Home Sports Local Sports After a year away, Invaders open season at home

After a year away, Invaders open season at home

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Roswell Invaders player-manager Lance Myers. (Submitted Photo)

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For the Roswell Invaders, it feels good to be back in the friendly confines of Joe Bauman Stadium. All they had to overcome was a little rain, wind and a slushing field, and hurricane conditions — and that was this year. In other words, typical New Mexico weather in May.

As the New Mexico United soccer team did last season, the Invaders had to play their games out of state on the road. Roswell made Houston, Texas their home for the season. So, a little wind and rain is nothing compared to what the team faced last season. Being away from Roswell upset the team in the win-loss standings as they finished 10-19.

One of the major changes heading into this season is the Invaders hired Lance Myers as their manager. He spent the day working to get the field in condition to play. Myers cut three players from the team. Roswell will field a roster of 24 players.

“We are looking forward to getting started,” Myers said. “I think we are going to have a good team as far as hitting and pitching and looking strong. I think we are going to hit with anybody in the league.”

Myers was a player-coach last season in the Liberation League in Indiana. His team had the best record in the league last year.

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The Invaders will keep four right-handed starters, one left-handed starter, three left-handed relief pitchers, and four right-handed relief pitchers. The starter for tonight’s game will be Ashton Holdridge. Myers likes that Holdridge has a good arm and was in the league in 2019. He pitched for the Monterey Amberjacks.

“Ashton is a really good kid,” Myers said. “He’s even a better arm with an array of pitches — fastball, curveball and changeup. He’s thrown well throughout spring training. He’s someone I think will get on the mound and set the tone for the year. He’s going to give us a really good opportunity to take the first game of the season.”

Look for the starting lineup to include Jordan Burnett behind the dish. Cole Chambers will be manning centerfield with Bret Leiferman in right field. Mike Flohr will be at first base, Colton Adams will be at shortstop, with Myers getting the nod at second base. Robert Morosetti will play third base, with left field undecided until game time.

Myers likes that the team has enough guys that can hit for power, and has the speed to disrupt a pitcher’s rhythm on the base paths. Look for Colton Adams, Cole Chambers, Austin Thurman, and Greg Carrington to keep the pitcher uneasy when they are on base. Roswell’s style of play will be adaptable this season to the team they’re playing. Myers said they will put the ball in play and be a solid hitting team.

Myers is no stranger to the Pecos League. He played for the Alpine Cowboys in 2017, ’18 and ’19, winning a championship as a player his last year with the team. Myers won a ring with them by beating the Bakersfield Train Robbers.

Myers said it was really cool to win a championship in the Pecos League. He is a proven winner with a pedigree for winning and playing championship baseball. He’s won conference championships in regional tournaments, gone to the college world series. Myers played college baseball at Vincennes University before transferring to Ashland University.

“Winning a championship in pro ball was a grind,” Myers said. “It is one of those reassuring factors that hard work does pay off. It’s nice when you have guys buying into a team goal and they go out there and get the job done. Winning a championship is one of the moments that I will never forget in my life.”

With an opportunity to play pro baseball and manage, Myers was contacted by Pecos League commissioner Andrew Dunn about managing the team, and he was still going to be able to play and further his playing career.

Myers said that he will judge himself like he does all of the other players on his team. Myers is able to handle the bat well, holding most of the hitting records for the Alpine baseball team. He has played in the most games in the history of the team, he is at the top of the leaders in hits, walks, RBIs, doubles. Myers used to be a switch-hitter and now bats as a left-hander.

“I’m going to treat myself like I would any of these other guys,” Myers said. “If I’m not producing and someone else is, they are going to go in. I’m not going to play myself just because. If I don’t earn it just like I require all these other guys, then I’m not going to be in there just because.”

The team goal is to build the team and win a championship. The last title was won in 2015. The other goal is to promote players to the next level.

In 2019, the Invaders had a home game sponsored by the Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce thanks to Matt Martinez, president. Martinez, second from left, threw out the first pitch to open the season. (Daily Record File Photo)

It has been over a year since the Invaders have played at home. He’s hoping to generate a 12th man atmosphere at Joe Bauman Stadium. Myers said that at every home game there will be two players in uniform, that will not be playing that night at the gate signing autographs. After the game players will be on the field 15 minutes after the game to mingle with the fans.

“I think it is important,” Myers said, “at the lower levels to be accessible to the fans. That’s something they will not get at a Texas Rangers game.”

The Invaders open the season at home tonight at 7 p.m. against Santa Fe.

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