Harlandale’s Perez, Palomino combine on no-hitter
TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank, Central Catholic, East Central, Edison, Harlandale, Holy Cross, Jefferson, Kennedy, Memorial, Southside.
When Marion advertised for prospective opponents last summer, it couldn’t have known that it was seeking out the team that would end its undefeated streak. That’s exactly the way the sitatuation played out, however.
Holy Cross (4-9) contracted to play a game at Marion (12-1) last Tuesday and handed the host team its first defeat of the season. The combination of left-hander Jeremy Martinez’s pitching and well-executed small ball carried the Knights to a hard-earned 4-3 non-district victory.
“They put it up on a website,” veteran Holy Cross coach Polo Botello said, referring the schedule opening. “I was looking for one last game before district opened on Friday. I called up and introduced myself. I felt fortunate we were able to schedule both JV and varsity games. And I saw that they had a nice club.
“I didn’t know (they were ranked). The kids told me.”
Martinez, an all-TAPPS District 3-4A selection last year as a sophomore, retired the first nine Marion batters in order. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 3 in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Assocation state Class 2A rankings.
Meanwhile, Holy Cross set the tone in the first inning.
Chris Rodriguez and Cisco Flores both walked and advanced on a passed ball against Marion ace Rafael DeHoyos (14 strikeouts). Dylan de la Garza provided the Knights with a 1-0 lead on a squeeze bunt.
Jourden Stanley led off the Marion fourth with a base hit and scored on a Knights error, tying the score 1-1. Holy Cross prevented another run when Martinez backed up the play at the plate and tagged out a runner.
The Knights regained the lead in the fifth after Steven Villela led off with a double and reached third on a passed ball. Junior Aaron Alfaro brought Villela home with a safety squeeze.
“Their kid must have been throwing 85-86 (mph),” Botello said of DeHoyos. “He was blowing us away. The only thing we could do was play small ball. We had one good double but, for the most part, we were trying to get them on and get them over. We played small ball and hoped for a base hit.”
The Bulldogs again knotted the score in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single from Tony Gonzalez. Martinez struck out a batter and picked a runner off first base to escape further trouble. The junior picked off three runners during the game.
After both pitchers struck out the side in the sixth, Holy Cross immediately put pressure on Marion in the seventh.
Villela was safe on an error. Alfaro once again displayed his bunting skill, beating out a dribbler down the first-base line for a single. He dropped down the bunt on a 3-0 count.
“The ball stopped right on the chalk,” Botello said. “They were hoping it would roll foul, but it never did.”
A walk to the Knights’ Adrian Herrera loaded the bases with none out. That set the stage for Rodriguez, who made it 3-2 with yet another successful safety squeeze.
The Knights faked another bunt, but didn’t need to execute it. Alfaro, fittingly, scored on a passed ball for a two-run lead midway through the seventh.
The Bulldogs’ Tre Lambert belted a triple and scored on a bunt play. Although Martinez recorded the out at first base, he overthrew third base, allowing Lambert to close the gap to 4-3. The other baserunner, who reached base on a walk, tried to score from third on the play, but first baseman Alfaro came across the infield to make the tag for the second out.
Martinez ended the game with a strikeout.
“They have four guys who are ranked in the area in batting average,” Botello said, referring to the Express-News rankings. “I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. We’re just blessed to have them on our schedule.
“I’m hoping this win is going to stay with us for a while. Going into district play, we’re going to need it.”
Martinez and DeHoyos each allowed three hits. Martinez struck pout 11.
“He pitched very well,” Botello said. “He was right around the plate. He only threw 95 pitches. He’s a big, strong kid.”
Holy Cross has just one senior on its roster, along with 10 juniors and 11 sophomores.
“We’ve just been battling through the non-district schedule,” Botello said, “but thank God we’re healthy. Going into district play, we just want to get better. I like what I’m seeing right now. We’re a young team and we’re hungry.
“They played together some in middle school. I’m excited for Friday and the next four weeks after that.”
