The Natalia Lady Mustang Softball team continued to impress, as they defeated four out of five teams in the Kerrville Lady Antler Softball Tournament last Thursday-Saturday. Natalia was able to defeat 5A El Paso Burges 9-3, lost to 6A San Angelo Central 1-0, defeated 4A Pleasanton 3-0, 4A San Angelo Lakeview 17- before defeating 5A Boerne Champion in what was an impressive finishing game with a 13-0 shut-out victory.
“This was a tournament full of challenging opponents and we were able to finish 4-1 in the tourney which was nothing to hang our hat about,” Coach Tamara Bedford said. “We were able to average seven hits a game, 5RBIs and had less than three strike-outs per game, so I feel we are headed in the right direction.”
El Paso Burges
The tourney opener was Thursday versus 5A Burges, a team Natalia has defeated each of the last four years at this very same tournament.
Senior Daniella Garza got the start on the mound for Natalia and was able to pitch all four of the innings during the timed contest.
In the opening at bat for Burges, Garza forced two ground-outs before the Lady Mustangs got one of their five hits of the game. Burges couldn’t produce off of the hit, as Garza retired their #3 batter in the inning.
Natalia struck first in their opening at bat, as they were sparked by freshman Tatiana Alvarado who had a hot stick all weekend. Alvarado owned one of two singles in the inning. After watching Mena Figueroa and Garza fly out, Natalia used a Biviana Figueroa walk and an Abi Woodson single to score in two runs giving the girls in blue a 2-0 lead.
El Paso came alive in the top of the 2nd, as they scored two runs on a two-run home-run by their #8 hole. This tied the game before eventually the Lady Mustangs from the border city of El Paso were able to surge ahead of Natalia in the top of the 3rd on yet another home-run giving them a 3-2 edge.
Natalia responded in the bottom of the 3rd. They used a walk by Alvarado and a hard hit error put into play by Garza to score in two runs allowing Natalia to take a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the 4th, Natalia shut-down El Paso 1-2-3 before putting this game away.
After watching Woodson ground out to begin the bottom of the 4th, Natalia used a Trista Vera single, a Zita Perez walk, a Gabi Santayana walk, a Gabby Contreras fielder’s choice and a true in the park grand-slam by freshman Alvarado to seal the deal allowing Natalia to escape with a big 9-2 victory.
Natalia finished the game with four hits compared to five by El Paso. The Natalia defense was solid with 0 errors compared to one by EP.
At bat: Garza 0-2-1run scored, Vera 1-2-1run scored, Alvarado 2-2-1HR-4RBIs-3runs scored, Contreras 0-1-1RBI-1run scored, Figueroa 0-2, Perez 0-1-1run scored, Woodson 1-2-2RBIs, Santoya 0-1-1run scored and B. Figueroa 0-1-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Alvarado 5, B., Figueroa 3, Santoya 2, Woodson 1, M. Figueroa 1.
San Angelo Central
The Natalia Lady Mustangs were the better team offensive when it came to stats in their second game vs 6A San Angelo Central, but unfortunately stranded too many runners to be successful. The girls in blue produced seven hits which was four better than the Lady Cats. Despite one defensive error, Natalia still managed to play the better ball game, but couldn’t get things done down the stretch.
Freshman Woodson got the start on the mound, as she pitched 5.0 innings, holding SA to three hits with 3Ks on the day.
San Angelo scored their lone run of the game, in the top of the 4th inning. They used a single, two fly-outs and a double to take a 1-0 lead they never would relinquish.
Natalia stranded two runners in the second, two in the 3rd inning, one in the 4th inning and one in the 5th inning before bowing to the talented Lady Cat squad 1-0.
At Bat: Garza 1-3, Vera 1-2, Alvarado 1-3, M. Figueroa 103, KK Lara 0-2, Bryanna Perez 2-2, Perez 0-1, Woodson 1-2, Santoya 0-1 and B. Figueroa 0-2.
Defensive Put-Outs: B. Figueroa 4, Perez 3, Alvarado 2, Vera 2, Perez 1, Garza 1.
The Lady Stangs returned to Kerrville Friday morning where they faced Pleasanton who had split games the day prior. The Lady Stangs were able to out-hit Pleasanton 7-3 in the contest, but once again stranded too many runners to put this team away convincingly.
Senior Garza got the start on the mound and pitched 4.0. She allowed two hits, with an impressive 10Ks on the mound as the Natalia defense only surrendered one defensive error on the day.
Garza came out strong, striking out the first three batters for the Lady Eagles.
Natalia’s offense kept things rolling with the early momentum, as they scored their offensive runs in this inning.
After watching Alvarado get on courtesy of a walk, Bryanna Perez went down with a strike-out for out one. Mena Figueroa followed up with a single which allowed Alvarado to attempt to make it home. She was tagged out at the plate for out two as Figueroa made it to 2nd base. Natalia then used a Biviana Figueroa single followed by an Abi Woodson double to put two runs on the board for the Lady Stangs. Woodson eventually scored, courtesy of a great shot to the CF fence by Dani Garza to give the Lady Stangs a 3-0 lead.
