Keeping it real (as possible) - Albuquerque Journal

Keeping it real (as possible)

Fourteen-year-old Marcus Gutierrez, center, and 13-year-old Lucas Stoll, right, both from St. Michael’s High School, practice hitting during E&G Baseball Academy, which is being held at the Boys and Girls Club building in Santa Fe. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

“Play Ball!” is not likely something that’s going to be heard this next month at Santa Fe’s E&G Baseball Academy.

But thanks to technology and a competition-starved group of athletes, baseball of sorts will be played.

“The main reason, especially for the kids who have been working with us through the summer, is we’ve been doing one-on-one and small group stuff,” said E&G co-owner Ian Farris. “The training and the practice gets a little boring after a while. So we wanted to work on the same kind of stuff and in the same kind of groups, and make them more competitive, let them play something that would be meaningful.”

So, for the month of February, teams of players each will be going at each other, smacking the ball around while a Rapsodo machine tracks the flight of hits.

“When we announced it, we filled it up in about a week,” Farris said. “It’s not really a game, but competition, and they have to work together sandlot style. They make their own teams of four, no coaches, and we let the kids play against each other old school, like we used to gather at the park, get a team together and play.”

Old school, but with new technology.

“The technology we’re using for this league, we’ve been using for a year and a half now; it’s pretty accurate, too, which is cool,” said 16-year-old Tiger Johnson, who attends the master’s program at Santa Fe Community College and would play for Santa Fe High School. “When you hit, it tracks where the ball goes and how fast off the bat. It keeps a record of your scores, and what your highs and lows are.”

The key aspect will be the head-to-head, pitcher-versus-hitter struggle, Farris said. That is something that, while it can be simulated with a pitching machine, is not the same as doing it for real, Johnson said.

Lucas Stoll, 13, of St. Michael’s High School, gets instruction from Narci Saiz, a coach at St. Mike’s, during E&G Baseball Academy. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

“It’s a good way to get back into live at bats,” he said. “Before, we were just hitting off a machine and that’s a lot different than hitting off a real person throwing.”

It should make for a fun experience for everyone involved, Farris said.

“We can simulate a game without any fielder or base runners. One group pitches and the other hits,” Farris said. “There’s just a pitcher. Not a catcher, just a target. And the groups don’t mix. That’s the guidelines. We’re able to simulate everything else. It all boils down to between pitcher and hitter. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a hitting game but, for pitchers who haven’t faced a batter, it’s different.”

Karsen Patten, 12, a sixth-grader at Nina Otero Community School, falls into that category.

“Once in a while just throwing it around with my dad,” he said of letting loose. “A couple of times, we’d go to the park and I’d throw a few pitches. I feel like I’m trying to get my arm back into it. It’s like riding a bicycle, it comes back to you.”

His mom, Susan Patten, said there was never a doubt about letting her son play in the league.

“We had him participate in one of the summer camps that they did and they conducted it in a very safe way,” she said. “That’s a big component. Equally important, it’s an opportunity to get back into some sports and have an opportunity to interact with some of his buddies.”

And while a game is meant for fun, it also helps batters by highlighting both strengths and weakness of at bats, allowing them to improve as the league moves along.

In keeping with the spirit of it all, Farris said regular stats will be kept and posted, and there are plans in the works to livestream the games for parents, who are not permitted in the facility while the games are going on.

“It’s been a long time between games, a long time,” he said. “I hope we can play real games soon, but we’re looking at expanding it, and making it better, and playing it in the summer. We just wanted to make it as real a league as we could without playing defense.”

Home » Sports » High School » baseball » Keeping it real (as possible)


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
St. Pius gets its redemption, routs Academy for 4A ...
baseball
It took 11 months, but St. ... It took 11 months, but St. Pius got its redemption. And by the looks on the players' faces, it was worth the wait. The ...
2
Class 3A baseball: NMMI romps over East Mountain, sends ...
baseball
When you have New Mexico's strikeout ... When you have New Mexico's strikeout leader taking the mound in the state championship game, you have to like your chances. New Mexico Military ...
3
Eunice's scores 15 in second inning, romps to 2A ...
baseball
For all intents and purposes, the ... For all intents and purposes, the coronation for Eunice’s state record 18th blue trophy probably began during a marathon second inning that sucked the ...
4
Carlsbad blanks Sandia for 5A baseball championship
baseball
Make it a 12-pack for the ... Make it a 12-pack for the Carlsbad Cavemen. One of New Mexico's most storied baseball programs capped a superlative postseason on Saturday afternoon at ...
5
Prep baseball: East Mountain surprises its way to 3A ...
baseball
East Mountain avenged an early-season loss ... East Mountain avenged an early-season loss to Santa Fe Indian School as the Timberwolves advanced to the program's second-ever state championship game on Friday ...
6
Prep baseball: Carlsbad, Sandia to play for 5A crown
baseball
Chris Eaton and the Sandia Matadors ... Chris Eaton and the Sandia Matadors celebrated large on Friday. “Monumental,” the Sandia baseball coach said after his second-seeded Matadors advanced to the Class ...
7
Class 4A baseball: St. Pius, Academy to play for ...
baseball
According to Sartans coach Matt McCoy, ... According to Sartans coach Matt McCoy, there's just something about the tension of the late innings that brings out the best in St. Pius. ...
8
Class 5A baseball's Fab Four: La Cueva, Sandia, Carlsbad, ...
baseball
Kolby Burton said it out loud, ... Kolby Burton said it out loud, but probably all of the La Cueva Bears felt the same."W ...
9
Prep baseball roundup: Academy tops Valley; St. Pius, Los ...
baseball
Albuquerque Academy pitcher Alex Gaeto holds ... Albuquerque Academy pitcher Alex Gaeto holds himself to some pretty high standards. But even when he falls a little short of his own expectations, ...