History of the Las Cruces Vaqueros 2009-Present
2014 Season-The Pecos League is set to return the Vaqueros for the 2014 season. The Pecos League will be entering its 4th year of existance and the 5th year of independent baseball in New Mexico.
With expansion of two teams in Arizona- Bisbee, Douglas, Las Cruces made logical since as the 6th team in the Southern Division.
The Southern Division will include Alpine, Roswell, White Sands, Bisbee, Douglas and Las Cruces.
The League is now clearly defined as the rookie independent league in North America for players 25 and under.
2013 Season-At the Conclusion of the 2012 Season, the San Diego Padres announced they were moving into Downtown El Paso with a AAA Team in 2014.
It is going to be very hard for the Las Cruces Vaqueros to have a team in Independent Baseball within the radius of a AAA affiliated market.
The Pecos League was formed with Las Cruces as one of the anchor cities. Apodoca Park is 40 miles to downtown El Paso. The Padres will logically take sponsors, fans and support from the Vaqueros in a large scale.
They are building a state of the art stadium in downtown El Paso that will be one of the best in the Pacific Coast League AAA Baseball.
(The same league as ABQ Isotopes and Colorado Springs Skysox).
The Vaqueros were not able to recover from ballpark renovations and coaching changes of 2011.
The Vaqueros were the founding members of the Pecos League and the only team from remaining from the Continental Baseball League remaining in the Pecos League.
In 2012, The Vaqueros had their best year ever on the field and with attendence.
But in the Pecos League the Las Cruces Vaqueros were dead last in sponsors and attendance in 2011 and 2012 despite having a great team in 2012.
The Vaqueros also have one of the best ballparks in the league in Apodoca Park. The Ballpark renovations were amazing to fans and league but made no difference to sponsors.
2012 Season-By far the best season yet for the Vaqueros. The Vaqueros had their highest attendence best team and best support in team history.
The completion of Apodoca Park and combination of a new coaching staff lead to huge success for the Vaqueros and the Pecos League.
The newly completed Apodoca Park was a beautiful ballpark and ideal for the Pecos League.
The Vaqueros with a change to blue uniforms proved to be the perfect team for the Pecos League.
Casey Dill accepted the managing position knowing he would be in a tough situation.
He turned this around with a group of players that scored runs and played hard.
His pitching staff was made up of guys that gave the team a chance to win.
Casey Dill brought in a group of players from Northern California that played hard every game. The Vaqueros lead the league in all offensive categories.
The Vaqueros filled Apodoca Park all season and gave the fans a reason to get behind the team. Despite virtually no corporate sponsors or support the Vaqueros made it all the way to the championship game.
The Vaqueros beat Roswell two games to none in the first round of the playoffs and then took Alpine to three games before losing in the Championship.
The Vaqueros have established a solid brand of baseball in the league's best ballpark.
The 2011 Season the Vaqueros went local hiring Mayfield High School's head coach Miguel Gomez, recent NMSU grad Claudia Castillo to run operations.
This moved should have been popular with the local Las Cruces Community. This was obviously not the case as attendence plummeted.
Andrew Dunn even got the widely popular El Paso Diablos to play a pre season exhibition game in Apodoca Park against the Vaqueros.
Many Las Cruces Residents have been loyal Diablo Fans for years and finally the Diablos were going to play a game in Las Cruces.
When 76 people showed up to the game that set the tone for the entire season. Last minute replacement city Ruidoso had more fans than the Vaqueros. No one in the community got behind the team despite having local coaches.
In August 2010 a decision had to be made.
With the season nearing the end the community wanted to know if Vaqueros were going to survive or if they were going to be like most businesses that attempt to do business in Cruces.
Few people gave the Vaqueros a chance because the poor history Las Cruces has at support outside events. The writing was on the wall for the Continental League, Ron Baron could not gather any more expansion cities and he had put four long exhausting years into the CBL.
Big Bend General JR Smith called for a meeting between Andrew Dunn to represent Las Cruces and Donnie Randell, Ryan Stevens, Chris Schmidt and JR Smith to represent Alpine.
