NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – William ‘Duece’ Benjamin is the Gatorade New Mexico Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Benjamin is the third player ever from the Las Cruces Bulldawgs to receiver the honor. The 6-foot-1 junior led the Bulldawgs to a 14-1 record and the Class 5A state final game this past season. Benjamin averaged over 27 points, nearly six rebounds, and more than five assists per game. He also averaged three steals per game.
In other sports news, Johnny Tapia Jr. is in Van Tate’s Sports Office this week. The son of the late five-time world champion boxer Johnny Tapia will make his amateur debut on a fight card at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero on July 31. Tapia is hoping to make his own name in the sport. “I am not my dad and although you may be expecting to see my dad in that ring, I’m a completely different person, but I’m still a Tapia. So, I guess we’ll see,” said Tapia Jr.
New Mexico United is in the state of Utah for a game against Real Monarchs. New Mexico is hoping to bounce back from a hard-fought loss, full of controversy, last weekend. New Mexico has only lost to Real Monarchs once in the six times the two clubs have met. That was New Mexico’s Inaugural season.
Mountain West Pitcher of the Year, Justin Armbruester, is not sure what is next for him. His University of New Mexico teammate and outfielder Kyler Castillo are in the same boat. The two first-team All-Mountain West team selections are waiting to see how they will fare in the Major League Baseball Draft in July and who will be the next coach at UNM before deciding their next move.
“I’ve been wanting to be drafted to the MLB since I was a little kid,” said Armbruester. “As far as coming back to UNM, if the draft doesn’t work out, I want to find out who the coach is first before I make that decision”
The Albuquerque Isotopes and Las Vegas Aviators are playing the second game of six. Thursday night the Isotopes edged the Aviators 2-1 when a wild pitch allowed Eric Stamets to score the decisive run in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Isotopes got over five innings of strong work from Colorado Rockies pitching prospect Ryan Rolison in his third Triple-A start.
Rolison struck out four batters, allowed only two hits, and did not give up any runs. “I don’t think that my command was as good as it has been tonight, but I was able to land some change-ups,” said Rolison. “So, I really relied on my changeup tonight. I liked the way I competed and, like I said, I wasn’t as sharp as I had been, but I was able to make some pitches when it mattered and was able to get a quality start.”
The 1-1 Duke City Gladiators are back on the road. The Gladiators have a 6 p.m. date against the Frisco Fighters Saturday. The game will be broadcast on Youtube.