After the age of 12 years old, where do the Noon Optimist and Lions Hondo baseball players go to play? Now, for this season they joined forces with the 13-year-olds to form the Intermediate Division called the 50/70. It gets its name because of the distance between the mound and the base paths.
During the All-Star season, Lions Hondo and Noon Optimist came together to form one team, and called themselves the Roswell All-Stars. The team chose neutral colors: red, white and blue. The All-Stars beat Ruidoso 23-5 in the first game, and then beat Mescalero, 32-0, and won it all by beating Ruidoso, 24-0 on Tuesday at Ruidoso.
After winning district, the All-Stars will go to the state tournament where they will face teams from District 5 in Albuquerque and Roosevelt county on Friday. There will be three teams they have to beat and if they win this weekend, Roswell will end up going to regionals in Houston, Texas.
The Roswell All-Stars are led by manager Kyle Stokes, who has coached many of these players before. The team came about because the east-side baseball was shut down this season, making this a true north-south team.
The team was made up of a coach from each team, and the coach had a meeting and picked four players from each team until they came up with 12 players. Lions Hondo won the season and Stokes said that Noon Optimist teams were very competitive. On the All-Star team, Stokes likes the team’s camaraderie and the way they play together.
“Everyone on the team can pitch,” Stokes said. “We have four catchers and we have all kinds of arms. The amount of time taken by the moms and dads and extra coaching the kids have received has been amazing.”
Roswell is working on the small ball right now. Stokes feels like the winning run can come from a bases-loaded situation where they might have to play small ball. The team has impressed Stokes because they have speed in the infield and outfield and they have already taken hits away from other teams this postseason.
“The amount of speed on this team is amazing,” Stokes said. “We got some fast legs. I mean fast. If God willing and everything, and the kids play their hearts out, and we’re in Houston, you’ll see lots of running.”
Stokes also feels like they can steal bases and force opponents into errors, and if teams get too concerned about them stealing bases and forget about the hitters at the plate, he has long-ball hitter Isaac Loya, who is still hitting the ball out of the park.
“We are looking forward to Albuquerque and getting some competition,” Stokes said. “The kids have gelled really well. They have played a lot of baseballs together. They have formed a companionship and camaraderie together. It’s good to see the dedication of these kids.”
Making up the team are Isaiah Herrera, Jack Peterson, Chalmer Holloway, Jonathan Silva, Reeco Lujan, Isaac Loya, Matthew Campos, Wesley Gallegos, Dylan Kermode, Ross Stokes, Andrew Baca and Michael Mathison. Coaches are Chad Holloway and Jeremy Kermode.
Roswell will play at 5 p.m., against Roosevelt County Little League at Lobo Little League in Albuquerque on Friday.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.