The Big Bend Cowboys had an out of town owner that was only going to go forward if the CBL was involved. They dropped the Big Bend name and went with Alpine Cowboys.
The only way they would be able to survive would be with a new league and under a 501 c 3. Andrew Dunn had serious intentions of putting a team in Roswell New Mexico.
At the conclusion of the meeting everyone agreed Andrew Dunn was the person who would be put in charge of the league.
The Pecos League was formed with (Las Cruces Vaqueros, White Sands Pupfish, Ruidoso Osos, Roswell Invaders, Carlsbad Bats and Alpine Cowboys)
Two of the major problems as reported by fans was a lack of promotions and concession specials. And Obviously the renovations at Apodoca Park allowed a maximum of 114 people in the grandstands packed shoulder to shoulder, 60 fans made the venue seem packed.
The Vaqueros had to reduce payroll twice. The Vaqueros finished dead last in attendence despite being the biggest city in the Pecos League,
They also were the only team not to make the playoffs except the travel team. The Vaqueros had some major positives in the season.
The Pecos League promoted 47 players to higher leagues and the level of play was much higher than expected.
The Vaqueros established a rival with White Sands and Roswell.
The Vaqueros had a golf tournament that was deemed a success.
The Las Cruces Vaqueros were founded by Andrew Dunn in July 2009 and began play in May 2010.
The Vaqueros were in the Continental Baseball League
Dunn had operated the Coastal Kingfish League Team in 2009 and was granted the Las Cruces Market for 2010 season.
When the team was announced there was supposed to be an 8 team league with teams in Pueblo, Abilene, Alexandria, Monroe, and Big Bend.
By the time the season started it was Las Cruces and Big Bend.
Dunn agreed to bring the Coastal Kingfish back for the 2010 season and the Continental Baseball League agreed to operated the 4th team which Dunn named the Desert Valley Mountain Lions.
This turned out to be a great thing for the Vaqueros. Very limited travel. The Vaqueros played hard and established a fan base.
It would have been extremely difficult for the Vaqueros to travel to Louisiana with very limited sponsors in their inaugural year.
Both teams made in through the season despite having to play against two travel pay to play teams in the Desert Valley Mountain Lions and the Coastal Kingfish.
The Continental League was formed in 2007 and Las Cruces was supposed to be one of the charter cities in 2007 owned by the Chancellor of NMSU, he left NMSU to goto another college and the team fell apart.
In 2010 we were excited to bring Professional Baseball to Las Cruces for the first time. We were in league that had problems but we are excited that we established a name and we are ready for the season to start.
Alpine and Lass Cruces tied with idenitical records but true to form the Continental League made the Vaqueros travel to Big Bend to play the Championship Series the Vaqueros lost 2 games to 1.
The Vaqueros promoted 7 players to higher independent leagues but had nothing left for the playoff run.
Bobby Brown was the field manager, Sean Kramer was the assistant coach, Holly McWatters from the El Paso Diablos was the GM.
At the conclusion of the season the Vaqueros ownership received a slew of complaints about the way the team was run.
We realize our local management staff was well under par for a professional level team and we have made big changes to correct this.
Hiring El Paso people to run a Las Cruces business did not go well with the fans or the community.
Game 32 Vaqueros 11 Kingfish 3
Game 31 Vaqueros 5 Kingfish 4
Game 30 Mountain Lions 7 Vaqueros 4
Game 29 Vaqueros 15 Mountain Lions 5
Game 28 Vaqueros 9 Mountain Lions 5
Game 27 Vaqueros 9 Mountain Lions 5
Game 26 Vaqueros 7 Mountain Lions 6
Game 25 Mountain Lions 6 Vaqueros 4
Game 24 Mountain Lions 6 Vaqueros 4
Game 23 Vaqueros 16 Mountain Lions 3
Game 22 Vaqueros 11 Mountain Lions 3
Game 21 Vaqueros 9 Mountain Lions 5
Game 20 Vaqueros 11 Coastal Kingfish 2
Game 19 Vaqueros 16 Coastal Kingfish 10
Game 18 Vaqueros 9 Coastal Kingfish 5
Game 17 Vaqueros 9 Coastal Kingfish 8Lammar Guy HR, Eric Stephans HR
Game 16 Vaqueros 3 Big Bend 2
Game 15 Vaqueros 13 Big Bend 12
Game 14 Vaqueros 11 Big Bend 10
Game 13 Big Bend 12 Vaqueros 5
Game 12 Vaqueros 10 Kingfish 2 Series Finale.
