Comfort rallies for 11-9 win over Mustangs

Varsity Mustang Rey Garza slides into home during Natalia’s game against Comfort. More photos available in our online gallery!

With the structure the U.I.L. has the playoff bracket set up, this coming season 26-3A teams will battle District 25-3A once again in the 2017 Baseball Playoffs.
The Mustangs are hopeful they will be one of four team’s playoff bound in a competitive district. Last Friday, they stepped away from 26-3A to test their strength against a potential 25-3A playoff team, Comfort.
The Bobcats who once called Natalia a district foe (late 90s-mid 2000s) came to town. The Hill Country Cats overcame an early deficit to rally past the Mustangs thanks to huge 4th and 5th innings.
“Friday we came up short against a good Comfort squad,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “We started off good by getting ahead, but then our bats slowed down. It is so important we stay consistent.”
After watching the visiting Bobcats strand a pair of runners after their first at bat, the Mustangs struck big in their first at bat. After watching their lead-off batter go down on a K, Natalia used a Rey Garza single, a fielder’s choice by Gabe Figueroa, an error put into play by Jeramiah Castro and a single by Nathan Vasquez to take the early 2-0 lead. This lead stood, until the top of the 4th inning.
Comfort scored four runs in the top of the 4th thanks to two walks, two singles and two doubles.
The bottom of the 4th saw the Stangs even the game, thanks to a pair of runs of their own. These came thanks to an Isaiah Gomez base on balls, a single by Javier Hernandez, a SAC bunt by Manuel Saldana and an error up the middle put into play by Rey Garza.
Unfortunately, their renewed lead was short lived, as Comfort had a dagger of an inning in the top of the 5th. Comfort used three walks, two errors and two singles to their advantage as they scored seven huge runs allowing them to take a 11-4 lead on the Stangs.
With a never say die mentality, the Mustangs continued to battle and had a big 6th inning offensively. The Mustangs used a Hernandez HBP, a double by Saldana, a double by Garza, an error put into play by Valdez, an error put into play by Castro and a double by Vasquez to score four runs allowing them to close the gap back to 11-8.
After holding Comfort scoreless in the top of the 7th, the Stangs were hoping to pull off the big comeback win. Things started off well, as Richardson got on thanks to an error. Unfortunately, this was followed with a K and an F-5 allowing the Bobcats to get the much-needed outs. Garza kept things alive with an RBI double. After watching Valdez draw a walk, the tying run came to the plate. Unfortunately, he struck out ending the contest, as Comfort held on for an 11-9 victory over the stangs.
“We had back-to-back innings where we gave up too many runs and that was the difference,” Martinez said. “We just didn’t stop the bleeding. I was proud to see our kids compete until the final pitch.”
Due to the new pitch count rules, Natalia went through four pitchers. Hernandez pitched 4.1 innings, allowed our hits, walked three, gave up five runs (four earned). Antonio Trevino pitched 2.1, allowed two hits, walked one and struck out two giving up a run (not earned). Isaiah Gomez pitched .1, allowed one hit, two runs (both earned). Finally, Vasquez pitched 0.0, allowed one hit, walked two and gave up three runs (one earned).
At Bat: Garza 3-5-2RBIs-2runs scored, Figueroa 1-5, Saldana 1-5-1RBI-1run scored, Castro 1-4-1RBI, Gomez 0-1-1run scored, Hernandez 1-3-2runs scored, Trevino 0-2-1run scored, Vasquez 2-4-1RBI, Valdez 0-3-1RBI-1run scored and Richardson 0-4-1RBI-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Vasquez 5, Saldana 4, Richardson 3, Gomez 3, Garza 2, Valdez 2 Figueroa 1, Hernandez 1. Assists- Castro 4, Vasquez 3, Trevino 1.
Upcoming Games
On Tuesday night, April 5th the Mustangs were on the road in Wilson County battling district favorite Poth.
On Friday, April 7th the Mustangs conclude the first round of district play as they host the Cole Cougars at 7:00 p.m.
The second round of district begins with a crucial home game Tuesday versus the Jourdanton Indians at Mustang Field at 7:00 p.m.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer