Climbing the baseball ladder: 6 Fuegos make Pecos Baseball League All-Star team - Albuquerque Journal

Climbing the baseball ladder: 6 Fuegos make Pecos Baseball League All-Star team

In what is quickly becoming a late-June rite of passage, the Pecos Baseball League All-Star game is set for Fort Marcy Field on Monday – the third straight season the cozy home of the Santa Fe Fuego has been the host site for the mid-summer classic.

And, not surprisingly given the Fuego’s position atop the Northern Division and the league’s best record, Santa Fe will be well represented Monday.

“It’s absolutely amazing, very humbling,” said shortstop Eddie Newton, who has turned the ballpark into his personal playground. “It’s an honor to even be considered, especially since it’s my first year in the league.”

For Newton to have gone without consideration would have bordered on criminal since he’s tattooing the ball at a rate even Ted Williams could never have hoped to approach, raking it at a silly .483 clip – second best in the league with seven homers and 37 RBI.

Newton and five teammates who are joining him in the All-Star contest heard their names called over the loudspeaker during a recent game, announcing their selection.

“You think you’re doing pretty well, but just to hear your name get announced, it’s a great experience,” he said. “It’s unlike any feeling I ever had.”

At first, Newton said he wasn’t sure what was going on.

“I didn’t even know what they were doing,” he said. “I just heard my name and I asked what happened. One of the guys had to fill me in.”

Like most players in the Pecos League, Newton was unwilling to pack up his glove and bats after his career at Merrimack College in Massachusetts ended.

“I graduated college last May and I wanted to keep playing,” he said. “One of my buddies told me about a tryout for the Pecos League. So I prepared myself all summer and I went to it. One of the pitchers on the team was scouting. I had a good tryout and everything fell into place.”

Things have fallen into place nicely for his housemate, outfielder Matt Patrone, who landed a spot in Monday’s exhibition.

“It’s definitely an honor,” he said. “I’m kind of speechless. I’ve never been on an all-star team and to have it happen here, I can’t even begin to put it into words. It’s going to be amazing.”

Like Newton, Patrone was somewhat stunned when the announcement wafted over the loudspeakers.

“We were playing Garden City and it was in the middle of the game when they started calling names out for the other team,” he recalled. “I thought, ‘Wow what are they doing?’ Then I heard them saying All-Stars from Santa Fe. Then I started to kind of listen. When my name was called, I was kind of into the game, so I didn’t have time to say, ‘Oh wow.’ But it’s definitely something I will never forget.”

Patrone, who is hitting .370 with seven homers, is second in the league in runs, with 44, and fifth in steals, with 16, came to Santa Fe after a brief and forgettable stint in the Frontier League. He played his college ball at Mount Olive in North Carolina.

Both players hope that this is the start of a climb up the baseball ladder.

“We’re just trying to win games,” Patrone said. “I know everyone here, they’re trying to continue playing as long as possible. We all know if the team does well, the rest will take care of itself. I’m focusing on one pitch at a time … .

“I want to play until I can’t play anymore, until someone says ‘no.'”

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