The Natalia Mustangs saw their season come to an end last week in Atascosa County versus the 29-3A Champion Goliad Tigers. Natalia didn’t go down without a fight, as they dropped the one game series 10-6 in a competitive battle at Indian Field.
The boys in blue found a way to keep things close for the majority of the game, although Goliad did score in their first at bat. They used two singles and two ground-outs to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st.
Natalia battled back in their second at bat, as Manuel Garcia started the inning off with a single. Two passed balls later, Garcia scored thanks to a ground out by Jeremiah Gomez to tie things.
Natalia’s Jermiah Castro was able to retire two batters in a row to start the bottom of the second before forcing a 2-3 ground out to end the inning.
The 3rd inning is where true damage took placed. Natalia went down 1-2-3 with two fly outs and a ground out.
The bottom of the 3rd saw the Tigers manage six big runs to truly separate themselves from Natalia. They used one walk, two singles, one double, one triple and one error to produce the six runs allowing them to take a 7-1 lead on Natalia. This lead stood, until the top of the 5th inning.
The Stangs battled back, as they used a Gomez single, a Gavin Martinez single, a walk by AJ Felker, a single by Fabian Ruiz, a single by Castro and an error put into play by Uriel Arellano to score three runs. This allowed the Stangs to get within 7-4 of the Tigers.
Goliad charged back and extended their lead in the bottom of the 5th. They used one single and two doubles to produce two more runs.
The Stangs never would surrender without a fight, as they showed plenty of heart battling back in the top of the 6th. Natalia used a G. Martinez walk, a hit by a pitch by Felker and a big double by Castro to produce two runs getting Natalia back within 9-6 of the Tigers.
Goliad scored their final run of the game in the bottom of the 6th, courtesy of a single, two ground outs and a Natalia error.
Unfortunately, the season came to an end as Natalia grounded out and struck out twice in the top of the 7th.
The Mustangs finished their season 10-12-1 overall.
Goliad finished the game with 11 hits compared to seven by Natalia. Both teams finished with two defensive errors.
Senior Castro finished pitching 5.1 innings, allowing 11 hits, walked 1, struck out 6 and allowed 10 runs, 8 of which were earned. Manuel Garcia pitched .2 innings.
Goliad moves on to the Area Round of the Playoffs where they will face San Diego who defeated Santa Rosa in the Bi-District Playoffs. Other teams in Region IV who advanced to Area include the following match-ups: Hallettsville vs. Georgetown Gateway, Yoakum vs. Marion, Lyford vs. Yoakum, Bishop vs. Taft, Jarrell vs. Poth, Blanco vs. Luling and Aransas Pass vs. Banquete.
At bat: Diego Zapata 0-3, Garcia 1-4-1run scored, Castro 2-4-2RBIs, Martinez 1-2-2runs scored, Felker 0-2-1run scored, Matt Billalobos 0-3, Uriel Arellano 1-4, Ruiz 1-4-1RBI-1run scored and Gomez 1-3-1RBI-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Arellano 7, Jake Navarro 6, Zapata 1, Castro 1, Martinez 1, Ruiz 1. Assists: Gomez 2, Zapata 1, Castro 1, Navarro 1, Arellano 1.
Next week, we will take a look back on the season and season ending stat leaders. We will also announce who got 30-3A All-District honors for the boys in blue.
By Eric Smith