ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – They only played eight games before the coronavirus came and wiped out the season. The Rio Rancho Rams went into the preseason ranked 28th in the country by Street and Smiths and the top-ranked team in New Mexico.
Their field even picked up love from Maxpreps who listed it as one of the ten amazing high school baseball fields. It all seemed to line up just right. Coach Ron Murphy said it was the best team he has had in 35 years.
“It all starts with our five seniors and their leadership and spending all their time with us and developing our young kids,” said Murphy. The Rams got an early test as they played the then third-ranked team in the nation, Carroll out of Southlake, Texas and only lost by a run.
“Our kids never backed down,” said Murphy. “We never thought they were better than us and I still don’t think they are better than us. That’s the way our kids think. They beat anybody on any given day and they’ll go out and compete and they will play hard and we’ll let the game take over and see what happens.”
The Rams fared even better in their home state of New Mexico, shutting out the three teams they played with a combined run total of 34 to zero. Opponents never made it past second base. “I mean our defense was outstanding, turning double plays, making some plays in the field, selling out and the pitching staff was throwing strikes, ahead of the count, not walking anybody,” said Murphy.
Senior Noah Brewer could tell something was special about the team. “Thought we were going to have a real shot to make a deep run in the tournament,” said Brewer. They will never know due to a shortened season. Murphy also will not know the joys of coaching his son on varsity, at least not this year.
“I don’t know if you would say disappointed or relieved, but I know I was disappointed because he’s a great kid and I haven’t given him enough recognition all the time and I’m hard on him, but I know it hurt me, losing a season of coaching him.” It also hurt to miss an opportunity. Murphy is only 15 wins from having the most career victories among high school coaches in New Mexico. Chances are he would have made the needed number. The Rams finished the short season 5-2-1.