The Natalia Varsity Mustangs (5-3-1) competed in a three day tournament at Edgewood Field last week as they battled mostly larger school districts. The Stangs got off to a hot start with wins over 3A Cole and 5A Memorial, before dropping games to 5A Kennedy and 6A John Jay to round out tourney action.
“We competed well and got a lot of positives out of the tournament,” Coach Jeff Terry. Obviously this also gave us an opportunity to see various areas that continue to need improvement. Overall, I was pleased of our efforts.”
The Natalia Mustangs as mentioned opened the tournament on Thursday vs Ft. Sam Houston Cole. Natalia used two pitchers during the 5.0 innings of play, en route to a tourney opening 4-2 victory.
AJ Felker took the mound first for Natalia and pitched 4.0, as he allowed one hit, struck out five and walked two in the game.
Diego Zapata rounded things out pitching 1.0, as he allowed one hit, walked two and struck out one.
Natalia got on the board with two runs in their opening at bat. Natalia used an AJ Felker double to the right corner field fence, a Matt Contreras single, two fly-outs and a single by Zapata to take a 2-0 lead on Cole.
The Cougars struck back, as they used a pair of walks and a single to tie the game.
Natalia went on to win, as they picked up a run in the 4th courtesy of a Jeremiah Gomez single as well as a run in the 5th scored thanks to a hit by a pitch-Contreras, a single by Jermiah Castro and a single by Uriel Arellano.
Natalia finished with six hits compared to two by Cole.
At bat: Zapata 0-2, Manuel Garcia 0-2-1run scored, Castro 0-3-1RBI, Joel Mendez 0-3-1run scored, Contreras 1-2-1run scored, Felker 1-2-1RBI-1run scored, Arellano 1-2-1RBIm Fabian Ruiz 1-2 and Gomez 0-3.
Defensive Put-Outs: Billalobos 6, Garcia 4, Zapata 2, Castro 1, Mendez 1, Contreras 1. Assists- Garcia 3, Zapata 1, Contreras 1.
The final win of the tourney for Natalia came in pool game two, versus the Memorial Minutemen. Natalia was able to pound the ball during the Thursday afternoon contest. Natalia out-hit Memorial 10-1 en route to a 6-1 win.
Freshman Garcia picked up the win, as he pitched 5.0, allowed one hit, walked one and struck out eleven giving up just one in-earned run.
Natalia got on the board in the top of the 2nd, as they used an error put into play by Billalobos, a single by Mendez and a single by Jake Navarro to take a 1-0 lead.
The Stangs were able to take charge in the top of the 3rd. Natalia used a single by Ruiz, a single by Castro, a base on balls by Garcia, a Billalobos HBP, a Mendez HBP and a single by Martinez to score in three runs and take a 4-0 lead.
The boys in blue added a final run before Memorial came alive as they used a Castro single to take a 5-0 lead.
Memorial got their lone run in the bottom of the 4th, as Natalia finished with a run in the 5th to finish with a 6-1 victory.
At bat: Garcia 0-1-1run scored, Castro 2-3-2runs scored, Mendez 1-2-2RBIs-1run scored, Contreras 1-4, Gavin Martinez 0-2, Billalobos 0-2-1run scored, Navarro 2-3-1RBI, Ruiz 1-3-1run scored and Gomez 0-2.
Defensive Put-Outs: Navarro 11, Garcia 2, Billalobos 2. Assists- Gomez 2, Castro 1, Navarro 1.
In the first bracket game, Natalia battled the Kennedy Rockets. Natalia was able to take a 2-1 lead on the Rockets, before suffering a terrible bottom of the 3rd inning. Kennedy scored eleven shocking runs, en route to a 14-3 victory in 4-innings over the Mustangs.
Natalia was forced to use Castro, Ruiz and Gomez on the mound, as the Rockets blasted 14 hits into play.
Natalia had a pretty good time at bat offensively as they accounted for eight hits, but unfortunately they didn’t produce enough runs.
At bat: Zapata 0-2-1run scored, Garcia 0-2, Castro 1-2-1RBI, Contreras 1-2, Felker 1-1-1RBI-1run scored, Billalobos 1-2-1RBI-1run scored, Arellano 1-2, Ruiz 1-2, Gomez 1-2-1RBI.
Defensive Put-Outs: BContreras 3, Garcia 2, Zapata 1, Castro 1, Felker 1, Ruiz 1.
In a battle for 3rd place, the 6A John Jay Mustangs struck early and often en route to an 8-4 win over Natalia. The San Antonio MUstang squad out-hit Natalia 11-9 forcing one error on the Natalia defense.
Natalia used Matt Contreras for 4.0 innings on the mound and Gomez for 1.2.
John Jay was able to take a 4-0 lead on Natalia scoring a pair of runs in the 2nd and 3rd innings before the Stangs knew what had hit them.
Natalia scored their first run in the top of the 4th thanks to a Castro double, one pass ball and one ground out.
Jay responded with another pair of runs, before Natalia scored two runs in the 5th. These were made possible thanks to a Billalobos double, a Gomez single and a Contreras single.
Jay responded with yet their fourth straight two run inning which proved to be too much for Natalia to respond to.
The Stangs added a final run in a tough 8-4 loss.
Contreras allowed 9 hits, walked one, struck out one and allowed seven runs. Gomez gave up 2 hits, one walk, struck out one and allowed one earned run.
At bat: Zapata 1-3-1RBI, Garcia 2-3-1RBI-1run scored, Castro 1-3-1run scored, Contreras 1-3-1RBI, Felker 0-2, Billalobos 1-3-1run scored, Arellano 1-3-1run scored, Ruiz 1-1, Gomez 1-3-1RBI-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Felker 5, Garcia 4, Contreras 2, Zapata 1, Mendez 1, Billalobos 1.
Natalia hosted Bourne Geneva on press night in Natalia for a first ever meeting between the two programs. This coming Friday, the Mustangs travel to Runge to battle the Jackets for a 6:00 p.m. varsity only contest.
By Eric Smith