The Natalia Mustangs were able to come away with a big road win last Friday night, in Atascosa County. The Mustangs held off a late Jourdanton rally and sealed the deal with a strike-out delivered by Matt Contreras. This allowed Natalia to not only knock off the Indians 4-3, but tie Big Red for 2nd place in 26-3A.
“The past two years that we have started playing Jourdanton in the first game of district, it has gone their way,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “We didn’t play so well against them the first game of the year and they were able to get a big lead on us.”
A big key to victory in Atascosa County began on the mound, where Jeremiah Castro had another stellar game. He was able to scatter just four hits amongst a talented Jourdanton line-up as the Natalia offense did enough to get by.
Natalia scored their first run of the game in their first at bat. They used a base on balls by AJ Felker, a SAC bunt by Isaiah Gomez, a base on balls by Castro and a clutch single by Uriel Arellano to give the Stangs a 1-0 lead. This lead stood, until the bottom of the 3rd inning.
Jourdanton was able to tie the game, courtesy of a single, a base on balls, a stolen base and another passed ball.
In the top of the 4th inning of play, Natalia went back to work. They used a base on balls by Caden Fregia, a hit batter by Wyatt Woodson, a SAC bunt by Diego Zapata and a two RBI double by Contreras to give the Stangs a 3-1 lead. Contreras would score, thanks to a Matt Billalobos single giving Natalia their 4th and final run of the game.
Jourdanton chipped away at their deficit, as they scored a run in the bottom of the 6th thanks to a base on balls, a single and an error.
In the bottom of the 7th, Jourdanton started the inning off with a single. Natalia’s Gomez who came in to relieve Castro, delivered a K before walking two batters in a row. Jourdanton then flew out before scoring their third run thanks to a Natalia error. With bases loaded and two outs, Natalia’s Matt Contreras who replaced Gomez struck out Talamantez to end the game and seal the deal.
“Castro was locked in on the mound and had big strike-outs when we needed them,” Martinez said. “He then handed the ball over to Isaiah Gomez and Matt Contreras. It is constantly drilled that whenever your number is called, you have to go and compete and they both did that.”
According to Martinez, it was nice to end up on the winning side of things after losing a number of close games that had very similar situations (bases loaded down the stretch).
“We have been in close games this year and they didn’t go our way,” Martinez said. “I was very proud of how they held their composure and stayed confident. This was a big win for us.”
At bat: Zapata 0-2, Woodson 0-2-1run scored, Fregia 0-2-1run scored, Castro 0-2, Contreras 1-3-2RBIs-1run scored, Gomez 0-3, Felker 0-2-1run scored, M. Billalobos 1-3-1RBI, Arrellano 1-3-1RBI.
On the Mound: Castro pitched 5.1, allowed two hits, walked five, struck out eight, allowed two runs (one earned). Gomez pitched 1.0, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out one allowing one unearned run. Contreras pitched .2, allowed 0 hits, struck out one.
Defensive Put-Out Leaders: Zapata 10, Contreras 4. Assists- Gomez 2.
Natalia was at home on press night as they hosted Karnes City. This coming Friday, the Mustangs travel to Poth to battle the Pirates at 7:00 p.m.
On Tuesday, April 26th the Mustangs will host the Cole Cougars at 7:00 p.m.
By Eric Smith