Zias try to replace softball gear

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Since he was hired as Eastern New Mexico’s softball coach in January, it’s been a rough go for Armando Quiroz.

First, he stepped on a batting helmet while coaching third base during an intrasquad scrimmage in February, suffering a severely dislocated ankle which kept him from coaching the rest of the season.

Then when the team returned in late August, it was discovered that someone had broken into the shed at Zia Softball Field and stolen much of the team’s equipment.

The incident is still under investigation by university police, Quiroz said, but it likely was someone with access because there was no forced entry.

Quiroz said about $5,000 of equipment was stolen, including bats, nets to protect pitchers during batting practice, two sets of catcher’s gear and about eight dozen game balls.

The Zias are receiving help in the form of donations from other programs. Quiroz is in Arizona this week to pick up equipment donated by University of Arizona and U.S. Olympic coach Mike Candrea and Stacy Iverson, coach at Pima Community College in Tucson.

The team has already received some equipment from Baylor University, donated by head coach Glen Moore and assistant Mark Lumley. Quiroz said Jen Wells, coach at Stephen F. Austin University, will also provide some equipment.

The team had two fall tournaments scheduled, but had to cancel out of an event at West Texas A&M.

“We had to cancel out because we didn’t have any catcher’s equipment,” Quiroz said.

For now, they’re doing mostly conditioning work, he said.

“We can practice some,” he said. “We just can’t go ‘live’ very well because we haven’t had anyone get behind the plate yet.”

Quiroz said the Zias still hope to participate in a tournament at New Mexico State in late October.