Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
The baseball gods have a sense of humor. Two years ago, the sun in right field cost Goddard another Blue Trophy at Isotopes Park. That day, balls hit out to right field caused havoc and errors for both teams, but mainly Goddard. The sun was so blinding that it cost first-year coach Gilbert Alvarado a championship.
This game wasn’t as dramatic as the state championship, but the sun in right field paid Goddard back in runs and a come-from-behind win, as the Rockets won, 6-5, Saturday at the Launch Pad. It’s only the second game of the season, but Goddard, with a lot of new faces and new arms on the mound, showed they are a scrappy, fighting team that will not quit until the last out.
At the top of the fifth inning, the Rockets were error-plagued and kicked balls. Goddard managed to get out of the inning trailing 4-1. Goddard was facing a pitcher that was on cruise control. The Rockets didn’t get flustered or quit, they came together and played Goddard baseball.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the team’s hottest hitter, Noah Nunez, led off the inning with a stand-up triple. Next hitter, Coltin Sons hit the first pitch to the base of the center-field wall scoring Nunez. Sons would end up with a triple as well. Goddard would trail 4-3 at the end of five innings.
In the sixth inning, Goddard gave up a run to trail 5-3. At the top of the seventh, the play of the game and young season for the Rockets was made by shortstop, Trotter Boston. He went to his right and fell to his knees and managed to knock the ball down, glove it and throw the Las Cruces runner who broke for home trying to score. Boston threw a one-hop bullet to the catcher, Spencer Robins, who fielded it on one hop and was waiting on the runner so long to come home for the tag he could have ordered room service — he was thrown out by that much. It ended the inning and kept the Rockets within two runs, as they trailed, 5-3.
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In the bottom of the seventh, Nunez hit a towering shot between left-center field and with the sun out, neither outfield for Las Cruces could see the ball and it dropped for a double. Sons followed and drew a walk, so did Boston to load the bases.
Senior Eli Fairbanks hit a shot to the second baseman who made an error on the play allowing Nunez and Sons to tie the game, 5-5. With one out, Gabe Campos hit a 2-2 pitch to center field for a sacrifice fly driving in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh as Goddard won, 6-5. It was not all good, because Owen Alsup, who was scheduled to pitch the second game of the doubleheader, hurt his ankle celebrating and had to miss the game.
Goddard (1-2) with the win evened their record to .500 on the season. In the afternoon game, the Rockets were rocked after having to play without Alsup. They were all discombobulated and made errors, and went through four pitchers. Goddard would be mercy-ruled, 18-2.
Goddard has good pitching this season and will get better as the season goes on. They will only go as far as their pitching and defense will take them this season. It is early and there are a lot of positives for Goddard to be happy about. Every team will play a game where nothing goes right for them. It’s best not to dwell on one game in the first week of the season.
The come back against a 5A opponent, which will be in the thick of things, has to make Alvarado happy. He faced good pitching against Mayfield and Las Cruces and won’t face the arms he faced this weekend.
Sophomore Caleb Seely was around the plate and will continue to get better as the season goes along. Another pitcher that was big time and has the makeup of a big flamethrower is Gabe Campos. Campos was in and out of the strike zone and has a wicked curveball.
He will have to pitch up and down and hit the corners to not allow hitters to sit on his fastball. Campos likes to go after hitters and work fast. On Saturday, the home plate umpire was squeezing the strike zone. Dustin Hardwick came in to pitch and has good motion. He could end up in middle relief or a closer’s role.
Goddard will have a week off to heal and get Alsup back — this team is different without his glove in the lineup. Spencer Robins is working it behind the dish and will continue to get better as the season goes on. Sons and Boston just seemed to make big plays and will get better with the more games they play.
This Goddard team is not going to be the Goddard of the last couple of years. If Goddard parents want excitement, forget about an amusement park or watching TV, just go to a Goddard baseball game this season. This team is going to have to play together, pitch and play good defense to keep games close with a shot of winning.
The Rockets will be a scrappy team and every game will go down to the last inning. Goddard doesn’t have a 1-800-Big-Arm to bail them out this year. Get ready for thrills and shrills with this team. Get ready for comebacks and possibly groans. Look for Alvarado to have a few more gray hairs by the end of the season, but one thing this Rockets baseball team will never be is dull.
Goddard will play rival at noon on March 7 at Joe Bauman Field for a doubleheader.
Roswell lost to Alamogordo, 8-0 and 14-4, in a doubleheader Saturday. Roswell coach Tyrell Curtis knows that the first couple of games could be huge for his Coyotes, especially when they are against district opponents.
“It was the first game of the season,” Coyotes’ coach Curtis said. “We did some good things and did some bad things, we swung it well, and we made some errors. The score does not indicate the way we played.”
Roswell hopefully will not make the mistake of being complacent with winning 13 games this season. Last year, they won their 13th game of the season. All Roswell had to do was go on the road and beat a Clovis team they had defeated at home, 8-0, behind Drew Graham on the mound. Roswell would end up losing at Clovis, 4-1 and 5-3, which kept them out of the playoffs.
That was a nice first season for the first-year coach, but Curtis will have his sights set a little higher and it won’t be about wins, but about getting into the dance. The wins will matter because it is a process and it will be impossible to get a shot at winning the Blue Trophy if they don’t have enough wins to qualify. Curtis knows wins and losses go hand in hand.
Roswell played this game without Taymon Burrola, who won’t return until basketball season is over and for the Coyotes’ basketball team, they will find out when and where they play today at 6 p.m.
Roswell lost Drew Graham who has taken his talents to New Mexico Military Institute. Other than that, coach Curtis expects his team to be better on the mound. The big bats this opening weekend were Armando Silva and Xavier Lomeli.
“These two losses could come down to seeding,” Curtis said. “These two losses could be about us getting in the tournament or not getting in. Armando Silva and Xavier Lomeli had a good weekend for us.”
Roswell will face Goddard at noon on March 7 at Joe Bauman Field for a doubleheader.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.