12/8/2011-2011 Season recap Las Cruces Vaqueros-For the 2nd year in the row the Las Cruces Vaqueros had alot of bright spots but ended the season on a low note. Las Cruces entered the Pecos League as one of two charter cities along with the Alpine Cowboys. The Vaqueros got hammered in an exhibition game with the Diablos 21-10 despite leading 6-5 in the game. Las Cruces ran off to a first place start but it was deceiving 8 of their wins were against Carlsbad. The Vaqueros swept Alpine in Alpine and looked in the drivers seat after June 7th. They had a 3 game lead. Then things got odd for the Vaqueros they played Ruidoso eight games in a row where they swept Ruidoso in Las Cruces 4 games and lost all 4 games in Ruidoso. After this the wheels began to fall off the wagon. White Sands swept three games from Las Cruces including a real close 19-18 game. Then the Vaqueros lost two more games to Carlsbad in a row at home. Alpine swept Las Cruces in Las Cruces. Las Cruces finished out July on a see-saw note winning and losing games. The Vaqueros clearly had the best offense in the league. The attendence was so bad it forced the team to reduce salaries in half, the Vaqueros were averaging nearly 1/3 of the fans from the 2010 season. The limited grandstand seating was the primary problem. There was no where to sit. The Vaqueros season come down to a 4 game series with Alpine, they had to win the series and they split the series heads up. Alpine had a 1-1/2 game lead entering the final series. Las Cruces would have had to sweep Roswell to get help. Luckily for the Vaqueros the Roswell Invaders were going to rest their entire staff for the playoffs and the Vaqueros swept the first three games. Roswell re-injected their starters for the 4th and deciding game and beat Las Cruces 12-1. Ending the Vaqueros season and allowing Alpine to advance to the playoffs. The Vaqueros were the only salaried team not to make the playoffs. The Vaqueros continued to send their best players to the United League/North American League and it left the team with no depth when it mattered. The Vaqueros choose to send their key players up to higher leagues before the trade deadline (Sean Keeler, Clint Stroud, Kyle Boggio, Steve Detweiller and Gerardo Caceres). The Vaqueros had no payroll and no depth behind these players and were at major disadvantage.

The Vaqueros had a great offensive team if not the best offensive team in the Pecos League
  • Clint Stroud joined the team May 29 after being released from the Frontier League and hit 15 home runs and .365 average, he was the best offensive player in the Pecos League
  • Harry Williams hit .368 and was with the team from start to finish with .368 average
  • Henry Fuentes hit 13 home runs and almost made El Paso's team in Spring Training.
  • colt Loehrs hit .429 in the last 11 games of the season
  • Rob Hermann hit .368 and was the teams catcher
  • Mitch Saum was hurt but hit three home runs in a game and would have had a great season.
  • Luis Carreras was by far the teams best starter, he threw 60 innings with a 5.40 ERA. He gave the team a quality start every outing.
  • Sean Keeler was a major spark plug when he was with the Vaqueros he kept going back and forth from the Frontier League to the American Association to the United League, he somehow was around long enough to throw 32.2 innings

The Vaqueros were every free agents choice when coming to the Pecos League, with best playing surface in league and best city. However alot of players were unhappy with the way the team was ran.

Too many to list-The Vaqueros had more problems then positives. Fans were cautious to jump into the Pecos League after the CBL had ended the season two weeks early. But all problems stemmed from almost no community support and attendence. The Vaqueros attempted to hire local Mayfield Coach Miguel Gomez to help garner community support. But the fans didn't come at all. The biggest attendence was the firefighters community game where there were close to 350 fans. 2010 General Manager Holly McWatters made numerous false promises to the business community and local fans and cost the Vaqueros badly in sponsorship and at the gate. The Vaqueros were doomed from day 1. Holly was removed in the middle of the 2010 season after she attempted to take the Vaqueros to join the United League in the middle of the season. Local businesses told the Vaqueros they were very unhappy with an El Paso Staff running a Las Cruces Team. The majority of the 2010 sponsors did not renew. Several of the checks the Vaqueros did get from sponsors were NSF. Miguel Gomez and his staff did the best they could with the resources they had. Even with very little travel in the Pecos League there was no financial support for the Vaqueros and something had to give. The salary of the players was what was slashed. It was uphill with salary problems from players. The organization of the team was the major problem, no one knew who was doing what. The Vaqueros weren't sure they were going to be able to play until almost May 1 due to the Grandstand Problems. The Vaqueros were involved in several fights, their players continued to charge out of the dugout without any control. Their scorekeeper and head statiscian got into a fight with Ruidoso Osos manager Kevin Griffin. Team owner Andrew Dunn quickly recognized there was a problem when 89 people showed up for a home game with the Diablos.

Las Cruces made it through the season in a much more stable league and they have an entire off season with a good general manager and sales staff to prepare for the 2012 season. The grandstands are also going to expanded to triple the capacity of 2012 and ready by March 15th. Clint Stroud had a great year, Steve Detweiller got called up to the Can-Am League. Several other players got called up to other leagues. The Vaqueros Golf Tournament was a huge success. The Vaqueros found out who their die hard fans were. Miguel Salcedo taking over team operations was by far the best move the team made. The Vaqueros are committing the City of Las Cruces for five years with the money the City of Las Cruces has put into Apodoca Park the upside the Vaqueros could be the best team in the Pecos League or the worst only time will tell.

The Vaqueros are abandoning their Baby Blue Look for Royal Blue. Casey Dill is their new manager and will be building team from ground up. The City of Las Cruces is in process of rebuilding the grandstands at Apodoca Park. 2012 will be a statement year for the fans in Las Cruces. The Vaqueros operation is coming together nicely for the 2012 season and they have no where to go but up. The Pecos League will be more competitive but if the biggest city in the Pecos League can just match the attendence of Roswell and Alamogordo then the Vaqueros will live in the top of the standings.