NMMI Sports Press
TEXICO — The doubleheader between NMMI and Texico might not have meant much to the Wolverines before it got underway, but after it was all over, the Colts had handed the No. 1 AAA team only their fourth loss of the season, winning 2-1 before falling 9-3.
Plus, while NMMI’s record (9-17, 4-8) has them near the bottom of the 22 AAAA teams, coach Charlie Ward thinks the 2-1 victory in Saturday’s opening game, combined with an early-season win over the Wolverines, should earn the Institute a spot in the state playoffs.
“With that record, we think we deserve to be in there, anywhere from a 14 to a 16 (seed),” the coach said. “We’re just going to wait until four o’clock (Sunday), and hopefully (the seeding committee) will believe that NMMI deserves to be in the playoffs.”
Ward sounded thrilled about the victory.
“We played a great game and Eli (Aguilar) pitched a great game,” he said.
Aguilar pitched a complete seven innings, allowing only one run — in the third on a dropped third strike, wild pitch and ground out — on five hits, four walks and a quartet of strikeouts.
That third-inning run put Texico up 1-0, but the Colts took the lead in the top of the fourth.
Francisco Rivera opened the stanza with a walk, stole second and came home on a Jake Guerrero double. Guerrero advanced on a ground out and scored on an error, and after that the game belonged to the pitchers, with each team putting runners on base, but unable to bring them home.
“Everybody played really hard,” Ward said. “Everybody backed up Eli. He pitched his best game of the year. He gave us a chance to win.”
Another plus on the day for NMMI was the return of Gavin Maloney, who’s been out with an injury since the Dexter Tournament in March. Ward said just having the sophomore back on the field made a big difference.
“He hit the ball hard,” the coach said. “He hit some to people, but you could see the team had confidence with their teammate in there. It was an extra bat to help us, so it was good to have Gavin back. We can’t pitch him, but as long as we can have him in the lineup, it’s a big plus to the team and a big confidence builder.”
Ward wasn’t quite as happy with Game 2, which saw errors lead to the loss.
“We had seven unearned runs and lost 9-3,” he said. “So it was very frustrating to lose that second game. But we battled. We played everybody. We played the seniors.
“We just didn’t cover routine plays. That gave them a four spot and a three spot. Those seven runs were costly to catch up.”
After going down 4-0 in the first, the Colts came back with two in the second with a Francisco Galvez double, Danny Jaramillo triple and a wild pitch.
The other three Texico unearned runs came in the third, making it 7-2, then NMMI added a solo run in the sixth on singles by Galvez and Jaramillo and a fielder’s choice. The Wolverines added solo runs of their own in the fifth and sixth.
Michel Hinojos got the loss with seven runs, none earned, while Connor Roe and Frank Marchi each gave up one run in relief.
Jaramillo was 2-for-2 at the plate with one run and RBI, and Galvez was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Whether NMMI gets another game this season is up to the NMAA seeding committee, but despite being unhappy with the final game, Ward had praise for his squad.
“The kids had a great year, even though the record doesn’t indicate it with all the injuries and adversity,” he said.
NMMI Sports Press