FARMINGTON >> A new Connie Mack team led by one of Farmington's most prominent baseball figures is emerging as a tough team to beat in summer league play.
Managed by Piedra Vista High School head coach Mike McGaha and coached by Aztec High assistant coach Brett Alexander, 4-Corners aims to become a Connie Mack city league team for years to come.
"Mike has his 4-Corners baseball organization, and he approached me about running a Connie Mack team. We want to give it a one-year try and see what happens after this. If we have success and a good showing and the backing, then that's something we've talked about continuing," Alexander said. "There's a lot of kids that get overlooked and don't have the opportunity to play for Strike Zone or Naa'taanii."
Originally, most of the members on the current Strike Zone team were set to play as team 4-Corners.
"The Strike Zone roster was originally going to be team 4-Corners, but me and Adam (Morrissey) got together so I gave him my roster," McGaha said. "It was a good match, but that left no team 4-Corners, so I put together another team."
This year's Connie Mack team is made up of six players from Aztec, six from Piedra Vista and one from Durango, Colo.
"There are a lot of good kids that are too old to play for the Rivercats and Sting, because they keep their kids that are underclassmen together. A lot of these kids would go play for the Nuts a couple of years ago or last year with the Stix. We decided to keep a group of five or six together from each school that are good ball players and got overlooked by other teams. We can put them together and make them a competitive team," Alexander said.
"We're going to have some fun, travel, go to a couple of tournaments this summer, and we're playing 16 or 17 league games, which is the most out of any of the teams. It's giving these kids who haven't signed (with a college) some exposure. We'll be going to a couple tournaments, so maybe they'll have a chance to sign somewhere."
Playing for 4-Corners gives the players from Piedra Vista and Aztec the rare chance to team up.
"Getting to mix with PV is a lot of fun," said graduated Aztec player Tanner Moore. "It's definitely a good thing to get more competition in this town."
The team is off to a strong start, sitting at 3-1 in the city league standings after defeating Naa'taanii, the Rivercats and the Aces with the lone loss coming to undefeated the DC MOB.
4-Corners has relied on its pitching depth and solid offense to get off to a good start.
"We may not have one ace that can beat everybody, but we collectively have a pitching staff about nine deep, which is good come city league tournament time. And, one through nine, we can swing it," Alexander said. "Everyone has a good IQ of baseball. Once we gel, I think we'll be just fine."
The players also see the relaxed atmosphere around the team as a reason for their early-season success.
"It's just laid back. Everyone is here to have fun," said graduated PV player Ty Jaquez.
Ultimately, the team hopes to be the one hosting the Connie Mack World Series in August.
"I think all eight teams that sign up have the goal of hosting the Connie Mack World Series," Alexander said. "If we can get in the top four seeds and have a good opportunity to have a good showing in the city tournament, then it'll make a good case that this is an organization that's on the rise. Maybe next year one of those kids who doesn't know where he wants to play will say 'I'm going to play for 4-Corners.'"
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.