EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – It’s gold glove season and there are several local high school baseball teams in El Paso looking to make deep playoff runs.
The Irvin Rockets are in the playoffs for the first time since 2014 and their magic number is ten. Irvin’s bench has been colder than normal this year. That tends to happen when there’s only one player on hand to keep it warm.
“These 10 guys that we have, we wouldn’t trade them for anything,” said Rockets head coach Christopher Camacho.
It’s not just your imagination running away with you; the Rockets have played the entire season with just 10 total players, in a sport that requires nine.
“Everyone is important and everyone has to bring something to the team,” said junior catcher/utility player Iziah Salas.
A lot of things, actually. Everyone hits, everyone runs, everyone plays multiple positions; sometimes in the same game.
Low numbers have been a theme across El Paso sports this year due to COVID-19 and the Rockets baseball team is no different. However, having only 10 players didn’t stop Irvin from advancing to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
“They definitely have a lot of grit and a lot of heart to come together and earn the playoff bid that they did,” said Camacho.
It’s also earned them a fantastic nickname: The Tentations, based off the famous musical act, The Temptations. It went over the players’ heads at first, but it’s caught on.
“I didn’t know what it meant until they told me,” said junior utility player Andrew Carreon. “I thought it was pretty cool, though.”
“They’ve embraced it,” added Camacho. “They came together, embraced it and they love the name The Tentations.”
Irvin’s underdog story continues on Thursday in the Bi-District round against top-seed Canutillo. A series win would have the Tentations on cloud nine, and they hope their success this year will encourage others to join the team next year.
“We’re just looking to give it everything we’ve got to make it a special year,” said Salas.
Game 1 of the three-game Bi-District series between the Rockets and Eagles gets underway at 6 p.m. on Thursday at Irvin.