District champion Poth works past Mustangs

Left fielder Dustin Richardson hauls in a fly ball. See more photos in our online store!

The Natalia Mustangs had one final shot at taking down 26-3A Champion Poth last week at home. Unfortunately, the bats were silenced by Poth’s Gunner Semlinger who pitched 5.0 holding Natalia to one of their two hits on the evening.
When you combine that with the fact Natalia’s defense surrendered four errors, this allowed for the Pirates to work past the Mustangs in a 5-2 victory.
“We didn’t get much going against Poth,” Natalia Head Coach Philip Martinez said. “What really hurt us offensively is not having the lead-off hitter get on base. They threw a lot of strikes and we just didn’t have a good night.”
Defensively, Natalia was led by pitchers Rey Garza (2.0) and Jeramiah Castro (5.0) who kept the Pirates off-balance for the most part scattering three hits through the seven inning battle.
“Our pitchers did a great job of keeping us in the game,” Martinez said. “We have to be able to give them run support when we allow only three hits. We had a few passé balls and a couple of errors which led to their runs.”
Poth broke open a scoreless game in the top of the 2nd inning. They used a base on balls, a single, a SAC bunt and a dropped third strike to score two runs to take the early lead.
The Pirates were able to add one additional run in the top of the 3rd, thanks to a double, and two passed balls to take a 3-0 lead before the Mustangs knew what had hit them.
Natalia got their first and only hit of the game, in the bottom of the third thanks to a double by Javier Hernandez. Unfortunately, three strike-outs in the inning ended any threat of scoring.
Poth was able to score one run in the top of the 4th, thanks to a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, a single and a stolen base to take a 4-0 lead.
Natalia had their chances in the 5th to break open offensively, as Alex Valdez and Hernandez got on thanks to Poth defensive errors. Once again, Poth was able to get out of a crunch and hold the Stangs off the board.
The Pirates scored one final run in the 7th, thanks to an error, a walk, a fielder’s choice and an additional error by the Natalia defense to take the 5-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Mustangs attempted to rally. They used four Poth errors and a fielder’s choice to score a pair of runs. Unfortunately a fly out to the eight position ended hopes of a come-back as Poth defeated Natalia 5-2.
Garza finished the game in his 2.0 innings, allowing two hits, two walks, struck out two and allowed three runs, two of which were earned.
Castro pitched 5.0, allowed one hit, walked three, struck out three and allowed two runs, neither of which were earned.
At Bat: Garza 0-3, Gabe Figueroa 0-3, Manuel Saldana 0-3, Castro 0-3-1run scored, Anton Felker 0-1-1RBI, Isaiah Gomez 0-2, Hernandez 1-3, Antonio Trevino 0-1, Nathan Vasquez 0-3-1run scored, Alex Valdez 0-2 and Dustin Richardson 0-2.
Defensive Put-Outs: Garza 5, Figueroa 4, Hernandez 4, Valdez 3, Vasquez 2, Trevino 1, Gomez 1, and Castro 1. Assists- Vasquez 4, Castro 3, Valdez 2, Garza 1, Trevino 1.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer