New Mexico Lt. Governor leads team in Little League World Series bid

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Traveling around and serving the fifth largest U.S. state, while staying close to your hometown, is tough.

New Mexico Lt. Gov. Howie Morales is doing it.

“There are times where I’ll get up at 3 a.m. to make sure I’m at the locations I need to be and then to make sure I’m back to coach our teams,” Lt. Gov. Morales said.

The lieutenant governor is a coach for a team out of Silver City. The team is competing in the Little League World Series Southwest Regionals. Some of the first games are taking place in Albuquerque for the first time in a long time.

This isn’t Morales’ first championship run, either.

In 1992, he attended Western New Mexico University on a baseball scholarship. However, after WNMU canceled the baseball program, he joined the slow-pitch softball team.

While on the team, they won three championships.

Then, in 2008, he was head coach for the Cobre High School baseball team when they won the state championship. They also made the championship game in 2002, 2007 and 2009.

For his efforts, Morales is now a 2023 USSSANM Softball Hall of Fame inductee and a 2017 New Mexico High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame inductee.

After all of that, coaching the girls now is a top moment.

“This ranks up at the top for many reasons. I’ve seen these young ladies grow up since they were babies and, of course, raising my own daughter and having a chance to be on the field with her,” Coach Morales said.

“My dad brought me to the field and taught me everything I know. I love these girls and just all the hard work we put in together,” said Elena Morales, his daughter who pitches for the team.

“This team could really do it. I could see it,” centerfielder Estrella Orosco said.

No matter how the Silver City Little League softball team does, the lieutenant governor says this tournament marks progress.

“When you look at Title IX and how far we’ve come, and the opportunity these girls have to play in a regional tournament, it’s so rare we get to host this in New Mexico. This is an inspiration for all the younger girls growing up and an inspiration for our own girls,” Lt. Gov. Morales said.

Morales and other parents will be there cheering them on in the stands too.

“My daughter made it this far and I’m so proud of her. Go Silver City! Go New Mexico!” parent John Silvas said.

The Silver City girls won 5-4 against the Roadrunner Little League team Friday morning. Then, in extra innings Friday evening, they won 7-5 and advanced to the championship game.

While the team lost 7-5 in the championship game Saturday morning, their journey will continue on.