Senior has been a solid pitcher and center fielder for Bloomfield
BLOOMFIELD — With three games left in the regular season, the Bloomfield baseball team is in prime position to snag its fourth consecutive District 1-4A title, especially if senior Chauncey White keeps playing the way he has been.
White, a starting pitcher and center fielder, tossed a perfect game against Thoreau on April 19. His prowess on the mound, along with his knack for chasing down almost any ball hit in his vicinity in center field, has helped Bloomfield win nine of its last 10 games.
All the Bobcats (16-8, 8-0 District 1-4A) have to do to claim another district crown is get by Kirtland Central (17-7, 8-0) — a team that has won eight of its last nine games — when the teams meet in Kirtland for a doubleheader on Thursday.
White said he likes his team's chances.
"You know, we weren't that good at the start of the season, but we're really coming together now," he said. "We're pretty strong now, and I think we can finish strong."
The blazing speed and athleticism that made White a dynamic running back for the Bloomfield football team is also what makes him such a breathtaking player to watch on the diamond. Bobcats coach Frank DeHoyos said White's range in center field is unlimited.
"He does some special things out in center field that we've almost gotten used to," DeHoyos said. "You see him steal a double or a triple, and the crowd's screaming 'Yeah!' and we're just kind of looking, like, 'Yep, there's Chauncey.'"
When the senior is not manning center field or at the plate trying to improve his already outstanding .360 batting average, he's on the mound, freezing opposing hitters with his lethal array of pitches.
"He throws a good fastball, a great curveball, and he mixes in a change-up every once in a while for a strike," DeHoyos said. "Personally, I think he's effectively wild, which is a good thing."
White said he felt good in the game against Thoreau — so good that he didn't have to empty his entire bag of tricks to throw a perfect game against the Hawks.
"I was just trying to throw strikes really, I wasn't throwing to my full potential," White said. "I was really working on hitting spots and testing out my control. Coach was talking about hitting spots, and that's what I was going for."
White's 75 miles per hour curveball is his punch-out pitch. That curveball and his ability to hit spots has brought White a 6-1 record to go along with a sparkling 1.78 earned run average. This season, he has struck out 41 batters in 37 innings.
"I dare say he doesn't even realize the kind of impact he's had for us on the mound. He's pitched in every one of our big games," DeHoyos said. "He beat Hope Christian, he beat St. Mike's, he beat Taos. He beat Shiprock at Shiprock in relief. Granted, there's a whole team behind him helping him out, but he just gets it done on the bump."
Brash and unafraid to engage in trash talk on the field, White said he loves getting into it verbally with opposing players. His coach said he doesn't mind it either.
"He's got a competitiveness to him, and he likes that charge that other teams give him," DeHoyos said. "He keeps that little chip on his shoulder, and he answers back, and that's good. I like that."
White recalled a tough luck, extra-inning 1-0 loss to Cobre on March 18 during a tournament hosted by St. Michael's as an instance in which the opposition's chirpiness fueled his performance on the mound.
"When we were in St. Mike's, Cobre wouldn't shut their mouth," White said. "I remember I got one of their top kids out and stared over at their dugout, and they didn't say nothing."
DeHoyos wouldn't tip his hand as to whether or not White will pitch in either of the contests against KC, but Bloomfield's versatile weapon will surely look to make his presence felt one way or the other.
The games are scheduled to take place at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Kirtland Central High School.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.
A closer look: Chauncey White
1. Favorite team?
"Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs."
2. Favorite athlete?
3. Favorite food?
4. Favorite movie?
5. Favorite subject in school?
6. Least favorite subject?
7. Biggest fear?
8. Do you play any other sports?
9. What's better, scoring a game-winning touchdown or hitting a walk-off home run?
10. What is the first thing you would do with $1 million?
"I'd buy my parents a new house."