give it our best and represent NMMI as best we can.”
The Colts will play the #2 seed East Mountain Timberwolves on Thursday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at Cleveland High School. East Mountain and NMMI have played in three games this season and the Timberwolves lead the series 2-1.