EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – It’s the gold glove season, and there are several local high school baseball teams in El Paso looking to make deep playoffs.
The Irvin Rockets are in the playoffs for the first time since 2014, and their magic number is ten. Irvin’s bench has been colder than normal this year. This tends to happen when there is only one player available who keeps it warm.
“These 10 guys we have, we would not trade them for anything,” said Rockets head coach Christopher Camacho.
It’s not just the imagination that runs off with you; The Rockets have played all season with just 10 players in total, in a sport that requires nine.
“Everyone is important, and everyone has to bring something to the team,” said junior catcher / utility player Iziah Salas.
Many things, in fact. Everyone hits, everyone runs, everyone plays multiple positions; sometimes in the same game.
Low numbers have been a theme across El Paso sports this year due to COVID-19, and Rocket’s baseball team is no different. However, having just 10 players did not stop Irvin from advancing to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
“They definitely have a lot of gravel and a lot of heart to come together and serve the playoff bid they made,” Camacho said.
It has also given them a fantastic nickname: The Tentations, based on the famous musical action, The Temptations. It went over the heads of the players first, but it’s caught.
“I did not know what it meant until they told me,” said junior utility player Andrew Carreon. “I thought it was pretty cool, though.”
“They have embraced it,” Camacho added. “They came together, embraced it and they love the name The Tentations.”
Irvin’s underdog story continues on Thursday in the Bi-District round against top-seeded Canutillo. A winning winner will have Tentations on cloud nine, and they hope that their success this year will encourage others to join the team next year.
“We just want to give it everything we have to make it a special year,” Salas said.
Match 1 in the three-game Bi-District series between the Rockets and Eagles kicks off at 6pm on Thursday at Irvin.