On Mondays and Wednesdays kids of all ages from Socorro County hit the diamond for an evening of exhibition baseball. All three Sedillo Park fields are filled with young hitters looking to hone their skills with parents and family members from around the state traveling to cheer from the stands.
A total of four t-ball teams, five pitching machine teams, five piñon groups and three little league teams are participating in the summer series. The piñon group has live pitching and is designated for the 9-10 age group. David Guttierrez is the head man coordinating everything.
“This is all about the kids,” he said. “What we try to do here is get the kids ready for the next step before school starts. The young guys and girls need to be out here. We want to see them playing games instead of video games.”
Local community support was out in full force to support the youth. Former Warriors baseball star Clint Wellborn donated his time as home plate umpire as he prepares to attend and play for Eastern New Mexico University this fall.
“I’ve always been around baseball,” he said. “This was a position that I was in at one time so it’s cool to see the young players go for it. But today as an umpire I’m going to ignore the fans yelling and try to call a clean game.”
Parents such as Rebecca Apachito often make the trip down during the week from Magdalena to support their young hitters and pitchers. She has two boys, Flint in the pitching machine group and Zeb on the little league team group, running the bases.
“Thankfully with my schedule I’m able to come see all the games,” she said. “It’s good watching the kids play ever since they were little and you see how they progress together as friends as well as teammates throughout the year and not just during the season.”
Magdalena Steers Head Coach Kyle Candelaria was hard pressed with a younger team during the 2019 season which resulted in them missing the playoffs. He is working hard this summer making sure to give the young up and coming players every chance possible to prepare them for the future.
“I’ve been coaching these guys since t-ball,” he said. “We’re trying to create a program that consistently leads into success at the varsity level. It’s very important for these kids to learn the fundamentals early so that they can succeed and compete at the next stage. We didn’t have much of a youth program in Magdalena and now six years later we’re up to this point and the basic skills are there. Our kids look great and continue to get better.”
Rotating games last until the sun goes down with July 8 being the final summer schedule afternoon. The Little League Tournament will take place starting on July 15.
Official teams by category:
Pitching Machine; Diamondbacks, Diamond Dolls, Rockies, Red Sox, Steers.
T-Ball; Isotopes, Giants, Dodgers, Steers.
Pinon; Diamond Dawgs, Warriors, Cubs, Isotopes, Braves.
Little League; Yankees, Dodgers, Steers.