Hallettsville works past the Lady Mustangs

Going up against one of the most talented sophomore pitchers in the state, the Natalia Lady Mustangs knew last weekend’s area playoff battle would be anything but a cake walk.
The youthful yet fearless girls in blue battled their hearts out and responded well after suffering a 5-0 shut-out loss Friday night in game one vs. the Lady Brahmas.
In game two Saturday afternoon, the girls in blue gained confidence as Hallettsville decided to not start their starter (Sophomore Florida Commit Rylee Trlicek) and went with their #2 pitcher. Natalia was able to jump on the opportunity, as they took a 2-1 lead before Hallettsville made a pitching change. Once starter Rylee Trlicek came into the game, the Lady Mustangs looked much more confident at the plate. As a result, the girls in blue led for five and a half innings, before three crucial errors proved costly allowing the Lady Brahmas to rally past Natalia ending their hopes of an upset victory in game two.
“They were a tough opponent that was fundamentally sound,” Natalia Head Coach Travis Crowley said. “We had about two innings in each game that opened the floodgates for them. I would not be surprised to see them in Austin winning it all in June with that young lady in the circle.”
As mentioned, the Lady Mustangs jumped on Hallettsville in the 1st inning of their game two battle in Marion Saturday afternoon. With two outs and no one on, Biviana Figueroa got things going with a single. Figueroa was able to score, thanks to a triple by JuJu Morales.
This 1-0 lead, stood until the bottom of the 3rd inning. Hallettsville was able to use a triple and a crucial error to tie the game 1-1.
Natalia responded in the top of the 4th inning. After watching Bryanna Perez get hit by a pitch, Caprice Sanchez sent a shot over the left fielder’s head on a ball that some would credit a single and others an error which forced a pitching change.
Natalia’s Gabby Contreras was next up and grounded out, which advanced both runners before Gabi Sontoya came up to bat. Sontoya fell victim to a Trlicek strike-out, but the ball was dropped which allowed one run to score. On the throw back from the catcher to pitcher, the ball was overthrown going up the middle. This allowed Natalia’s Sanchez to attempt to steal home also. Although Sanchez was tagged out, she was eventually called safe due to the 3rd baseman blocking the pathway and interference being called. This gave Natalia a 3-1 lead giving the fans in blue plenty to cheer about.
Hallettsville was able to get within a run, as they used a triple in the bottom of the 4th and a single to score their second run of the game.
Natalia was able to hold on to their 3-2 lead, until the bottom of the 6th inning. This is where the wheels began to fall off, as four costly errors proved to be the difference. Hallettsville used one infield and two out-field errors along with a double and a walk to their advantage allowing them to score three big runs as they surged ahead 5-3.
Unfortunately, the girls in blue were unable to respond as the Lady Brahmas picked up the 5-3 victory thanks to a late rally ending the season for the girls in blue. This season capped off the 22nd time Natalia had advanced to the playoffs since 1992-1993 and their Bi-District series win versus Lago Vista was the 9th title (not counting byes) in the history of the program.
Daniella Garza pitched 6.0 innings, allowed eight hits, walked five, struck out three and allowed five runs, two of which were earned.
At Bat: Garza 1-4, Felicia Guzman 1-3, Gabby Contreras 1-3, Bryanna Perez 1-2-1run scored, JuJu Morales 2-3-1RBI, Regina Garza 0-4, Caprice Sanchez 2-3-1run scored, Biviana Figueroa 1-4-1run scored, Sontoya 0-3. Defensive Put-Outs: Morales 4, Figueroa 3, Guzman 2, Perez 2, Sontoya 2, Garza 2, Contreras 1.
Looking at the final stats, Natalia out-hit Hallettsville 10-8 as the Lady Mustangs stranded six total runners. Hallettsville stranded a total of seven runners.
1st Game
During Friday night’s series opener, the Lady Brahmas were able to strike in their first two at bats to take a lead they never relinquished.
In their opening at bat, Hallettsville’s Florida committed pitcher belted her fourth pitch way over center field to put the first run on the board. One double and two singles later and the Lady Brahmas had taken a 2-0 lead on Natalia.
The final offensive production came in the top of the 2nd. The Lady Brahmas used two singles, one walk and an error to score three final runs to take the 5-0 lead.
Natalia struggled offensively, as they only accounted for three hits in the game. One came in the 2nd inning thanks to Bryanna Perez. The second two hits came in the bottom of the 6th thanks to Regina Garza and Biviana Figueroa.
Unfortunately, the Lady Mustangs were held scoreless in a 5-0 loss.
“Crowley Comments”
Garza pitched 7.0 for Natalia, as she allowed nine hits, walked three, struck out five and allowed five runs, two of which were earned.
At Bat: Garza 0-3, Jasmine Gomez 0-2, Guzman 0-2, Contreras 0-3, Perez 1-2, Morales 0-3, Garza 1-3, Figueroa 1-3, Sontoya 0-2. Defensive Put-Outs: Perez 6, Figueroa 6, Garza 5, Contreras 2, Garza 1, Gomez 1.
Hallettsville advances where they will face Boling (District 28-3A Champs) this week in the Regional Quarter-Finals. District 26-3A Co-Champion Jourdanton is also in the Quarter-Finals where they face the Blanco Lady Panthers (25-3A Champs) this Thursday and Friday in a best of three battle. Game one of this will be in Blanco Thursday at 7:00 p.m. with game two to be played Friday at 5:30 in Jourdanton with a third to follow if needed.
Other teams alive in 3A in Region IV include Lyford (32-3A Champs) vs. Santa Gertrudis (31-3A Champs) and San Diego (30-3A Champs) vs. Bishop (3rd seed for 31-3A).
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer