Tuesday was somewhat bizarre, as at the close a rainstorm blew in to upset the apple cart at Vela. Before the wet stuff exploded, the baseball game was illustrative of various trends concerning the city nines.
The SaberCats were inconsistent but dominant at times, getting not one but two first-inning home runs for a quick 4-0 lead. They then gave the edge away by surrendering four to the visiting Bobcats in the second, but recovered to win.
EHS, meanwhile showed the theme of its year, undermanned but unbowed, fighting back from the brink only to fall short again. In the seventh, the ’Cats plated a run to get to within 2 at 7-5, and had runners at second and third before driving rain scattered the crowd and forced a cancellation of the game and rally. The rules stated that the contest would revert to the score after a full six frames, meaning a 7-4 loss to Vela, another narrow defeat.
For Bobcat coach Robert Valdez it was par for the course during a trying campaign.
“We have been ahead or close in most of our district losses,” he said before the night began. “We are used to a high standard of play here and this season has been tough. We have guys who want to step up and make the big play in key situations, but we haven’t really done a lot of that so far. The talk is good, encouraging, but the results we are still struggling with.”
EHS dropped to 3-6 with the defeat, but Vela on the other hand improved to 6-3, as Aaron Galvan and Ramsey Amador went yard in the first off ‘Cat starter Mateo Gonzalez. The sweet-swinging lefty Galvan drove in five runs for the game and Amador pitched six innings for the victory.
The Sabes have at times been formidable, such as during a 5-game winning streak after an opening loss to North. The past two games, they had been beaten however, by North and Econ, and needed Tuesday’s result to stay in command of third place in 31-6A.
The win was cemented by slick fielding plays, none more vital than the one turned in by college-bound senior Ryan Rodriguez in the sixth. EHS had threatened in the fourth, loading the bases without scoring, and gotten two runners on in the fifth without a scratch. Now, after a leadoff single, the ‘Cats bunted but Rodriguez – who had come flying in from third on the pitch – scooped the ball and fired to second, where Matt de la Cruz fielded and rolled the double play after a fine dig in the dirt from first sacker Adam Alviso.
That is the Bobcat season in a nutshell; an inexperienced club battling to make things happen, but often coming up just a hair shy of the summit. Tuesday also shows the potential of the Blue and Black to throw down stretches of pennant-winning baseball. Coach Jaime Perez and his crew have an outside shot at a title still, though some help will have to be given (beat P-SJ-A and have the Bears defeat North, for example).
Tuesday the club got two hits each from four kids: Rodriguez, Galvan, Amador, and lefty DH Lucas Silva. Leadoff man Jonathan Navarro was sharp with three walks drawn while Rodriguez also coaxed a pair of free passes. E.J. Alanis rapped out two of the seven EHS base knocks while John Gonzalez, who relieved as the second of three pitchers, had a hit and reached on a HBP. The fielding play of the night from the ‘Cats was made in left field by Christian Medina, who ran under a sinking liner by de la Cruz with two on and two out in the Vela fourth.
REST OF THE STORY
North held serve last week with a pair of wins to rise to 9-1, beating Southwest Tuesday, 12-1 and Pharr North Thursday. Vela rose to 8-3 with an easy night against the Javelinas Thursday while the up-and-down Jags clobbered Memorial (11-1) Tuesday before taking a loss against the Bears two days hence. Econ is now 5-5 with North on tap Tuesday, and is tied with Pharr North for the last playoff spot.