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Championships relived

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Sports Editor’s Note: For the main story on Kyle Alsup, see the story “Kyle Alsup shines paying it back and forward.”

Going into his junior season in 1991, Kyle Alsup felt like the Rockets had something to prove because of their poor season his sophomore year. On the way to the championship, Goddard had a regular season record of 16-6 and was 8-2 in the district. Goddard was led on the bump by Danny Vigil, who was 9-1 with two saves on the season and an impressive 1.28 ERA (Earned Run Average) with 93 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched.

In the opening round, Goddard drew Capital Santa Fe in the quarterfinals. Coming into the game Kyle Alsup was hitting a torrid .422, followed by Bart Barton at .408 and Andy Gray at .402.

Vigil went seven innings, striking out eight Jaguars. Vigil helped himself at the plate by hitting a double in the fifth inning. Brian Gallagher got the Rockets off to a fast start by hitting a home run in the first inning. Chris Price doubled as the Rockets scored four times on three hits to take a 4-0 first-inning lead. Goddard added three runs in the fourth inning on two hits, as they defeated the Jaguars, 11-6, to advance to the semifinals against Socorro.

Against Socorro, Kyle hit a grand slam in the second inning to put Goddard up 6-0. Goddard would explode for four runs in the sixth inning. Vigil would strike out the side in the seventh inning to win 10-6.

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With that win, Goddard advanced to the championship game against Aztec. It wasn’t much of a game because the Rockets mercy-ruled the Tigers, 16-6. Goddard scored in every inning, with Gray and Barton collecting RBI singles. Kyle Alsup hit a double on a hit and run to give the Rockets a 5-0 lead.

Aztec would come back to tie the game 6-6 in the fourth inning. At the bottom of the fourth, Gray hit an RBI double, and Price, Matt Lenker and Javier Brady added RBI singles. Goddard scored two more runs in the sixth to end the game. Brady started the game and pitched well before Vigil came on in relief to close the door, as he finished the season 10-1. Goddard would end the year with a 19-6 record.

Kyle Alsup capped an impressive junior campaign. He was second on the team in batting at .429, had 33 hits, was first in runs with 36, and second on the team in home runs with three. He ended up with 24 doubles on the season and led the team in steals with eight. He was also All-District along with Vigil, Gray and Brady.

At the end of the season, coach Ridings would go into administration and become the assistant principal at Roswell High.

The 1992 championship

In Kyle Alsup’s senior year in 1992, the Rockets hired a new coach, Steve Whalen, as they tried to go back-to-back. Kyle Alsup felt like there was a self-imposed pressure to try and win back-to-back state titles and finish their senior year off with a walk-off title.

“Our expectations were state title,” Kyle Alsup said, “or we were going to be disappointed. It was a different feeling with coach Whalen. He was great and perfect for us. Whalen was more of a player’s coach and we all had played middle school football for him. He (Whalen) helped us relax and enjoy playing baseball more.”

The season did not start out well for the Rockets, who finished in fifth place in the Artesia Invitational Baseball Tournament. Vigil was the ace still, but he was paired with Price, who had a great junior season going 7-1 into the playoffs with a 2.48 ERA.

Goddard’s John Wilson tied Kyle Alsup with a team-high eight home runs in the regular season. Goddard’s team was different after having to replace departing seniors. The turning point of the season was when Goddard swept Carlsbad in a doubleheader at the Launch Pad. At that time, it had been 10 years since Goddard beat Carlsbad.

In the quarterfinals, Goddard faced Las Vegas Robertson High School. In that game, Goddard hit three home runs to dispatch the Cardinals in five innings by a score of 11-1, in another mercy-ruled game. Kyle Alsup led off the game with a solo blast in the first inning.

Wilson hit a double and scored on a Price single. In the fourth-inning Kyle Alsup hit a two-run double to give Goddard a 4-1 lead. Ricardo Martinez singled to bring up Robert Gonzales and he doubled. Kyle Alsup walked and Price singled and scored on a Greg Thompson double to give Goddard a 10-1 lead. Coach Whalen pulled Vigil after five innings because pitchers were only allowed to pitch 12 innings over a three-day span during the playoffs.

With the win, Goddard would face Aztec, a team Goddard had beaten the year before for the Blue Trophy.

“We respected them,” Kyle Alsup said, “but we felt like if we played well against any teams in the tournament, we could win.”

On that day, Price was throwing darts and tossed a five-hitter. Gonzales hit a home run and Kyle Alsup hit a two-run home run to lead Goddard back to the championship game and beat Aztec 8-2. Goddard would face Bloomfield for the trophy.

Goddard received a masterpiece on the mound from Vigil, as he surrendered three hits in seven innings of pitching. The Rockets had 14 hits as they beat Bloomfield 13-0 at Moriarty High School.

Gonzales hit his third home run in three days; John Wilson added a three-run homer in the seventh and Kyle Alsup was 2-for-4 with a two-run double and four runs scored. Vigil finished the season with a 10-3 record, and the Rockets ended the season 21-5 and 9-1 in the district.

As a senior, Kyle Alsup played in the North-South All-Star game. During his senior campaign, Kyle Alsup was named Most Valuable Player in District 4-3A in 1992. Joining him were teammates Wilson, Price, Ben Levonius, Vigil and Gonzales. Kyle Alsup batted .393, had the same hits as his junior season with 33, scored 34 runs and tied for home runs with eight. He was second on the team in RBIs with 34.