The playoff picture is now set, with three city teams moving on to the Dance: North, Vela, and Econ are all in.
The Cougars were walloped at home Friday by P-SJ-A, 9-3, losing a shot at the District 31-6A title, ending up second at 12-2, 17-4; North will now take on Harlingen (9-5, 14-8) this week in bi-district.
Vela finished with a resounding bang, destroying Econ, 18-0 in the finale for both clubs. R.J. Ochoa drove home five runs, sophomore Nico Rodriguez homered, and junior Andre Martinez fashioned a no-hitter for the SaberCats (10-4, 15-6), who will oppose Brownsville Hanna (11-3, 15-8) in the first round.
Despite a loss in the closer, the Jags (7-7, 12-10) are in, and will get a shot at 31-6A champ Los Fresnos (12-2, 20-3). EHS closed out a disappointing campaign with a 1-run loss to Pharr North, drooping to 4-10, 8-17.
North’s try for the title was submarined by five fielding errors and a solid-swinging Bear group that pounded out 13 hits, knocking North ace Carlo Servin out of the box in the third inning. The Coogs, who led 2-0 early courtesy of a two-run double by third baseman Joey Salinas, fell behind after a 4-run Bear uprising in the second, but were hanging tough with a 5-3 deficit through five frames.
In the sixth, visiting P-SJ-A carved out four more to put it away, but the Coogs will still march onward to their fifth straight playoff trip under Coach Damian Gonzalez.
Beth Ramos and Gaston Cortina, long-time standouts for North, will get a chance at the state meet in Austin after fine performances at the regional meet.
Ramos came second in the 3200 while Cortina won the shot put with 56-10, four inches ahead of the next competitor. He went sixth in the discus, missing the cut.
The other Cougar star on Day One at San Antonio was Aldo Nava, who cruised to gold in the 3200 with a time of 10:57.84. Saturday, teammate Tristan Pena set a school record in the 1600 with 4:14.25, eclipsing the mark set by Joe Medina back in 1985. The effort was enough for second at regionals, and a trip to Austin for Pena, and knocked out rival Cruz Gomez of P-SJ-A Memorial, who went 4:14.29 for third.
Ramos of North will also compete in the 1600 at state after a strong second-place run Saturday.