Thanks solely to UIL, District 29-4A is basically competition for seeding as all four teams in the district advance to the state playoffs.
Devine, Hondo, Somerset, and Pleasanton will have completed the first round by this week’s The Devine News press time and, with the Warhorses at 0-2 prior to Thursday’s home game against Pleasanton and the Tuesday, April 19 rematch against the Owls in Hondo, the district will have already commenced with the second round of action.
The first two games for the Warhorses that were completed prior to press time were the district opener against Hondo and a road tilt against the Bulldogs in Somerset
“We competed well in both games,” Head Coach George Villa said after the Somerset contest. “Against Hondo, we faced a pitcher that is one of the best in the area and we had our chances to pull out a win but just didn’t get it done. Hondo got a couple of more timely hits than we did, and that was the difference in the ballgame.”
A scoreless, well-played ballgame into the third inning turned quickly on a Warhorse fielding error and a Hondo three-run homerun that helped carry the Owls to a 7-3 victory. Devine opened District 20-4A play at home after preparing the home field for play after a malfunctioning water sprinkler flooded the field Sunday and Monday evening.
Devine pitcher Henry Ramirez pitched a solid 3⅔ innings before giving way to the Warhorse bullpen. Ramirez and the Warhorses should have been out of the fourth inning unscathed but a fielding miscue led to extra pitches that Hondo hitter Hegen who deposited the first pitch he saw over the left-center field fence to give the Owls a 3-0 lead.
Hondo tacked on another run in the top of the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.
These Warhorses have rallied from behind several times in their current hot streak, and it looked as though they had the will to do so once again Friday night as they clawed back to make it a 4-3 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Sage Cruz hit a one-out single, then Guardiola walked to set up Gabriel Esquibel’s RBI single to score Cruz. Camden White doubled to score Guardiola and Esquibel to inch the Horses closer, now only down by a single run.
Hondo bumped their lead back to three runs by scoring twice in the top of the sixth, then scored the game’s final run in the top of the seventh to close out the 7-3 loss.
Tip of the cap
Sometimes a tip of the cap to the opponent is all that is needed. Devine scrapped and fought their way to three earned runs against an opposing pitcher that was simply throwing with better-than-good velocity and movement not commonly seen around these parts.
Kaleb Guana struck out fifteen, surrendered seven hits, walked one, and hit one batter in getting the complete game win for Hondo.
A rough defensive fifth inning by the Warhorses led to three Somerset runs that Devine could not recover from in their 3-1 defeat. Devine scored one run in the top of the seventh with no outs on an Aiden Zapata single that scored Camden White, and it briefly appeared a comeback was on the horizon at 3-1. However, that was all the Horses would get in the inning.
The loss put Devine at 0-2 in district, and 8-10-1 on the season.
Devine got a solid pitching performance from starter Henry Ramirez as the righty went 4.0 innings, gave up 2 hits, walked one, struck out one, and allowed one earned run.
“Somerset hit some bleeders and got some runs on a couple of our miscues, and we couldn’t recover to get the win,” Villa said. “We are competing well, but the results that we are looking for just aren’t there right now.”