The Natalia Mustangs (11-9, 4-2) were able to stay on track as they picked up a close home victory April 17th versus the Karnes City Badgers. Natalia edged the Badgers 4-3 offensively en route to a 3-2 home victory.
“Diego Zapata was able to keep us in the game against Karnes City,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “The runs we gave up came from a walk and an error. We constantly tell our defense that those mistakes will catch up to you.”
Zapata pitched the first 5.0 innings, allowing three hits, walked four, struck out four and allowed two runs, one of which was earned.
“Offensively, we just execute in a couple of situations,” Martinez said. “We just didn’t hit the ball hard like we have been.”
Natalia did strike first offensively, as they rallied with two outs using a Jeremiah Castro single and an error put into play up the middle by Zapata to give Natalia a 1-0 lead. This lead stood, until the top of the 3rd.
This is when KC struck, using a base on balls, a single and two errors to score their first run of the game.
In the top of the 4th, KC struck again to take a short-lived lead, as they used a base on balls, a hit by a pitch and two fielder choices in a row to score in their second run.
Natalia tied things up in the bottom of the 4th, as Zapata got on thanks to a walk. He advanced to second on a SAC bunt by Caden Fregia, before advancing on an error put into play by Contreras and then scoring on a SAC bunt by Peter Billalobos.
The Mustangs and Badgers would stay tied until the 7th. This is when Natalia capitalized on a few KC miscues. Wyatt Woodson was able to get on base thanks to a walk. He advanced on an AJ Felker walk, before scoring on an error put into play by Castro to win the game.
“In the last inning, we were able to get two runners on with Castro hitting the game winning RBI,” Martinez said. “I am proud of our boys and how they raised up to the challenge.”
Contreras pitched the final 2.0, allowed 0 hits in the contest.
At bat: Zapata 1-2-1RBI-1run scored, Woodson 0-0-1run scored, Fregia 1-2, Castro 2-4-1RBI-1run scored, Contreras 0-2, Isaiah Gomez 0-1, Felker 0-2-1RBI, Billalobos 0-2-1RBI, Uriel Arellano 0-2, Richardson 0-2. Put-Out Leaders: Billalobos 7, Gomez 5, Fregia 2, COntreras 2. Assists: Fregia 2, Gomez 2.
Natalia had a huge road game on press night versus the district leading Poth Pirates. If Natalia was to upset the Pirates on the road, they would possibly secure 2nd place outright. If they lost and finished the season with an expected win Friday versus Cole, Natalia and Jourdanton would most likely finish in a tie for 2nd and would need to have a playoff or flip for 2nd place.
By Eric Smith