This lead would stand, as Natalia held Pleasanton scoreless the remainder of the 4-inning contest. Pleasanton did threaten in the top of the 4th, but a line-drive to Woodson in CF resulted in not only the catch by the young freshman in blue, but her firing over to 1st base catching a Pleasanton runner off guard who didn’t play the ball smart giving Natalia a much needed double play to end the threat.
At bat: Garza 1-2-2RBIs, Vera 0-2, Alvarado 1-2, Gabi Munoz 0-1-1run scored, M. Figueroa 0-1-1run scored, Lara 1-1, Perez 1-3, Woodson 1-2-1RBI-1run scored, Santoya 0-1 and B. Figueroa 2-2.
Defensive Put-Outs: B. Figueroa 10, Woodson 2.
San Angelo Lakeview
The final game on Friday was against 4A San Angelo Lakeview. Natalia simply came unleashed offensively, as the Lady Stangs rode wild over the Chiefs. Natalia out-hit Lakeview 17-5 in a 3-inning run-rule victory.
Dez Perez got the win on the mound for the Lady Stangs, as she pitched 3.0, allowing five hits, 0 walks with 4 Ks in the contest.
Natalia did damage scoring runs early and often, as they produced two in the 1st inning, five in the 2nd inning and ten runs in the 3rd en route to the 17-2 victory.
At bat: Alvarado 4-4-2RBIs-4runs scored, Woodson 3-3-5RBIs-2runs scored, B. Figueroa 3-4-4RBIs-2runs scored, M. Figueroa 3-3-2runs scored, B. Perez 1-3-1run scored, Vera 1-2-3RBIs, Z. Perez 0-2, Munoz 0-1-1run scored, Contreras 1-2-1RBI-1run scored, D. Perez 2runs scored, Santoya 0-1-1RBI-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Vera 2, M. Figueroa 1, Alvarado 1.
Natalia returned Saturday morning and coaches were hoping two long days of softball combined with a long bus ride and an early day wouldn’t result in any type of issues in the tourney finale.
Natalia may have faced a squad better known as the “Lady Chargers”, but it was the girls in blue who charged full steam ahead with a super impressive outing that gave everyone in attendance a glimpse of how good this squad can be when firing on all cylinders.
Natalia’s defense was on par, led by freshman Woodson on the mound as they held Boerne Champion two just a pair of hits in the contest.
Natalia’s offense was just as impressive if not more, as they belted out 14 hits in five innings including two long balls over the fence en route to a 13-0 shut-out victory.
Natalia was the visiting squad in this contest and took full advantage of batting and setting the tone. Boerne Champion didn’t help themselves early, as they walked Taty Alvarado and Abi Woodson to begin things. The Lady Stangs went on a tyrant from here, as they used a B. Figueroa single, a M. Figueroa walk, a Santoya single, a Garza double, a Vera Fielder’s choice, a single by Contreras and a big triple by Woodson to score eight big runs.
Boerne managed to get a runner on in their opening at bat courtesy of an error, but Natalia shut-down the Lady Chargers with three straight outs to end the threat.
Natalia went back to work, as they rallied with two outs in the top of the 2nd. Natalia used a Garza single, and a two-run bomb over center field by sophomore Trista Vera to give Natalia a 10-0 lead.
The Lady Stangs went on to add a run in the 4th courtesy of a Santoya single and a Contreras triple before the icing on the cake came in the top of the 5th. There, Natalia used a Woodson hit-by a pitch followed by a B. Figueroa bomb over right field that possibly landed on Texas 173 rumor has it to finish off the Lady Chargers 13-0 and finish with the 4-1 impressive mark in Kerrville.
“Although we had a great weekend, one area I would like to clean up a bit would be more heads up base running,” Bedford said. “We also need to clean up our cut-offs from the outfield and being patient at the plate.”
At bat: Garza 2-2-2RBIs-2runs scored, Vera 1-2-1run scored, Alvarado 3-3-2RBIs-2runs scored, Contreras 3-3-2RBIs-1run scored, M. Figueroa 0-3-1RBI-1run scored, B. Perez 0-4, Woodson 2-2-1RBI-2runs scored, D. Perez 0-2, Santoya 3-3-1RBI-2runs scored and B. Figueroa 2-3-1HR-2RBIs-2runs scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: M. Figueroa 5, B. Perez 2m G. Munoz 2, Garza 1, Vera 1, Contreras 1, Woodson 1, Perez 1 and B. Figueroa 1.
Natalia was at home on press night battling 6A Churchill for the first time in the programs history. This coming Friday and Saturday, Natalia travels to Atascosa County for the 2nd appearance at the “Greatest Show on Turf” tourney in Jourdanton.
Natalia opens the tourney at 8:30 am. Versus non-district rival Devine whom Natalia was able to beat twice in this tournament a season ago. Devine is much improved from a season ago. See the Arabian SB story for more details on how they did in the Navarro Tournament.
Game two on Friday will be versus new district foe/old district rival Lytle at 11:30 a.m. before the tourney day concludes at 4:00 p.m. versus Sabinal.
Natalia returns on Saturday for a game at 1:00 p.m. versus Orange Grove. Dependent on how Natalia competes in these pool games will determine what time they play later that day.
On Tuesday, February 26th Natalia travels to the Coastal Bend for their first meeting in Orange Grove in program history. The JV game is set for 5:00 p.m. and the varsity at 7:00 p.m.
By Eric Smith