McCurdy freshman Diego Borrego pitched the last two innings against Tierra Encantada in the Bobcats 18-1 victory. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post
Mccurdy Picks Up First District Win
By George Morse Sports and Outdoors
For the last two seasons, McCurdy Charter School has been dominant in Class 1A/2A baseball in Northern New Mexico, routinely winning their games via the 10-run mercy rule and advancing to the Class 1A-2A state championship game. One could argue that were it not for the Melrose High School and their ace pitcher Wyatt Williams, the Bobcats would be celebrating two consecutive state championships (2015, 2016) rather than Melrose. Williams shut out McCurdy 10-0 in 2015 and tossed a no-hitter in the 2016 state championship game, a 4-0 Melrose victory.
There will be no chance of a rematch in this year’s championship game, as McCurdy has moved up to Class 3A, while Melrose remains in Class 1A/2A. Gone are McCurdy’s ace pitcher Alejandro Croff, as well
starting catcher and number 2 pitcher Freddie Perez. Both graduated.
McCurdy’s Isaiah Archuleta beats the throw to third base against Tierra Encantada in the Bobcats 18-1 victory March 30 at McCurdy . Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post
Despite those losses, McCurdy returns a lot of veterans of the last two seasons, dominated by a strong sophomore class. McCurdy started six freshmen in last year’s championship game. The pitching rotation features sophomores Matt Martinez, Ubaldo Barela, Kemmer Croff, A. J. Vallo and freshman Diego Borrego. Martinez lines up at third base when not on the mound and Barela takes over at first. Croff patrols the outfield. Sophomore Isaiah Archuleta returns at shortstop. The team’s lone senior, Isaac Fresquez, returns at second base, but may swap places with Archuleta. Center fielder Gabriel Huerta is still recovering from a broken collarbone. Sophomore Paul Maestas takes over at catcher. Left fielder Vallo returns and has moved to centerfield in Huerta’s absence. Freshman Nicholas Croff has been getting time as designated hitter. Sophomores Nikko Valdez and Ernesto Martinez are seeing time in left field.
The challenge presented to the Bobcats will be how well they will do in a bigger class against tougher competition. The results have been mixed, with McCurdy getting off to a 2-4 start. McCurdy did get off on the right foot in their District 2/3-3A competition with an 18-1 victory over Tierra Encantada charter School March 30 at McCurdy. The Bobcats improved to 3-4 with the victory.
McCurdy took a 1-0 lead after the first inning, then teed-off on Tierra Encantada starter Chris Yowell, scoring eight runs highlighted by Barela’s inside-the-park home run. McCurdy starter Kemmer Croff held the Alacranes hitless in the first two innings before yielding a double in the third inning. The Bobcats scored three more runs in the third inning to take a 12-0 lead.
The Alacranes got their lone run in the top of the fourth inning on a triple by Brian Chavez and a single by Xavier Kitchens off reliever Borrego, who had replaced Croff on the mound. McCurdy added six more runs in the fourth inning to lead 18-1. After Tierra Encantada failed to score in the top of the fifth inning, the game was ended under the 10-run mercy rule.
“We hadn’t been hitting the ball at all,” McCurdy Coach Roberto DeVargas said. “Against Questa (a 12-2 McCurdy victory March 25), that’s when we finally started hitting the ball.”
The Bobcats will likely face some stiffer competition in District 2/3-3A. McCurdy hosts Pecos High School, a Class 3A state semifinalist last season, takes on McCurdy Tuesday in the Bobcats next district game. The Panthers beat the Bobcats 11-0 in McCurdy’s opening game of the season in which McCurdy gave up just four hits but issued seven walks. The game should serve as a good indication of how the Bobcats have progressed. Pecos was beaten by Raton High School 11-1 in their District2/3-3A opener. Raton looks strong despite a 5-7 record primarily against Class 4A competition. Monte Del Sol Charter School and Santa Fe Prep School are the other members of District 2/3-3A.
“There will be a little more competition,” Coach DeVargas said. “”We’re fine with the move (to 3A). We’re stillpretty young. I have one senior, no juniors and a ton of sophomores. I need to work on their mentality little. We are playing 3A competition and they need to be ready, be prepared.”