Joy Wang and J.P. Murrieta
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Houston Astros are on the verge of clinching a World Series title, and a former standout from Albuquerque Baseball Academy has done his part to help make that happen.
Albuquerque native Alex Bregman carried the Astros to a 13-12 win Sunday night, hitting the game-winner against the Los Angeles and leading Houston to a three-games-to-two lead in the series.
There are about 300 kids who train at the Albuquerque Baseball Academy, and Bregman also started there at 10 years old.
"You could see at that point it was going to be something really special," said Ryan Brewer, who works at the academy. "Pretty much slapped him on the butt and said great job. There wasn’t a lot of coaching that had to be done."
Bregman has accomplished something in a short time many major leaguers don’t have on their resume. In a division series game against Boston, Bregman belted a home run on top of the Fenway Park’s Green Monster. In fact, Bregman has four home runs this postseason.
In his first World Series game, Bregman hit a home run off Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, one of the greatest pitchers of this generation.
Defensively, he’s been just as valuable at third base with a couple game-changing plays.
To give you an idea of just how different Bregman was as a youngster compared to now, Matt Foote describes his junior year at UNM when 10-year-old Bregman was the bat boy.
"We were losing and Alex comes up to me in the dugout and goes, ‘Hey Foote, I got the other team’s pitches. I know what they’re throwing,’" Foote said. "He was watching the coach from the dugout call pitches you know."
So he asked Bregman to prove it.
"Sure enough, about seven or eight pitches he called every pitch," Foote said. "So then our 10-year-old bat boy was calling pitches to hitters, letting them know what was coming. And we ended up coming back winning."
That was 13 years ago.
"He knew what his goal was," Brewer said. "He wanted to be on the Major League stage. He wanted to be the best."
Hours of hard work helped get him to where he is now.
"The failure that you deal with, the getting up off the floor and failure and kind of that marathon, you just keep going," said Mike Foote, Matt Foote’s father. "You keep putting one foot in front of the next and it’s for the rest of your life you know."
While thousands cheered in the stands Sunday, those who know Bregman say they had a feeling he’d make a big play all along.
"He’s just always been live for that big moment where you know he’s going to get the hit," Matt Foote said.
"He just knew he was going to get it done. You see it over and over and it just when it happens it’s like are you kidding me. He just did it again," Brewer added.
Bregman’s father, Sam Bregman, is a prominent lawyer in Albuquerque and he couldn’t be more proud of his son. With that said, it doesn’t come as a surprise his son is living his dream.
"He’s always been really intense when it comes to baseball and he’s always been really good at it," Sam Bregman told NBC affiliate KUSA in Houston. "I mean, when he was 4 years old he completed an unassisted triple play in T-ball, so this kid has been pretty focused about the game for a long time."
Now, Alex Bregman is one win away from a World Series title.
OTHER LOCAL CONNECTIONS
There is another face representing Albuquerque in the Astros club. Kenny Giles is in his first year with Houston. The Rio Grande graduate stayed in the bullpen last night.