Mustang baseball splits non-District battles

With a full slate of games scheduled last week for the Natalia Mustangs, the boys in blue were confident they would be able to stay on track and continue to show improvement as they near 26-3A action.
On Tuesday night, March 7th the Mustangs got the week off on the right foot, with a huge road game in Cotulla leading into a scheduled Pearsall Tournament.
When Mother Nature arrived midweek, she won the war resulting in the tournament being canceled on Thursday and Friday eventually doing away with any hopes of games in Frio County.
Due to Natalia and neighboring Lytle being without a game for the weekend, they decided to schedule a late non-district battle Saturday with one another.
The boys in black and gold took advantage of a number of miscues, as the Lytle pitching staff did a great job keeping Natalia in check. As a result, the Pirates continued to hold the upper hand on the diamond, controlling the last three years of action.
The Cotulla Cowboy pitching staff struggled to hit their spots at home and the Natalia Mustangs took advantage of it. Natalia set the tone early in their first at bat versus the boys from LaSalle County. Natalia used three hit batters, three walks, two doubles (Rey Garza, Manuel Saldana), three singles and two Cowboy errors to produce a 10 run first inning.
This fueled the Mustangs past the Cowboys by a final score of 16-2 as Natalia won this one in a 5-inning run rule contest.
The Mustangs finished the non-district battle with a 9-4 advantage offensively. Defensively, the Cowboys surrendered four errors compared to just one by Natalia.
“We started off great against Cotulla and took advantage of the walks and errors,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “Alex Valdez, Rey Garza and Manuel Saldana had a good night at the plate for us. Defensively, we still need to clean it up if we want to compete for a spot in district.”
Isaiah Gomez and Antonio Trevino shared pitching duties for the boys in blue. Gomez pitched 2.2, allowed two hits, walked two, struck out two and gave up two runs, one of which was earned. Trevino pitched 2.1, allowed two hits, walked one and struck out one in the game.
At Bat: Richard Rodriguez 0-1, Garza 3-4-1RBI-3runs scored, Saldana 2-2-1RBI-3runs scored, Jeramiah Castro 0-2-1RBI-3runs scored, Anton Felker 1-3-1run scored, Gomez 0-1-1RBI, Javier Hernandez 0-4-1RBI, Trevino 1-3-1RBI-2runs scored, Valdez 2-4-7RBIs-3runs scored, Dustin Richardson 0-3, Alejandro Sanchez 0-0-1run scored.
This past Saturday evening, things did not start out good for the boys in blue. Natalia was without two starters in all aspects of the contest due to spring break and regional powerlifting which included the starting catcher.
Defensively, Natalia was without a third starter who was only available offensively for the boys in blue.
Needless to say, there were still plenty of weapons available for Natalia versus old rival Lytle, but it was the black and gold who made less errors and controlled all aspects of the game.
“We did not get much going offensively or defensively against Lytle,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “When we got runners on base, Lytle made great plays to stop us from continuing the inning.”
A lack of offensive out-put and defensive errors resulted in a long night for Natalia, as the Pirates dominated with a 10-1 victory.
This marked the third straight year the Pirates were able to defeat the Stangs on the baseball diamond.
“Defensively, our pitchers struggled to get ahead on their hitters,” Martinez said. “We gave up a lot of walks that led to runs and errors hurt us as well. We just have to learn to stay relaxed and make plays when we have to.”
There was a technical error with the stat program, so no stats were available.
Upcoming Games
This coming Friday, the Natalia Mustangs travel to the Strawberry City to battle a much improved Poteet Aggie team at 6:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, March 24th the Mustangs are back in Atascosa County where they open 26-3A action versus the Jourdanton Indians at 6:30 p.m. at their brand new facility.

By Eric Smith
Staff Writer