Mustangs start season with three straight victories

Varsity Mustang Manuel Saldana, Jr. was 3-5 with 2 RBIs in Natalia’s 18-2 win over Kennedy on Feb. 21.

After picking up back-to-back lop-sided wins to begin their 2017 season, the boys in blue were pressed this past Monday night at home versus the visiting Nixon-Smiley Mustangs. Natalia rallied back from a 0-3 deficit to down the blue and red Mustangs en route to their third straight victory.
The Natalia defense was a bit shaky in their first outing at home, as they allowed Nixon-Smiley to take a 3-0 lead courtesy of their miscues. Nixon used a hit batter, two Natalia errors and a single to take the 3-0 lead.
Natalia responded in the bottom of the 1st inning, as they used a Manny Saldana single, an error put into play by Rey Garza and a single by Jeremiah Castro to cut into their lead by two runs.
Nixon-Smiley added their final run in the top of the 3rd, thanks to a walk and a single allowing them to take a 4-2 lead.
The home squad Mustangs began their come-back in the bottom of the 4th. They used an Alex Valdez walk, an error put into play by Isaiah Gomez, a Saldana single and an error put into play by Gabe Figueroa to score two runs.
The blue and white Mustangs finished off the come-back by scoring one in the 5th and two final runs in the 6th highlighted by a Valdez double to seal the deal with a 7-4 victory over Nixon-Smiley.
Rey Garza pitched 3.0 innings as he allowed four hits, walked two and struck out three. Gomez pitched 4.0, allowed three hits, walked two and struck out four.
At Bat- Garza 2-4, Figueroa 1-4, Saldana 2-4-1RBI, Castro 1-3-1RBI, Anton Felker 0-1, Gomez 2-1, Javier Hernandez 0-3-1RBI, Antonio Trevino 0-1-1RBI, Valdez 1-3-2RBIs, Dustin Richardson 1-4.
John F Kennedy
The season began February 21st in San Antonio as the Natalia Mustangs battled the 5A Kennedy Rockets. The Mustang defense worked behind Rey Garza and Miguel Loredo on the mound as they held the Rockets scoreless during the 7-inning road victory.
Offensively, Natalia belted out 12 hits and forced three additional errors on the Kennedy defense en route to an 18-2 victory.
“It was a good way to start off the season,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “There is still plenty of work that we have to do to get better. Defensively, Rey Garza had a great outing on the mound and he did a good job staying ahead of the pitch count. Offensively, we put the ball in play and took advantage of situations. Manny Saldana had a solid night at the plate for us. He has had to make adjustments this year and he has been the lead off thus far.”
At bat- Garza 1-4-1RBI-2runs scored, Raymond Quintero 0-0-1run scored, Figueroa 0-3-1RBI-2runs scored, Loredo 0-0-1run scored, Saldana 3-5-2RBIs-2runs scored, Castro 2-5-1RBI-2runs scored, Felker 0-0, Gomez 1-3-4RBIs, Hernandez 0-3-2runs scored, Trevino 0-2-1RBI-2runs scored, Nathan Vasquez 1-1, Valdez 2-3-3RBIs-3runs scored, Richardson 1-2-1run scored.
Friday night the Mustangs were on the road in Karnes County as they battled the Runge Yellow Jackets. Natalia made short work of the Jackets, as they out-played Runge in every aspect of the game.
Runge’s pitching was not a strong point, as Natalia had 17 walks on the night. When you combine that with seven hits by the Stangs and four Runge defensive errors, it resulted in a lop-sided 23-4 victory.
Figueroa pitched 2.0 innings and allowed two walks, struck out four and one run. Hernandez pitched 3.0, allowed two hits, struck out three and allowed three runs, one of which was earned.
“Offensively against Runge, Gabe Figueroa had a good night at the plate for us with a pair of hits and three RBIs,” Martinez said. “It was a night that our hitters had to be patient at the plate, but still be aggressive each at bat. Gabe and Javier both split pitching duties and threw very well and kept the majority of their hitters off base. We had a couple of errors defensively, but we will clean those up.”
At bat- Richard Rodriguez 0-1, Garza 1-3-2RBIs-1run scored, Quintero 1-2-2RBIs-3runs scored, Figueroa 2-4-4RBIs-1run scored, Loredo 0-2-1RBI-3runs scored, Saldana 0-0-3runs scored, Castro 0-3-1RBI-3runs scored, Gomez 0-2, Hernandez 2-2-3RBIs-1run scored, Trevino 1-2-2RBIs-2runs scored, Valdez 1-1-1RBI-3runs scored, Richardson 0-0-3runs scored and Alejandro Sanchez 0-1.
Upcoming Edgewood Tournament
This coming Thursday, the Mustangs will return to the Edgewood ISD Tournament for a third straight year. They will open the tournament at 3:00 p.m. vs. the Edison Golden Bears. At 7:00 p.m., the Stangs will battle 6A Los Fresnos.
Dependent on how the Stangs do in pool play will determine when they will compete in bracket play.
On Tuesday, March 7th Natalia returns to action when they travel to LaSalle County to battle the Cotulla Cowboys on the road at 7:00 p.m.

By Eric Smith
Staff Writer

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