Diamond Warriors drop series to Horsemen
Facing the No. 1 seeded team in New Mexico’s Class 3A State Tournament was going to be a difficult enough challenge for the Socorro High School baseball team. The Warriors hadn’t been on the winning side of things since April 17, and to make it even harder for them, they’d be swinging the bat against a guy who put up three no-hitters this season in St. Michael’s Colin Friedman.
But Socorro was determined to put the ball in play against one of the state’s most talented pitchers, and in game one of their best-of-three series with the Horseman on Friday afternoon in Santa Fe, they did just that.
“We came out, we hit him and we scored,” Socorro head coach Kenneth Gonzales said. “What we told them was to come here, have fun, be ready to swing the bats and just play ball.”
The Warriors took their coach’s advice as they collected four hits in 19 trips to the plate against St. Mike’s ace right-hander, and recorded a run in the fifth inning off of an Ignacio Chavez RBI single.
“Don’t let him no-hit us,” is what Dominic Montano said his team’s mind set was entering the game. “We tried our best to get some hits, and it started working toward the end,” he said.
Unfortunately for Socorro, their bats didn’t warm up in time, and in the end St. Mike’s hit their way to an 11-1 victory. In 4 1/3 innings Warriors starting pitcher Michael Chavez surrendered 11 runs on 12 hits, walked three batters and hit another. Six different Horseman players batted their way on base and eight different players crossed home plate. St. Michael’s Andre Chavez went 2 for 3 with three RBIs and Joey Roybal hit 3 for 4 from the plate, recording two doubles and driving in two runs of his own.
Michael Chavez, Derrick Prieto, Montano and Ignacio Chavez all had one hit a piece for Socorro as Friedman struck out four and walked none in five complete innings.
While the scoreboard might not have reflected it though, the Warriors put up a solid effort, considering how young and depleted their roster looks. Gonzales was starting a freshman at second base, a junior at third base and had sophomores playing in the outfield. At times the team’s inexperience showed as Socorro recorded six errors on the day.
“We lost some key players and I think that kind of hurt,” Gonzales said. “It’s tough when you’re losing ace pitchers. We lost our starting catcher the very first game. It’s tough to hang in there.”
In game two of the series on Saturday morning the Horsemen scored in all but one inning en route to a 10-0 blanking of the Warriors.
Daniel Gonzales took to the mound for Socorro and struck out nine batters, but he also walked six and gave up nine hits. Jeremy???? Aranda-Trujillo went 2 for 3 from the plate, drove in three RBIs and scored twice for St. Mike’s, and Matthew Smallwood pitched five scoreless innings, giving up five hits, walking two and striking out six for the Horsemen.
Michael Chavez went a perfect 3 for 3 batting and stole two bases for the Warriors, but Socorro stranded all seven players that got on base.
Despite being knocked out of the tournament in the first round, coach Gonzales knows his team gained valuable experience and probably as importantly, they had a good time doing it.
“Today was just all about having fun and hey, we’re in the playoffs,” he said. “The kids are getting some experience that they probably otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.”
The future indeed looks bright for a young, scrappy team that puts up a fight every time they take the field, and although coach Gonzales admits it’s been an up and down year, he knows his team has a lot to look forward to.
“Am I looking forward to next year? You’re darn right,” he said. “All year long they’ve fought and they’ve tried. Our kids are going to come back; they’re fighters.”
Socorro finishes their season with an overall record of 9-17 and 3-8 in District 3-3A.