Harlandale 13, Memorial 0 (5 innings)
Senior left-hander Zach Perez and freshman Robert Palomino combined to pitch a five-inning no-hitter for the Indians (6-8, 2-2) in a District 29-4A win over Memorial (4-10, 1-3) Tuesday at Edgewood Field.
Perez pitched the first three innings, striking out three. Palomino struck out six in the final two innings.
Harlandale took a 3-0 lead in the first two innings. The Indians put the run rule into effect with a 10-run fourth inning.
Palomino also drove in three runs. Ramzey Martinez supplied two hits and two RBIs. Freshman Timothy Smith added three hits to Harlandale’s 10-hit attack and drove in a run. Smith and freshman Christian Slocume each scored three runs.
East Central 6, Central Catholic 5
Hornets sophomore Fernando Luna was the winning pitcher and drove in two runs, leading East Central (10-3-2) to a non-district win against Central Catholic (8-6) Tuesday at East Central.
Buttons senior Jonathan Ramirez hit two home runs, including a three-run shot in the seventh inning that put Central Catholic within a run. Hornets reliever Kassidy Ramon escaped the seventh without further damage.
Luna gave up a first-inning run to Central Catholic, but kept the Buttons scoreless over the next four innings as East Central built a 6-1 lead. The Hornets scored four runs in the fifth. Central Catholic pulled within 6-2 in the sixth.
Aaron Jaramillo led the Hornets with three hits and an RBI. Luna drove in two runs. Russell Brown and Carlos Gallegos also had RBI.
Ramirez led Central Catholic with two hits and four RBIs.
The Buttons defeated St. Anthony 10-7 Wednesday at St. Anthony. Central Catholic amassed a 10-3 lead through five innings, but had to hold off a four-run rally from the Yellowjackets (10-7, 0-2) in the bottom of the seventh to claim its first TAPPS 2-5A win.
Senior Ethan Rodriguez led Central Catholic, going 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs. Max Grullon collected two hits and drove in two runs. Zack Arambula also added two hits.
Edison 5, Burbank 4
The Golden Bears (2-10, 2-2) won their second District 29-4A game in three outings, while Burbank (3-12-1, 1-3) was unable to build a winning streak on the heels of a 3-2 win over Brennan March 14.
Burbank did its best to keep the momentum alive, scoring four runs in the first three innings at SAISD Field No. 2. It scored three runs in the top of the first. However, Edison erased the Bulldogs’ lead with a five-run fourth.
Edison’s Julio Alvarez was the winning pitcher.
Arturo Martinez and Jonathan Martinez each contributed two hits for Burbank. Tristan Settles drove in two runs.
Southside 9, Kennedy 5
The Cardinals (4-10, 1-3) seized the lead early and held off a frantic comeback from Kennedy (5-8, 1-3) to win the District 29-4A game Tuesday at Southside.
Southside scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning and kept the Rockets scoreless until the fourth, when they scored two runs. Kennedy closed to 4-3 in the top of the fifth and Southside responded with two runs. The Rockets again narrowed the gap to a run in the top of the sixth after scoring twice. This time, Southside produced a game-deciding three run rally.
Senior Ryan Cortez hit a home run for the Cardinals.
Brackenridge 10, Jefferson 0
The Eagles (7-7, 3-1) forged a temporary tie for first place in District 29-4A with a win over Jefferson (3-12, 1-3) Tuesday at SAISD Field No. 1. Brennan (10-6-1, 4-1) inched ahead in the district race Wednesday by defeating Highlands.
Brackenridge scored two runs in both the third and fifth innings. The Eagles tacked on five runs in the sixth.
Jongregory Gonzales led Brackenridge with two hits and two RBIs. Tristen Cortinas had a double and two RBIs. Alex Hammerli recorded two hits.
Michael Avalos led the Mustangs with two hits. Brackenridge pitchers Mario Roldan, Robert Rangel and Bryan Guerrero combined to limit Jefferson to four hits in the shutout. Roldan was the winning pitcher.