Game 11 Vaqueros 12 Kingfish 10 Series Finale.
Game 10 Kingfish 5 Vaqueros 3 Series Finale.
Game 9 Vaqueros 4 Coastal Kingfish 3
Vaqueros outlast Kingfish is a tight Thursday Night Contest. Lamar Guy made his Vaqueros debut with a 6th inning homer and a bases loaded walk to end the game in the 9th inning.
Game 8 Big Bend 6 Vaqueros 3 HR Fuentes L Erik Nyquist The Cowboys answered in the seventh with a two-run double from Darryll Stanfieldoff Vaqueros reliever Erik Nyquist. The Cowboys racked up 11 hits in the game, loading the bases against starter Andy Williams and Nyquist.
Closer Brandon Kelly replaced Nyquist on the mound with no outs and runners on second and third. Kelly retired the next five hitters he faced before Cody Ross hit a solo shot in the ninth
Game 7 Big Bend 8 Vaqueros 2 L Haggerty
Game 6 Big Bend 6 Vaqueros 5
Game 5 Vaqueros 14 Big Bend 7 W Romero
Game 4 Big Bend 5 Vaqueros 2 Vaqueros drop Series Finale Big Bend 5-2
Game 3 Big Bend Cowboys 13 Vaqueros 5 Vaqueros drop Saturday Night Game.
Game 2 Vaqueros 6 Big Bend 1
W Gorman Romero (1)
Jason Wysung infield fielder's choice scored Justin Lucero in the 4th inning. Cory Morales 8th innning single drove in two runs..Gorman Romero pitched 7 innings allowing 1 run..Catcher...Mitch Saum 3 run homer in the 9th broke the game open...
Game 1 Vaqueros 6 Big Bend 4
Las Cruces Vaqueros win first ever game! Thad Henderson's pitch hit homer carries Vaquero's to first ever victory, Cory Morales play excellent defense and had two hits.
W Haggerty (1)
S Brandon Kelly
First HR Thad Henderson
First Vaqueros Starter Shane Weldon
First Vaqueros run Mitch Saum
The first ever Vaqueros Game at Alpine, Texas. The Vaqueros did not have their hats in time for the game thus they had to wear Coastal Kingfish Hats.
CB. The Vaqueros won their first two games beating Alpine in Alpine on Thad Henderson's home run. Shane Weldon was first ever starting pitcher. The Vaqueros worn all powder blue Milwaukee Brewers style uniforms.
In 2010 the CBL had committments for an 8 team league, Alexandria, South Louisiana Pipeliners, Tyler, Monroe in the East, Abilene, Pueblo, Las Cruces and Big Bend in the West...The South Louisiana Pipeliners owner Dave Angrone wrote the league an NSF entry fee check and vanished. This caused a domino effect that should have completely ended the league. Alexandria the league's best market with drew and entered a team in the Texas Collegiate League. Tyler and Pueblo withdrew all together, Monroe's owners joined the Yuma Scorpions and withdrew from CBL, Bay Area Toros filed bankruptcy. Abilene never had a stadium... This left two teams Big Bend and Las Cruces. Andrew Dunn and Ron Baron decided to continue operations and move forward. With all of the efforts and promises made to both cities, the Kingfish were brought back to life and the Desert Valley Mountain Lions were born, by having both teams it allowed limited travel and a 4 team all Western League. With all the work Baron did to keep the league alive, there was no future and limited promise outside of the West. With Ron Baron being based in Dallas he decided this would be his last year, but it is important to understand that without Ron Baron Las Cruces would have never had pro baseball... No league would have went into Las Cruces as an experiment. The City of Las Cruces should always be thankful of Ron Baron and his league despite all of the problems it had... The Continental Baseball League was a bridge for the new upstart Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs.