Home Sports Local Sports A mother’s love drives her son to achieve

A mother’s love drives her son to achieve

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A 2017 photo of former Roswell baseball star Gabriel (Gavy) Perez-Torres at NMMI. (Daily Record File Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

By all estimations, Gabriel (Gavy) Perez-Torres should not do what he is about to do. He’s about to do something not only for himself but for his biggest fan in life — his mother, Lillian Torres.

Gavy Perez-Torres played at Lubbock Christian University last season and is now at the University of the Southwest in Hobbs. (Lubbock Christian Athletic Communications Photo)

Gavy is about to win one of the biggest battles in his life, especially coming from the south side of Roswell. When the pomp and circumstances are played in May, he will walk the aisle and shake hands with the president of the University of the Southwest and receive his degree in criminal justice. Gavy credits his mother for disciplining and sacrificing for him and his younger brother, Matthew Perez-Torres.

“My mom is my hero,” Gavy said. “She took care of me and my little brother, Matthew. She raised both of us. My dad lives in Puerto Rico, she disciplined us correctly. For my mom, the degree comes first, but she supports my dream to play professional baseball.”

It might have looked easy, but the road to baseball and obtaining his degree was paved with hardships and detours. Growing up, Gavy never had a male role model until his Roswell High School baseball coach, Carlos Marrujo III, took an interest in him and believed in Gavy — soon the two would talk and bond. Marrujo would become a person Gavy could talk to and ask questions about life, especially when it came time to attend college.

“Gavy is a different kind of dude,” Marrujo said. “He just had a different approach to the game and played the game 100 mph all the time. He made impossible plays look easy. I knew he would make it at NMMI. It is my privilege to be a small part of his journey and to coach him in high school and junior college.”

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Choosing NMMI

It was Marrujo that encouraged him to go to NMMI as a freshman. It was a culture shock to him to get used to the discipline and becoming a better man, student and athlete. When NMMI coach Chris Cook would tell him that he needed to fix something in his game, he would do so because he knew that Cook knew what he was talking about.

“I knew that I would have to put in a lot more work at NMMI,” Gavy said. “NMMI made me bear down academically and athletically and focus more. I was determined to take advantage of what NMMI had to offer and practice more.”

It was during his sophomore year at NMMI when they were playing in a tournament in Albuquerque. In that game, Gavy hit his first home run on a fastball down the middle over the centerfield wall.

“Grateful to NMMI,” Gavy said, “because if it wasn’t for NMMI, I wouldn’t be able to do my academics now. NMMI has made me more organized with my schoolwork and kept me on top of things.”

Lubbock Christian

Lubbock Christian’s Gavy Perez-Torres waits for a pitch during a game. (Lubbock Christian Athletic Communications Photo)

At that game, the head coach of Lubbock Christian University saw Gavy play and offered him a scholarship. He played well during his first season there, but because of the coronavirus, at the end of the season meeting with the head coach, the coach tells him that he is cutting his scholarship to 40%.

Knowing that he couldn’t afford to continue at Lubbock Christian, Gavy received help from former NMMI pitching coach Jermaine Van Buren who was on staff at Lubbock Christian and reached out to the University of the Southwest coach Steve Appel, who remembered seeing Gavy play and offered him a scholarship. Feeling wanted and being close to home, Gavy accepted the offer to join his best friend and former Roswell teammate, Nick Palomino.

USW

“Gavy has played at a high level for a couple of different respected programs,” University of the Southwest baseball coach Appel said. “He gives great value to our program due to the fact he can play multiple positions.”

Gavy feels like the difference between high school and NMMI is the pitching is faster and every team has good pitching. From NMMI to Lubbock Christian, pitching is similar to NMMI, except that pitchers pick their spots and have better command on their pitches than trying to blow you away with a fastball. Most pitchers have pinpoint control on their off-seed pitches.

His favorite win at Roswell was when they beat Artesia in Artesia, 4-3. The win helped them make it into the playoffs.

His favorite memory was his first college home run at NMMI which helped him get his scholarship to Lubbock Christian, and eventually to USW.

“He is another New Mexico guy,” Appel said. “Any chance to get someone rather local with the talent he has, we want to be able to bring them into our program. I expect good things to come from Gavy and expect him to be a big piece of our offense this year.”

Gavy knows four years fly by, as it already has. These past four years have made him more grateful and have a deeper appreciation for life, USW, sports and his mother. Gavy’s next goal is to get a master’s degree and play baseball as long as he can.

Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or sports@rdrnews.com.