It’s just a game, but it’s a Roswell baseball coach Tyrell Curtis’ lover. He feels the congenital suffocation in his stomach. Like when he was asked in relief at the New Mexico Highlands to get a batter out to win the game.
Curtis remembers what it’s like to stand on the pile of pots exactly 60 feet and six inches from the home plate with his hat pulled tight on his head. The hitter can only see the top of his eyes while the glove covers his face.
The hitter has only one second to pick up which pitch is thrown from the left. Curtis enjoyed the opportunity of these one-on-one matches to give his team the victory.
He was so successful at the New Mexico Military Institute that he shared his pitching for a scholarship to the New Mexico Highlands. He wound up NMMI’s career leader in ERA.
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Curtis was out of baseball for three years and had a good life. He worked as a certified strength and conditioning coach before realizing how much baseball meant to him.
Curtis can identify with his team as much as anyone, what it’s like to have played baseball. Roswell found out that their season was interrupted before they played in the Goddard Southwest Classic Tournament.
“I hope these kids have a season,” Curtis said. “Whether or not kids continue to play college baseball, sports are still a big part of kids’ high school lives.”
One of his mandates was to strengthen the players. Curtis put his team on a lifting program. In the first year, Roswell showed diamond improvement and conditioning. Roswell improved in the win-loss column, and came a game short of the playoffs.
Curtis hopes to establish a level of talent and depth that can play with teams like Goddard, Hobbs and Clovis. For Curtis, it has started with this year’s senior class.
Curtis feels that Goddard will always be one of the best programs in the state, but with the right foundation, Roswell can be there. Curtis believes RHS has had some good players, but has not reached its full potential. He believes Goddard athletes reach their potential.
Curtis hopes the season will be played this year. Roswell is expected to fight for a playoff spot in District 4-5A. The team needs to replace some key players from last year’s squad with Xavier Lomeli at first base, Noah Byrd at third base, and on the mound, AJ Palomino, Derek Natividad and Kayleb Wright, to name a few players.
Curtis is looking for great things from returning players: Xavier Gonzales, Armando Silva, Rhett Stokes, Taymon Burrola and Brady Villegas to name a few.
On the ground, the Coyotes appear to be deeper than they have been for some time. Look for Andrew Sedillo, Burrola, Sylvester Lomeli, Adiel Parra and his twin brother, Udiel Parra, to eat up innings.
Curtis noted that Sedillo threw a pearl against Goddard before losing 2-1 last year. Burrola never played a game last year because the basketball season had not ended. This could be a big year for him on the mound and behind the plate. Burrola was honorable mention as a catcher and was second team all-district as a pitcher his second season.
Roswell has two athletes who have signed letters of intent. Villegas committed to Otero Community College and Stokes, one of the most sought after baseball players in the state, has signed with NMMI. Stokes and Villegas were second team all-district as sophomores.
According to Curtis, this senior group will make a positive impression on the baseball program. They won a record 13 games in 2019. Last season, Roswell Goddard beat for the first time in eight years and laid the foundation for the underclassmen to emulate.
“They are (older) are a good group,” Curtis said. “They are the group our underclassmen need to look at. They show what it takes to win games and the work you have to put in. I think I want some more kids with the opportunity to play in college, which is good. “
One of the biggest concerns entering the season will be that athletes remain qualified academically. In January, all athletes will be qualified regardless of the previous semester, but during the other nine weeks of the grade period, the average values must be 2.0 and no Fs. Across the state, many athletes have had difficulty adapting to online learning.
As a teacher, Curtis understands how and why children may have difficulty learning online. He feels that there is only so much he can do without personal interaction with the children.
“You can not know if a child is struggling online,” Curtis said. “If they have problems, they can not come and talk to you. Who would be motivated to stare at a computer all day? “
For the students, Curtis noted that the children missed out on prom last year and graduation. They have also missed homecoming this year and may also miss prom and other activities.
“I ask the kids to be positive,” Curtis said. “I think coaches feel worse than kids because they do not have a chance to compete against other people.”
With the way the baseball season is set up, kids can upgrade and still play baseball games in June. The state championship is scheduled for June 27.
Roswell is scheduled to play 21 games this season, mostly double heads. They will play on Tuesdays and Fridays. Roswell will play 12 district games, nine warm-up games with four of those games against Goddard.
“For me,” said Curtis, “your high school years should be the best years you can remember. If you think about it, if they do not go to college, their (children’s) life begins after they finish high school. They have to get jobs to pay for everything, they become part of the workforce of 40 hours a week in May. I feel bad because these kids lose a lot. ”
Roswell’s first game of the season is scheduled for May 3 at Alamogordo.
Sports Editor JT Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.