Baseball is a game of inches, whether it is a bad hop, a Texas leaguer, or a home run, most games are won or lost by mere inches. Baseball is a great game that puts one-person vs. nine others. It is a game that no matter where a player is on offense, at some point the ball will find them and they will have to make a play that may win or lose the game. The 2020 season never had a chance for all of this to happen and it breaks my heart, we did not have the chance to have the ball bounce in either direction.
I am writing this letter only days of what would have been the selection show for us to find out if we are part of the state tournament. We should be preparing ourselves for the next task — whether it is practice, class or just being part of a school function. All seniors across the country, in what is (supposed) to be an exciting part of their lives, will never have the chance to have the senior year most of us have had the chance to have.
In the two years I have been part of RHS, these seniors have shown what it is to be a Coyote. They all have put in five years to the school and program, they have seen various head coaches, but they took me in with welcome arms. They allowed me to teach and coach the game without ever saying “this is how we always do it.” They have been part of the tough times and good, this group as juniors helped lead us to one of the best seasons in school history. Although it was great, they knew we still had work to do to reach our full potential, but this 2020 season put an end to see our true potential and theirs.
To the seniors
Xavier Lomeli, as a junior you fought through injury to come back to finish the season with us in any capacity, understanding the importance of what we were trying to achieve. As a senior, you led football to another state championship, and you were going to lead us on the field to finish this 2020 season. You are going to be a big part of a team’s success when the time comes.
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AJ Palomino, every time you stepped on the mound, you gave us a chance to win. You led our team in ERA as a junior and you were going to anchor our pitching staff again this year. You showed all our pitchers what it took to win on the mound for us. You have a lot of options and I look forward to following your career through college.
Gunnar Byrd, it breaks my heart that you lost another year of baseball, you played any position asked and worked harder than almost anyone to get better at a new position. You would pitch in any situation and find a way to get us out of it. You were the smartest kid we had out there and led the team by GPA at any given moment. Although we will never be with you on the field again, your career beyond high school will be extravagant.
Derek Natividad, you exemplified what it meant to be a Coyote baseball player. You out-worked everyone and were the biggest team player I have ever seen in my career, both as a player and as a coach. You have done what most people are not made to do and enlisted into the Army National Guard. You will protect this country and show others what hard work is.
Israel Garcia, you would play any position on the field just to help the cause, without any complaint. You had a lot of struggles outside the field but always came to play and gave it your best. Your future holds a lot of good things for you.
Kayleb Wright, you wore the “R” with pride, whether it be for the Big Red Band or for us on the baseball field. Like Derek, you will now wear the Red, White and Blue, as you also enlisted and completed Basic Training for the Army National Guard last summer. I know you will also wear that with the same or even more pride.
To all of you seniors — I wish we had one more chance to take the field and represent our school. We had big things happening before our season was cut short. I miss being on the field with all of you. You guys will become great men and I look forward to seeing where your journey takes you next.
To the rest of the Roswell High baseball program, we still have goals we want to achieve for this year. Understand what the seniors started the last two years and work toward what they did not have the chance to achieve. You never know when your last game will be played, work as though the game can be taken away at any time from here on out. Strive to be the best in the classroom and respect those around you. We will continue to grow and build upon our success. I am all in and hope you will be, too.
Coach Tyrell Curtis