Mustangs win Consolation title at Edgewood ISD tournament

After dropping a tough non-district road game Tuesday night, February 27th against a much improved Nixon-Smiley ball club, the boys in blue dug deep and found rejuvenated energy for a three day Edgewood ISD Tournament.
The Natalia Mustangs were able to win four out of five battles to improve to 5-2 on the season.
Tuesday night, the Natalia Mustangs struggled offensively on the road in Nixon. The red and blue Mustangs had a few new faces on their squad who had transferred in to the district from neighboring LaVernia.
Nixon was able to out-hit Natalia 8-2 en route to an 8-2 six and a half inning victory. Natalia finished with two defensive errors compared to one by Nixon.
Natalia’s Isaiah Gomez (2.0), Matt Contreras(2.0), Jeremiah Castro(1.0) and Peter Billalobos(1.0) all spent time on the mound during the game.
Offensively, Diego Zapata and Billalobos accounted for the only hits in the road loss.
Edgewood ISD Tournament
The Mustangs opened the tournament up Thursday afternoon vs. the Sam Houston Hurricanes. Natalia was able to strike first with a big opening at bat as they scored five runs. This paced the Stangs to an 8-1 victory over the east side program as the boys in blue finished with a 6-2 advantage offensively. Natalia surrendered two defensive errors as Sam Houston had three.
Zapata pitched 3.2 allowing two hits, one run and struck out four. Uriel Arellano pitched .1 with one strike-out.
Offensively, Arellano led the way with two hits as Castro, Zapata, Contreras and Cade Fregia accounted for hits. Fregia led the RBI category with two.
The second and final game on Thursday was against the Memorial Minutemen. It didn’t take long for the Mustangs to jump on this struggling program, as Natalia hammered Memorial early en route to an 11 run first at bat.
This allowed Natalia to run past Memorial in a 15-4 victory in just three innings of play. Natalia out-hit Memorial 11-4 as the Natalia defense gave up one error compared to four by Memorial.
Isaiah Gomez pitched 2.1 allowing one hit, one run with two Ks and two walks. Dustin Richardson pitched 1.0 and allowed three hits, three runs (two earned) with two Ks.
Offensively, Arellano led the way going 3-3-2runs scored-3RBIs. Anton Felker, Castro and Zapata had two hits each as Gomez accounted for a single to add offensively. Natalia did have a total of 12 RBIs in which Arellano led this category as well.
“We wanted to start the tournament off well and we got off to a 2-0 start,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “Diego Zapata and Isaiah Gomez were strong on the mound for us.”
Natalia’s lone loss of the tournament came on Friday morning against the Kennedy Rockets, a team Natalia had beaten in the season opener.
The Mustangs edged the Rockets 6-5 offensively, but had two defensive errors compared to one by the Rockets. Kennedy scored a pair of runs in their opening at bat, before watching both squads score a run each in the 3rd inning.
Natalia rallied back to tie things in the top of the 4th, but the Rockets were able to win it in the bottom of the inning with a run to edge the Stangs.
Castro took the loss on the mound, as he pitched 3.1, allowed five hits, four runs (one earned), struck out five and walked three.
Leading the way offensively was Zapata with a pair of hits, as Contreras, Castro and Fregia added one each.
Friday afternoon, the Mustangs battled the Edison Golden Bears in what turned out to be a good one.
A walk-off sacrifice led Natalia past Edison 5-4 thanks to a connection by AJ Felker in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Edison took a 2-0 lead on Natalia in the top of the 2nd, before watching Natalia score a run in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th innings of play.
Edison scored two in the top of the 5th, before watching Natalia win the game in the bottom of the 5th.
Natalia finished out-hitting the Bears 8-4 as both defenses had an error each.
Contreras pitched 5.0 on the mound, allowed four hits, four runs (two earned) and struck out two with one walk.
Felker and Contreras led the offense with two hits each as Zapata, Fregia and Gomez added one. Zapata and Fabian Ruiz also added two RBIs each in the victory.
“On Friday, we went 1-1 and allowed one to get away from us,” Martinez said. “They scored two runs on a passed ball and we just were unable to regroup after that. We missed opportunities and left too many guys stranded.”
“In the game vs. Edison, we bounced back and Matt Contreras went the distance and gave us an opportunity to win,” Martinez said. “Fabian Ruiz executed a bunt and Felker had the big SAC fly.”
In the final game of the tournament on Saturday, Edgewood ISD Stadium saw a battle of the Mustangs as Natalia battled Jefferson.
Natalia got off to a hot start in the top of the 1st inning, as they used an AJ Felker base on balls, a SAC bunt by Contreras, an error by Arellano and an error put into play by Zapata to take a 2-0 lead.
The Mustangs added two additional runs in the top of the 2nd, thanks to an error put into play by Richardson, a SAC bunt by Wyatt Woodson and a single by Castro.
Natalia held off a late Jefferson rally as they scored one run in the 4th and two in the 5th, but it was not enough as the boys in blue won 4-3.
Natalia finished with only three hits compared to six by the blue and red Mustangs. Jefferson had six defensive errors compared to two by Natalia.
Zapata got the win on the mound, as he pitched 5.0, allowed six hits, three runs (two earned) with three Ks and one walk.
Castro led the offense with two hits as Gomez and Felker added one each.
“Our last game of the tourney was a dog fight,” Martinez said. “Zapata once again pitched a great game for us and the defense was good behind him. It was good to come out of the tourney 4-1 and we didn’t expect anything less as we had made it to the tourney championship the year prior. I am proud of how our young guys are stepping up.”
Natalia’s AJ Felker was named to the All-Tournament team according to Coach Philip Martinez.
Upcoming Games
Natalia was at home on press night against Cotulla. This coming weekend, Natalia travels to Pearsall to compete in their tournament. Natalia opens at 9:00 a.m. vs. Southside in Pearsall on Thursday before battling Dilley at 11:15 p.m.
The Mustangs return on Saturday two face Pleasanton at 4:45 p.m. and hosts Pearsall at 7:00 p.m.
By Eric Smith