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Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.  That is until last year.  After three previous consecutive trips to the state title game, the Goddard Rockets finally won the state championship in 2017.

“It kind of just got the monkey off our back,” said senior Cameron Stevenson.

“I really think it took a lot of pressure off of these boys that are returning here because now you can’t say ‘Goddard can’t win the big one’, they did,” explained head coach Gilbert Alvarado.  “Now they want to keep that tradition going.”

With five seniors on the roster, Goddard is under new leadership this year.  Gilbert Alvarado takes over the program after eight years as head coach at Ruidoso.

“It’s been very eye opening in terms of the talent we have here.  The boys, and the way they go about their business is excellent.  They’ve done a great job embracing me.”

Stevenson says the transition has been smooth.  “I can just say it’s been a blast.  This team has a lot of team chemistry. We play well together, we play for each other, and, honestly we just have fun.”

Little things matter to the defending state champs.

“You don’t think about winning a game, we think of winning innings,” said Stevenson.  “So, if we do the little things right we’ll win each inning. When you put that together, you win more innings you win more games.”

The Rockets are led by senior Cameron Stevenson.

“Probably one of the most consistent players I’ve ever coached in my career,” is the way Alvarado described his senior star.  “He’s also one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever met.  When it comes to playing catch, warming up, stretching, hitting in the tunnel, there’s nothing he does about his day that doesn’t have his 100 percent effort into it and it shows.”

Stevenson has great speed and size with a 6’1” 190-pound frame.  He’s a vocal leader whose focus is to put up even bigger numbers at the plate.

“Last year I hit .405 and this year I’m shooting for around .430 or .440 or higher.  I’d like to get more doubles and triples and of course home runs.”

Defensively he’d like to improve on some already impressive numbers.

“I think my ground ball ratio is probably around 91 to 95 percent which is good but personally I’d like it to be 100 because I don’t like making mistakes.  I want to be the best player I can be that day.”

It’s that kind of approach to the game that landed Stevenson an offer from the University of New Mexico.

“Coach Birmingham is a Hall of fame coach,” said Stevenson.  “The program has been doing really phenomenal the past few years and I just want to compete.  Anywhere I go I want to compete and the University of New Mexico is going to give me that opportunity to compete at the next level.”

Can Stevenson and the Rockets get back to the title game for a fifth year in a row?  That’s the goal.  But again, the focus is on the little things.

“They know that’s where they want to be, but they also know to get there it takes a lot of focus on the daily grind.  It’s one thing to say you want to win the state championship but are you doing it on a Monday at practice?”

Little things can take you a long way.

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