Home Sports Local Sports Eli Fairbanks signs with Luna Community College

Eli Fairbanks signs with Luna Community College

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Shawn Naranjo Photo Eli Fairbanks signs his letter of intent to continue his baseball career at Luna College. Pictured, from left, are Goddard baseball coach Gilbert Alvarado, Eli Fairbanks and Kathy Fairbanks - Eli’s mom.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Goddard senior and varsity baseball player Eli Fairbanks has committed to play at Luna Community College in Las Vegas next fall.

Fairbanks, who has a wicked changeup, is working to improve on it this season in preparation to pitch at the next level.

“I like to use it after I’ve thrown two fastballs and the batter is down 0-2. When they’re expecting the heat I sit them down with the changeup,” Fairbanks said confidently.

“We couldn’t ask for more out of him these last two years,” Rockets’ coach Gilbert Alvarado said. “Heading into his senior year, he is prepared to take on more and more leadership responsibilities. Last year we had two solid horses on the mound, Ty Villareal and Drew Price.”

Alvarado feels Eli is ready to take the reins and lead the team on the mound and in the field. Alvarado believes Eli’s baseball IQ is excellent and this year he and the other seniors have been like assistant coaches. As with the seniors before him, Eli has carried on the tradition of taking the younger players under his wing and teaching them the game.

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“Nothing will be easy for us and for him this year,” Alvarado said, “but I feel that he has the right mindset and discipline to help guide this team in the spring.”

At any level of the game, good pitching is a must and many times the difference between having a great year or a subpar season. And having an ace or two and a strong bullpen is a season-changer.

Fairbanks hopes to be a game-changer this season — if anything, he could become a luxury for the Rockets and rank among some of the best that have toed the rubber for the Rockets in past years.

“I just love to play this game, all that other stuff takes care of its self,” Fairbanks said. “The best thing about playing on this team is the friendships we have made and the trust we have in one another. We have come to know how to play this game.”

According to Fairbanks, executing fundamentals and learning the basics of the game are what separate the Rockets from the other teams in the area.

“Coach Alvarado (Gilbert) has us prepared for every game-type scenario. He’s a master of the game. He wants us to have fun but also know what we’re doing out there,” Fairbanks stressed.

Alvarado is entering his third year at Goddard. The Rockets made it to the 4A state quarterfinals last year and played for the 5A state championship in 2018. Alvarado took over the the program after the Rockets won the 2017 5A crown.

“Fairbanks is expected to be a leader on this year’s team. He has played on the varsity since his freshman year.

“The younger guys look up to you and as a senior, I can’t be afraid to correct them and support them too” he said. Since his days in Little League and now at the high school level, Fairbanks’ family have been his biggest supporters.

“My mom has always been to my games, my dad encourages me when I am going through a rough patch and my little sister cheers me on,” Fairbanks said. It’s also his family on the field, his teammates, who he has a tight bond with. They play video games when they hang out, but they better root for the New York Yankees — Eli’s favorite Major League Baseball team.

“The Yankees have always been my team,” Fairbanks proudly boasts. But his favorite player is Mike Trout, who plays in Los Angeles with the Angels. So does Eli have any aspirations about playing Big League ball one day?

“Honestly right now, I am just thinking of helping lead the Rockets to an eighth straight district title, and the Blue Trophy, then enroll at Luna and then hopefully get the chance to play Division I ball, and from there who knows, one step at a time.”

Just like in the past seven seasons, the Rockets have a target on their backs and every team they play this year is gunning for them. “I see us coming out of the gate with a lot of wins. We’re not going to fold or lay down to anyone,” Fairbanks said.

Last season Fairbanks was a reliever out of the bullpen, this year he hopes to be a starting pitcher. The goal is to give his team his best stuff every time he takes to the hill.

Fairbanks has been a two-year varsity starter playing first base and pitching for the Rockets. In his 55 varsity games he has hit .393 with 44 RBIs and 33 runs scored. His on-base percentage is .515. As a pitcher, he is 7-5 on the mound with a 2.16 earned run average.

Opponents have hit just .169 against him with 75 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched.

“Eli has been a solid starter for us since his sophomore year,” Alvarado said. “He’s a hard-working kid who takes his craft very seriously. I am not surprised that a college picked him, besides the fact that he is a good player, he is also the type of kid who will help improve your locker room.”

Goddard opens the season on Feb. 28 at Las Cruces Mayfield.