Rio Grande baseball mourns the loss of one of its own

Mar. 26—A beloved member of Rio Grande High School's varsity baseball team died early Tuesday morning.

Isaac Venzor Prado, 17, passed away at about 1 a.m. Tuesday at University of New Mexico Hospital, Ravens coach Orlando Griego said.

The doctors said Venzor Prado had "an old person's heart; the outer layers had hardened," according to Griego.

Venzor Prado, a junior, collapsed while exercising Sunday at Rio Grande High, Griego said.

"He was running around the track, and his heart stopped," Griego said Tuesday.

Two of his classmates who were working out with him Sunday but were leaving the facility noticed that Venzor Prado had collapsed and rushed to administer CPR, Griego said. An ambulance arrived minutes later and transported him to UNMH.

Venzor Prado transferred into Rio Grande a few weeks after the start of the current school year.

"Isaac was just an amazing kid to be around in general," said one of his teammates, senior Lane Shrader. "I don't know what it was, but he felt like a brother right away."

The team was informed by Venzor Prado's mother within minutes of his passing.

"The best," Griego said of Venzor Prado. "Last Saturday, I told him, 'Man, I've been coaching 29 years and I'm jealous because you're the most handsome guy I ever coached.'"

And Venzor Prado was constantly working in an effort to contribute to the team, Griego noted.

"He was always at the gym, exercising, weightlifting. He was just always doing the right thing, trying to get better," Griego said. "He was a super hard worker. I always tell my guys, it's not what you do at practice, it's the work you do outside of here that will make the difference."

Shrader said one day in the weight room, Venzor Prado came in and dead lifted about 300 pounds "like nothing. In jeans. He was a freak of nature, but also the most genuine sweet guy you'd ever meet. He was always cracking jokes, always lighting up the room. He was just a blessing to be around."

Rio Grande, with the full support of Eldorado, is planning a pregame honorary intentional walk to start the game before the official first pitch of the Ravens and Eagles at Eldorado on Wednesday afternoon, Griego said. Rio Grande canceled a game Monday versus Valley.

"We're all in tears, every second of the day. It's so hard thinking about going through the rest of this season without him," Shrader said. "It's like we lost our own brother."

Shrader said the whole team is heartsick, but said the Rio Grande players wanted to play Wednesday to honor Venzor Prado.

"We want to win for Isaac. He would want us to go win for him," Shrader said. "All he wanted to do was go play the game. That was his passion."

Venzor Prado grew up playing baseball. He moved to Albuquerque from Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico, about two hours south of Deming, last summer, but was born in Albuquerque, according to Griego. He was a reserve outfielder and pitcher for Rio Grande.

And the Rio Grande baseball community, one of the state's most tight-knit prep baseball groups, plans to rally around the family of this player, and this program.

"Our village is gonna help us get through this," Shrader said. "That's how we roll."

There was no immediate information on Venzor Prado's memorial service.