Big plays fuel Natalia softball past Squaws

Bivi Figueroa connects on a hard pitch.

The nine defensive errors that showed up at the beginning of April in Atascosa County were nowhere to be found last Thursday at Don and Gayle Sessions Field. Instead, what appeared was a steady arm on the mound, huge defensive stand-outs spread around the diamond and a number of big hits mid-way through the 30-3A title game.
When it was all said and done, it was evident who the better team was, as Natalia picked up a convincing 6-2 victory improving to 26-5-1 on the season and 7-1 in 30-3A.The Lady Stangs out-hit the Squaws 7-3 as both teams finished with a pair of defensive errors, all of which came on hustle plays.
“These young ladies were ready to come out on top this week and they had a number of tremendous defensive plays to support continued ongoing success on the mound,” Assistant Coach Tara Cortinas said. “We couldn’t be more proud of the team fight from start to finish that helped secure this Co-District Title.”
Freshman pitcher Abi Woodson was stellar on the mound for a second straight game, as she pitched 7.0 innings, scattered three hits, struck out ten and allowed just two earned runs which came on one hit. Her performance in this game along with last week’s Lytle victory resulted in her being named this week’s San Antonio Express News Player of the Week.
Although the offense only truly produced in one inning for Natalia and one inning for the Squaws, the defense came through early and often. There were a number of huge plays for Natalia including grabs on the run by each outfielder. KK Lara really shined in right field with two huge catches. Infield wise, the Lady Stangs had a number of big plays courtesy of each athlete. Stand-out plays included hard hit well fielded balls by Mena Figueroa as well as a great snag up the middle by freshman Alvarado. There was also a big stretch by Contreras at 1st base in a crucial moment. It was truly a team effort.
Although the offense only produced when it came to run wise, obviously that didn’t mean Natalia didn’t put the ball into play. Jourdanton’s 2nd baseman Wheeler, had three huge plays when they counted which prevented Natalia from getting things going earlier than they did in the 5th inning.
In the bottom of the 5th, Natalia’s Gabi Munoz began things with a single over the 2nd baseman’s head that dropped in perfectly. Natalia then used a Gaby Contreras single, a single by Taty Alvarado, a Bivi Figueroa base on balls, a single by Trista Vera, an error put into play by Abi Woodson and a stand-up double by Mena Figueroa along with two passed balls to score all six of their runs. This had the blue and white faithful in Devine on their feet loving what they saw.
Jourdanton responded with a little life in the top of the 6th inning. They attempted to rally with two outs, as they started things off with a single by Allie Touchstone. Senior Laney Harlan then belted a 0-2 count over the left-field fence for a two-run home-run. Woodson assured that this would be the end of their small run, as she finished off the Squaws in the 6th with a big K.
Natalia was able to hold off the Squaws, as they would hold on for a big 6-2 victory.
At bat: Trista Vera 1-3-1RBI-1run scored, Alvarado 1-4-1RBI-1run scored, Munoz 1-3-1run scored, Contreras 1-3-1run scored, M. Figueroa 1-3-2RBIs, Lara 1-3, B. Perez 0-2, Woodson 1-3-1run scored, B. Figueroa 0-2-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: B. Figueroa 10, Contreras 4, Lara 2, Santoya 1, Woodson 1, M. Figueroa 1, Alvarado 1 and Vera 1. Assists: Perez 1, Alvarado 1, M. Figueroa 1.
Playoff History
Natalia’s 30-3A Co-Championship with Jourdanton marked the 14th time in the program history it has won or held a share of a district title. Natalia has a total of 29 playoff series wins dating back to program history as they enter the Bi-District Playoffs. Looking at the remainder of the #s entering this playoff run, Natalia has 11 Bi-District Titles, 12 Area Titles, 4 Regional Quarter-Final Titles, 6 Semi-Final Appearances, 1 Semi-Final Title and one Regional Final Appearance.
Playoff Outlook
Natalia played Jourdanton on press night for seeding purposes. If the Lady Mustangs won on press night, they will face the 4th seed out of 29-3A, Skidmore-Tynan at a site and date TBA. If they lose, they will finish 2nd seed and face the 3rd seed Odem Lady Owls at a site and date this weekend TBA.
This Bi-District Playoff game(s) must be played by the conclusion of this coming Saturday.
By Eric Smith