The Natalia Mustangs dropped their home opener Monday night in a battle of the Mustangs versus Nixon-Smiley. Despite edging Nixon 5-3 offensively, the red and blue Mustangs rallied past Natalia en route to a 5-1 victory.
Natalia used Jeremiah Gomez and Fabian Ruiz on the mound Monday night. Gomez pitched 5.0, allowed two hits, walked three, struck out five and allowed three runs, all of which were earned.
Ruiz pitched 2.0, allowed one hit, walked one, struck out two and allowed two earned runs.
Natalia scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the 1st inning. Natalia started the contest, as AJ Felker was hit by a pitch. He was able to score, thanks to a Matt Contreras single, an error and a single by Manuel Garcia.
This is how the game would stand, until the top of the 4th inning. N-S used a base on balls and three straight stolen bases to score and tie the contest.
Nixon-Smiley surged ahead of Natalia in the top of the 5th inning. They used two base on balls, one error and a single to score two runs and take a 3-1 lead.
The red and blue Mustangs did their final damage in the top of the 6th, as they used a walk, a huge triple and a ground-out to score their 4th and 5th runs of the contest.
Natalia struggled overall offensively, although they did strand a total of four runners during the 7-inning contest.
At bat: Diego Zapata 0-3, Garcia 2-3-1RBI, Saul Valadez 0-1, Castro 1-2, Joel Mendez 0-1, Contreras 1-3, Felker 0-2-1run score, Matt Billalobos 0-2, Uriel Arellano 1-3, Ruiz 0-3, Gomez 0-2.
Natalia travels to Edgewood Stadium this weekend for a tournament. Natalia opens the tournament on Thursday versus former district foe Cole at 1:00 p.m. before battling Memorial at 5:00 p.m. On Friday, Natalia enters bracket play dependent on how they did in their two pool games.
On Tuesday, March 5th Natalia will welcome Boerne Geneva to town for the first ever meeting between the two schools at 4:30 and 7:00 p.m.
By Eric Smith