Mustangs get off to rocky start in District opener

On paper, the 26-3A baseball opener was going to be a great battle between two programs that had had a number of great moments and a number of not so great moments.
Inconsistencies had hurt not only the Jourdanton Indians, but the Natalia Mustangs as well this season.
Last Friday, March 24th the Natalia pitching staff struggled and the defense at times seemed defenseless with a season high seven errors.
As a result, it turned into a long night for the boys in blue as the Jourdanton Indians took what was given to them offensively en route to a ten run rule victory despite only accounting for seven total hits in the game.
“It was not the way we planned to begin district play,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “We have to learn how to stay relaxed when playing this game. It seemed nothing went our way against Jourdanton.”
It turned into a long struggle on the mound for the Mustangs. Natalia started their “ace” Rey Garza, but he lasted only 2.2 innings, after giving up five hits, he walked two, struck out five and allowed nine runs, three of which were owned.
From here, Natalia used Isaiah Gomez, Antonio Trevino and Javier Hernandez on the hill trying to slow down the Indians from putting pressure on their defense.
“We have to eliminate our pitchers from throwing extra unnecessary pitches,” Martinez said. “We struggled offensively as well.”
Natalia did strike first in their opening at bat, as Manuel Saldana began the game with a single up the middle. He was able to score, thanks to a Garza base on balls, a fielder’s choice put into play by Jeramiah Castro and a base on balls by Alex Valdez.
It did not take long for the Indians to take over. They scored two runs in their opening at bat on a two out rally. They used a handful of errors and a walk to take the 2-1 lead.
Jourdanton shut down Natalia in the top of the 2nd, before adding four runs in the 2nd inning. This was just the start of a long night.
Big red shut down the Mustangs in the top of the 3rd as well as NHS stranded one runner.
Jourdanton officially took this game over in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring three additional runs allowing them to hold a 9-1 lead.
The final runs for the boys in blue came in the top of the 4th. Natalia used a Gomez base on balls, a SAC bunt by Anton Felker, a single by Dustin Richardson and a single by Saldana to cut the deficit down to 9-3.
Unfortunately, the tribe protected their home turf scoring two runs in the bottom of the 4th and one final run in the 5th to pick up a lop-sided 13-3 win over the Mustangs.
“We will get back to work and hopefully play ball the way we know we are capable of,” Martinez said.
At bat: Garza 0-2-1RBI, Gabe Figueroa 0-2-1RBI, Saldana 2-3-1RBI-1run scored, Castro 0-3, Felker 0-2, Gomez 1-1, Hernandez 1-1, Trevino 0-1, Valdez 1-1 and Richardson 1-2-1run scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Hernandez 4, Gomez 4, Garza 1, Figueroa 1, Castro 1, Felker 1, Richardson 1.
Upcoming Games
On press night, the Mustangs hosted the Karnes City Badgers in their second 26-3A battle of the season.
This coming Friday, the Stangs are back at Mustang Field as they step away from non-district action as the Comfort Bobcats come to town for a 6:30 p.m. battle.
On Tuesday, April 4th the Mustangs travel to Wilson County to battle district favorite Poth at 7:00 p.m.

By Eric Smith
Staff Writer