DeVargas notches 150th career win at McCurdy
The McCurdy Charter School baseball team’s 17-1 blowout win over Desert Academy on April 18 at the Santa Fe Municipal Recreational Complex marked a huge milestone for head coach Roberto DeVargas.
He just didn’t want his players to know about it until after the fact.
Huddled with his team after their victory over the Wildcats to improve to 6-4 and 2-0 in District 2-2A, DeVargas shared the news with the players that he had notched his 150th career win, and they subsequently rallied around their coach in celebration.
Just the kind of support he wanted, just after the game instead of throughout the duration.
“Oh, no,” DeVargas said about telling the team beforehand. “They would have razzled me the whole damn game.”
DeVargas’ big win was not just his 150th in his career, but his 150th at McCurdy, where he is currently in his 13th season at the helm. He has guided Bobcat teams to the state championship game twice in consecutive years in 2015 and 2016, both resulting in runner-up performances.
DeVargas said he felt lucky to accomplish the feat all at McCurdy because of the usual coaching carousel seen at the high-school level (take Española Valley High School as of late for a perfect example). He wanted to be sure to credit his great players and assistant coaches over the years as well.
“It’s great I get to accomplish that and it just means I’ve been coaching for a little while, you know how that goes,” he said. “It’s sweet and it’s a nice little milestone.”
McCurdy starting pitcher Kemmer Croff nearly had a nice little milestone of his own against Desert Academy, and although it would have only been through five innings because of the mercy rule, he came up just shy of tossing a no-hitter.
Croff gave up one lone hit to Cameron Motola to open the bottom of the fifth inning with the Bobcats ahead 17-0. Overall, he threw 77 pitches in five innings while striking out 10 batters and walking two.
Knowing their district opponents in Desert Academy and Tierra Encantada Charter School are programs still building, the Bobcats have been focused on playing complete games against them. They surrendered five runs in a 21-5 win against the Alacranes on April 16, so the focus against the Wildcats was to minimize those runs and mistakes.
“I wanted to let them score zero runs but they got one and it happens sometimes,” Croff said. “We know these teams aren’t the best, so we want to come out and let them not score at all.”
Still, the performance was a much-needed one after Croff’s last appearance on the mound where he gave up 12 runs in the first inning in a 17-7 loss April 11 at Santa Fe Indian School.
“In my last outing I gave up 12 runs in one inning against Santa Fe Indian, but today I felt really good and today was a good day for us,” Croff said.
It was a good day for the bats, and specifically at the top of the lineup. The No.1 through No. 4 spot of A.J. Vallo, Isaiah Archuleta, Diego Borrego and Croff combined for 10-of-14 at the plate with seven RBIs between them.
Croff, younger brother Nicholas Croff and Santiago Samora all had three RBIs apiece and the team totaled 18 hits on 33 at-bats.
“That was good and they were focused today,” DeVargas said. “They let the ball travel to them and it was one of those things where they were patient and watched the ball all the way.”
“That’s why coach has the lineup the way it is,” Kemmer Croff added. “I think that’s our best lineup.”
The Bobcats snatched a 2-0 lead after the first inning behind RBIs from Kemmer Croff and Borrego, then put the stranglehold on Desert Academy by scoring six, five and four runs during the next three innings.
In the six-run second, McCurdy scored three runs on Desert Academy starting pitcher Ethan Garcia before he was pulled Motola, who surrendered three more with two down. Nicholas Croff hit a two-run RBI double to score older brother Kemmer and Borrego before he made his way from second base to home plate after Desert Academy fumbled away the ball after a wild pitch and error throwing back to the pitcher.
Moving forward, The Bobcats will look to give DeVargas wins 151 and 152 when they host Tierra Encantada for a doubleheader on Wednesday (4/24) at 3 and 5 p.m.
It should likely bring more good times for the team, considering past results.
“The kids are great and I love the kids,” Devargas said. “They love me, you can tell, and we have a good time.”