Cowboys preparing for opening pitch

Infielder Ellington Hopkins is one of eight returning Cowboys on this year's roster.

The lights stayed on in a virtually empty ballpark late Saturday night as the 12-week odyssey of the Alpine o6 Cowboys commenced this past week with spring training. A quiet inter-squad game between the Gallegos and the Scuras, named after two Pecos League veterans on this year’s team, entertained a handful of supporters who stuck around following the annual 5k and 10k fundraiser at Kokernot Field.

General Manager Kristin Cavness and Assistant General Manager Derek Pollacchi discussed living situations for young men from Chattanooga to Guatemala City, while Manager Sean Persky wandered around with an eye on his players always.

The season begins tonight in Santa Fe as Alpine plays the first of four games in the tiny Fort Marcy Ball Field. The home opener is Tuesday, June 4 at 7 p.m. against White Sands.

Both Ely Gallego and Chris Scura are in their fourth season of independent baseball. Scura hit over .400 for the Cowboys in 2017, while Gallego had his best season for Alpine on the mound that year.

One of the biggest to return is catcher Paul Ludden, who brought a .412 batting average, good defense, and leadership to the 2018 Mountain Division champions. Alpine finished with a 47-15 record, but lost the Pecos League Finals to Bakersfield, two games to one.

Ellington Hopkins and Lance Myers are both looking to start in their second year as Cowboy infielders, and Mike D’Eletto is pitching for Alpine for the third consecutive season. Mark Traylor is back in the outfield for his second season, after knocking in 55 runs in 2018. Traylor is one of three Cowboys with recent minor league experience for major league orginazations.

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