Mustangs fold late versus District-leading Poth

The Natalia Mustangs (8-10-1, 1-2) almost did enough on both sides of the field to upset district leading Poth last Friday night at home. Unfortunately, the boys in blue couldn’t make plays down the stretch, as they gave up a 4-0 lead en route to a tough 8-4 home loss.
“Poth is always a tough challenge anytime we play them in any sport,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “Jeremiah Castro got the mound and he did his job, but we didn’t make plays when they needed to be made.”
After watching the first Pirate fly out to start the district battle, Natalia’s Castro fanned two in a row sending this game into the bottom of the inning.
The Mustangs got off to a hot start, as they used an AJ Felker single, an error put into play by Castro, a fly-out by Fregia, a double by Uriel Arellano and a single by Isaiah Gomez to give the home squad a 3-0 lead.
Natalia added their fourth and final run in the bottom of the 3rd, as they used a Castro single, two stolen bases and a single by Arellano to take a 4-0 lead.
Poth responded with a pair of runs in the top of the 4th, as they used a hit batter, one single, a pair of errors and a dropped pitch to cut their deficit in half.
After going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 4th, the Pirates inched even closer in the top of the 5th. Poth scored one run thanks to one error, two stolen bases and a single.
Natalia stranded two runners in the bottom of the 5th and was able to hold Poth scoreless in the 6th allowing the home squad to hold a 4-3 lead going into the last inning of play.
Things began to unravel in the 7th, as Natalia missed a couple of golden opportunities defensively which forced a pitching change. Poth ended up scoring five huge runs en route to an 8-4 victory over the Mustangs.”When you play teams like Poth, you just can’t make errors or they will make you pay,” Martinez said. “I thought we hit the ball very well. The ball at times went straight to them as they were hit hard. I was proud of how our kids came out, but we have to finish games like this. We have lost at least four games in similar ways.”
At bat: Zapata 0-4, Fregia 0-4, Castro 3-3-1RBI-2runs scored, Contreras 0-3, Gomez 1-3-1RBI, Felker 1-4-1run scored, Matt Billalobos 0-1, Arellano 2-3-2RBIs-1run scored, Ruiz 0-2 and Richardson 0-3.
On the mound: Castro pitched 6.1, allowed seven hits, two walks, six strike-outs, six runs (3 earned). Zapata pitched .2, allowed 0 hits, walked two and allowed two runs (unearned).
Defensive Put-Out Leaders: Richardson 10, Zapata 7. Assists- Castro 3, Contreras 2, Fregia 2.
Upcoming Games
Natalia was on the road on press day battling Cole in an afternoon game on the base.
Natalia has two tough road games this week, as they travel to Atascosa County on Friday to battle the Indians at 7:00 p.m.
On Tuesday, April 17th Natalia travels to Karnes City for their final meeting of the season at 7:00 p.m. versus the Badgers.
By Eric Smith