Aidan Etsitty did not have the senior year he would have liked.
The Pedra Vista player ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament a week before the start of the spring season and didn’t get a chance to play for his high school team.
But through rehab, he was able to work his way back and joined the 505 Panthers, who represented the Farmington City League at the 2022 Connie Mac World Championships.
“It was a journey from hell,” Etsiti said. “I’ve wanted to be here since I was three when I started playing baseball.
“I loved every part of it,” he added.
Etsitty was one of three Native Americans in the 505 Panther squad which consisted mostly of members of the Piedra Vista baseball team.
Other Aboriginal people who made the team were Arnold James and Isril Janssen.
Of the three players, Etsitty had 505 Panthers hit on July 27 against Florida Legends in the elimination game.
Etsitty hit the top of the seventh as 505 Panthers were eliminated from overtime after coming out with an 8-2 score.
“He graduated from a senior,” said 505 Panthers coach Jeff Kiraly. “We felt he deserved the bat, so we gave it to him.”
Itseti said the shooters they saw at the Connie Mack World Championships were shooting more aggressively, and they had more control.
“It was a huge adjustment because these guys were getting ahead in the ’80s,” said Etsetti, who was exasperated. “I did what I could.”
And while he didn’t get time to play, James said it was great to be involved in his first Connie Mack.
“It was so much fun,” he said. “I got to experience this with all my teammates.”
Both players had more playing time in the Farmington City League as the 505 Panthers led 10-2-1 overall, losing their only two games to the Frackers.
And although they finished second to the Frackers in the regular season, the 505 Panthers won the city championship to qualify.
“I think it was an even match,” Etsiti said of their main rivals.
But in the city championship, the difference was the rotation of the playing field.
“Our shooters were amazing,” Etseti said. “This is how we were made and without them we probably wouldn’t be here.”
In the fall, Etsity heads off to Eastern New Mexico University and will try to go to the greyhounds baseball team.
“That’s the plan,” said the 505 Panther player. “I think I’ll have some offers, but I didn’t play my last year.”
Meanwhile, James sees himself in the swing rotation of the Spring 2023 season for PV under Kiraly.
He said, “Promotion is one of my favorite things.”
James, who is entering his senior year, is the right-handed bowler. He has three tones in his collection: Fastball, changeup, and curveball.
“We’ll be back Arnold for another year,” Kiraly said, adding that most of his players will be seniors this year.
“This is a great experience for our guys at Piedra Vista High and it helped them to mature,” he said.
With the experience they have, Jones believes the future looks bright for the PV team next season, as they will compete with Eldorado, Farmington, La Cueva, Sandia and West Mesa in District 2-5A.
“I think there is a lot of potential for this team,” he said.
Last season, the Panthers finished fourth in the six-team area with a 5-5 score.
“We had five teams in the playoffs, so in my opinion we played in the toughest area in the state,” Kiraly said, adding that he expected another tough experience.