Mustangs work past Karnes City

Mustang Jeremiah Castro pitched a complete game in Natalia’s win over Karnes City. Check out our online gallery for more photos!

The Natalia Mustangs evened their district record in 26-3A last week, with a home victory over the visiting Karnes City Badgers. The Mustangs were one hit better offensively on the night, but it was defense that proved to be the difference.
The boys in blue worked behind pitcher Jeramiah Castro, who pitched 7.0 innings, scattered four hits, walked struck and struck out six during the game. The defense truly stood behind him, surrendering 0 errors, compared to ten the KC defense gave up behind their two pitchers on the night.
“Jeramiah went the distance on the mound and pitched a complete game,” Coach Philip Martinez said. “It is always good to see limited arms used during the games.”
Karnes City scored one of two runs in their opening at bat. After watching their first batter fall victim to a Castro K, Washington produced a double before scoring thanks to a ground out and a single by wright.
The Mustangs responded back as they used a Manuel Saldana double, a pair of stolen bases, an Alex Valdez fielder’s choice and a single by Gabe Figueroa to take a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the second, Natalia shut down the Badgers using a pair of Ks thanks to the hand of Castro as well as a G1 to get out of the inning, forcing KC to strand one runner who was on thanks to a single.
The bottom of the 2nd saw Natalia add to their lead. The Stangs scored in Dustin Richardson, after he got on thanks to an error. He rounded the bases thanks to a SAC bunt by Javier Hernandez and a double by Saldana.
The big blue defense continued to be impressive, as they shut down KC 1-2-3 in the top of the 3rd, before stranding three runners of their own in the bottom of the 3rd.
KC scored their final run in the top of the 4th. This came thanks to a single by wright, a HBP, and a fielder’s choice by Reyes.
The Mustangs added two additional runs in the bottom of the 4th thanks to a two-out rally. This came courtesy of a Saldana single, a Rey Garza base on balls and a handful of KC errors, as the Stangs led 5-2 going into the 5th.
After watching a scoreless 5th, Natalia shut down the Badgers in the top of the 6th before doing their final offensive damage in the bottom of the 6th. Big blue used a Richardson error put into play, a Saldana single, a stolen base and an error put into play by Valdez to score their sixth and seventh runs.
The Stangs defense used a G4-3 and a pair of Castro Ks to seal the deal in a 7-2 victory.
“Our defense played well behind our pitcher,” Martinez said. ‘Manuel Saldana led the team at the plate going 4-4 with a pair of RBIs and I feel as a team, we had some good quality at bats.”
At bat: Rey Garza 1-3-1run scored, Gabe Figueroa 1-3-1RBI, Manuel Saldana 4-4-2RBIs-3runs scored, Jeramiah Castro 0-2, Anton Felker 0-3, Isaiah Gomez 0-0, Javier Hernandez 0-2, Nathan Vasquez 0-2, Alex Valdez 0-3-1run scored and Dustin Richardson 0-3-2runs scored.
Defensive Put-Outs: Valdez 6, Figueroa 6, Vasquez 3, Castro 2, Hernandez 2, Saldana 1, Garza 1.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer