NMMI Sports Press
As has become a homecoming tradition at New Mexico Military Institute, Bronco baseball alumni gathered at NMMI field Friday afternoon to take on the current crop of players.
And while the Broncos took a close 5-4 victory over the alum in a seven-inning matchup, the day was mainly about fun.
“It was a nice competitive game and the current team got a couple of runs late to give us a 5-4 win,” said head coach Chris Cook. “It was just fun. I don’t care what the score is, honestly. It was a good day.”
After the Broncos went up 1-0 in the first when Nick Espinoza walked, went to second on a single by Angel Colon and came home on a wild pitch — by former player and current pitching coach Tyler Gibson — the alumni took the lead in the bottom of the second.
Ben Chavez, a former Gateway player who still lives and works in Roswell, walked, stole second and came home on a single by another Roswell native, Justin Villareal. Villereal was thrown out trying to stretch the single to a double, but Franky Silva doubled and came home on a double by Chris Foster.
The alums led through the third, when Bronco Justin Williams tied it at 2-2 on single and error in the outfield. But Silva put the alumni back on top 3-2 with a towering home run in the fourth.
The Broncos tied it in the fifth on a triple by Dustin Renfroe and a wild pitch, then, after Bronco Cub Turcotte pitched to Brother Sam Tucotte and got him out on a lcomebacker to the mound — the two hugged for the tag — NMMI strength and conditioning coach Tyrell Curtis walked, advanced on a double by Gibson and came home on a ground out.
But after the Turcottes again faced each other — this time Sam struck out Cub — the Broncos got two finals runs, scoring on a single by Jordan Williams, double by Nick Carrillo and single by Bobby Galindo.
Prior to the game, Chavez won the home run derby for the newer graduates, beating out Joe Galindo, who signed with the San Diego Padre organization last spring.
Chavez notched 11 dingers to Galindo’s six, and was excited to beat a baseball professional.
“That was pretty nice. I can’t say that I can do that very often,” he laughed.
Galindo — who’s no relation to either of the two Galindos currently on the team — saw some time on the mound in the instructional league last summer. He had to recover from an injury before playing, but likes being in pro ball.
“It was fun,” he said. “The competition level is up there, of course. Really up there. But it was fun being back in the game. I missed it while watching from the stands. But I love watching the game, too. It’s a big learning experience.”
And while he didn’t play in Friday’s game, he did umpire the full seven innings.
“I’ll just watch the game; talk to the guys and have fun with them,” he said.
Domingo Alonso, an ’05 grad, won the derby for the more “vintage” players for the third time in a row. And like everyone else, he was happy to be back on the field.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I miss the game quite a bit. It feels good. I’m just trying not to hurt myself out here.”
“It’s always fun coming back,” agreed Villareal. “I love being here and it brings back a lot of memories. I’m just here to have a good time.”
Everyone also seemed to like the changes to the field.
“I love the field, the scoreboard, the fence,” Villareal said. “The NMMI symbol (behind the batting circle) looks awesome. All the symbols around the backstop. It’s a really good, one-of-a-kind baseball field in this area.”
“It’s amazing how much the facility’s improved and how coach Cook continues to bring in quality kids,” said Tim Campos, who is a 20-year alum. “Coach Cook has done an amazing job. With someone who has that much class running this program, it’s a joy to come back.”
Galindo also had praise for the Bronco staff.
“I love the coaches, man,” he said. “The coaches were the biggest thing, because they believed in me. They knew I could do something. Trusted me and I just gave them everything I had. They got me to the next level and from there kept working. Very pleased with the school as well. It’s like, the discipline. I’m a very nit-picky person now. Very organized and very disciplined about my time management.”
“Chris Cook has turned this place into a legitimate, competing college baseball program,” Villareal, a 2003 grad, said. “So I’m real proud of him and proud to support the team as the season goes on.”
And Cook was equally pleased to see the returning players, both from his teams and earlier in the school’s history.
“They’ve all got NMMI in common and it’s pretty cool,” he said. “It’s nice to have them back and it’s nice they’re happy with the event and like it. So we’re going to keep on doing it.”