Natalia Mustangs win Charlotte Tournament

The Natalia Mustangs were able to win four straight games last weekend in the Charlotte Tournament to claim their first tournament title of the season. The boys in blue were able to route Brooks Academy, LaPryor, Charlotte and Randolph in consecutive contests.
“Our pitching carried us through the tournament,” Natalia Head Coach Kasey Crowther said. “Having a deep bull-pen will really help us come late season.”
Brooks Academy-The Natalia Mustangs opened the tournament Thursday morning vs. a really old district foe in Brooks Academy for their first meeting of the season. Natalia was able to score eleven runs in four innings courtesy of eight hits en route to their 11-0 shut-out victory over the Bengals.
After a scoreless 1st at bat, Natalia produced three in the 2nd, two in the 3rd and six in the 4th innings of play.
Joseph Blanquiz pitched 2.0, allowed no runs, one hit and struck out five. Sonny Rymers pitched 2.0, allowed one hit, struck out three.
At bat: Manuel Garcia and Wyatt Owens led the team with two hits each as Balnquiez, Xavier Vasquez and Jacob Navarro added one hit each in the game.
LaPryor-Success continued for Natalia, as they kept their offense rolling. Natalia used a six-run opening at bat to fuel them toward a 10-0 shut-out victory over the Bulldogs. Owens and Gavin Martinez led the offense with multiple hits, as Fabian Ruiz, Manuel Garcia, Luis Buentello, Chris Saldana, David Silva and Rene Velasquez all added hits.
Rymers pitched 2.0, allowed no hits and struck out four, as Chris Saldana pitched 2.0 and struck out four also allowing no hits although he did walk one.
Charlotte-Things got a tad tougher on Saturday, when Natalia opened the day vs. the home team Trojans. Natalia was edged offensively 8-7 in the hit category, but Natalia’s proved to be timely en route to a 6-1 victory.
Martinez, Garcia, Saldana, Blanquiz and Jaieden Burford all added hits during the victory for Natalia.
Rymers pitched 3.0 for the Stangs allowing eight hits, one run, striking out three and walking two. Ruiz pitched 2.0, allowed no hits, struck out two and walked two.
Randolph-Natalia’s toughest game of the tourney was their final one vs. the Randolph Ro-Hawks. Randolph was able to break open a scoreless game in the 2nd inning, as they used a walk and four straight singles to take a 3-0 lead on the Mustangs. Randolph added one final run in the 3rd inning, as they used a walk and a single to take a 4-0 lead.
Natalia came alive in the bottom of the third, as Manuel Garcia started things off with a single. He was able to score the first run of the game for Natalia, thanks to a single by Burford, a stolen base and a fielder’s choice.
The true rally took place in the bottom of the 4th, as things started off bad for Randolph. The pitching staff walked Blanquiz, Navarro, hit Martinez before walking Ruiz. The Mustangs were able to then use a Burford single before watching the second out of the game come. Natalia didn’t go down quietly, as senior Chris Saldana took his fifth pitch of the game and sent it to left field for a walk-off RBI scoring in the winning run allowing Natalia to pick up a 5-4 thrilling tournament title victory in Charlotte.
“Our bats came alive when we needed them to and our senior outfield played lights out,” Crowther said. “We still need our infield communication to improve some.”
Natalia finished the game with a 7-6 edge in the hit category. Blanquiz spent 2.2 innings on the mound, as he allowed five hits, four runs and struck out two, allowing four walks. Garcia pitched 1.1, allowed one hit and struck out three.
Upcoming Games
Natalia travels to Ingleside this weekend for what should be a much more challenging tournament. See the tourney story for further details.
On Tuesday, March 9th Natalia returns home as they welcome Carrizo Springs to town for a non-district battle.
By Eric Smith
Staff Writer