When they convened for their all-star practice, no one had any idea of what they were capable of. Certainly not the players and coaches on the team. How could they? It had been since 1956 since the Little All-Stars had won the Little League All-Stars. Every year at the all-star time, hope springs that this could be the second team to make history for Roswell until the final out.
For the Intermediate all-stars, they captured the attention of all the hearts in Chaves County and Roswell and that was only the beginning. After a while, the nation was glued to our baseball team and there was no mention of UFOs — only the great baseball those kids played.
Roswell did what it does to help, they had pizza parties where a percentage of the proceeds went to the players to help fund the trip. Local businesses showed up big time for the trip and the efforts to help let America know that Roswell is a town with a lot of character and heart.
The team played and won games in New Mexico and then went to Houston, Texas, and then California. What the Intermediate kids learned from the experiences was it was fun, but it helped them to mature and grow up faster than they normally would have, too. The games and practice times were regimented and the kids had to pick up after themselves and keep track of their things.
Also, they were away from their families and couldn’t see them for an extended part of their trips. The Intermediates became a team and leaned on each other. The kids were each other’s biggest fans and cheerleaders. They learned to pick each other up when someone made an error and to celebrate when someone made a great play.
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Intermediates faced the best competition in the world. Whether they were trying to win against teams from Mexico, Japan or Texas, among the other teams they faced, the Intermediates learned the kids they were trying to beat were more like them than not — just kids having fun trying to win.
When they made it to the money games, Roswell had Mayor Dennis Kintigh proclaim Intermediate Day and give them a talk. He even hosted a watch party as the town came together to celebrate the success of the team.
Coach Kyle Stokes had this postseason message to his team. “To compete on a worldwide stage and come home as national runners up is something to be proud of. But, your best days are in front of you. There will be greater achievements in baseball and life as you become men.
“I want the kids to know how proud everyone is of their accomplishments,” Intermediate coach Kyle Stokes said. ” I also want them to remember that their accomplishments came with much love and support from their community and families.”
For the Intermediates, they will look back and tell their grandchildren about the summer of 2019. For the hopes and excitement this team gave Roswell and all of New Mexico, they are RDR Sports’ No. 2 moment of the year.
An unforgettable journey to World Series ends for All-Stars
From the Aug. 4 edition of the Roswell Daily Record
One thing is certain, Roswell is on the rise. Hey, Roswell has a lot to be proud of. There is a lot going on in the city, but there are a lot of positives. Dominic Chavez is on the mend and getting better. Football is about to start, and school is going to start this week.
What’s really impressive was the turnout of the new Convention & Civic Center, as fans showed up in droves to support the Roswell Intermediate baseball team. The team took it on the chin with an 11-1 loss in six innings.
Lions Hondo president, Troy Oswald, and Noon Optimist president, Steve Dodson were on hand to promote goodwill and say how proud they were of the team and the joint venture of the league. This is only the second Roswell team to go to the Little League World Series in 63 years.
Several dignitaries, including mayor Dennis Kintigh was there, along with council member Juan Oropesa, and board of education member, Dr. Kathleen Pittman, all on hand to mingle and cheer the team on.
The team made a remarkable comeback after losing to Southeast in their first game of the World Series, 20-8. The Roswell team went on a five-game winning streak and found their way into the championship game against the undefeated Southeast team. It was a close game for three innings, but four errors would end up costing the team any chance of winning as they gave up five runs in the fourth inning.
“We had trouble hitting the curveball today,” Kyle Stokes said. “I’m not making excuses, we ran into great pitching. Errors did hurt us.”
The team has a lot to be proud of in making it this far. Being in the losers’ bracket forced them to play every day and the only day they had off was Friday. It will be a summer these boys will remember and talk about for the rest of their lives as they get ready to go back to school.
Southwest manager Kyle Stokes said, “The kids were exhausted today.”
The Southeast team had two days off while the Southwest team only had one day of rest between games. It would have been a tough game anyway because Southeast was undefeated. Southwest has been on the road and played virtually every day of the tournament with no days off and little rest in between games.
When school commences and the teachers ask their classes what they did for summer vacation, the boys of summer will laugh and say, “Where do we begin?” No one will believe the stories these kids will be able to tell now and in the future. This team has helped galvanize the city with a positive message and pulled the community together.
“Thank you, Roswell, for the support and prayers,” Stokes said. “We finished No. 2 in the nation. Wish we could have ended up being No. 1. Our kids played with a lot of heart and excitement. Thank you, Roswell, for going on this journey with us and believing in us — we did our best for you, Roswell.”
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or email@example.com.