SOFTBALL WEEKEND REPORT: Three area teams part of 28-5A first-place logjam

McCollum gets back on track in 29-4A

TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank, East Central, Edison, Harlandale, Highlands, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lanier, McCollum, South San, Southside, Southwest.

East Central (17-4, 2-1), South San (10-8-1, 2-1) and Southwest (19-7, 2-1) ended the week as part of a four-team tie for first place in District 28-5A.

All three teams recorded wins Friday. East Central’s 7-3 victory over district-leading Steele (14-7, 2-1) forced the tie. The Knights also shared first.

Hornets senior pitcher Taylor Doege limited the Knights to three hits. East Central scored all seven runs in the first two innings, starting with a four-run first on its home field.

South San edged Corpus Christi King 4-3. The Bobcats scored two runs in the first inning and answered in with a run in the bottom of the fifth after King (10-15, 0-3) scored its first run. South San won on a run in the bottom of the seventh, breaking a 3-3 tie.

Bobcats freshman Alyssa Montes was the winning pitcher at South San Stadium.

Southwest defeated Corpus Christi Carroll (15-4, 0-2) 2-1 Friday at Southwest. The Dragons took care of business with two runs in the first inning. Sophomore pitcher Caitlin Terrazas limited the Tigers to four hits and a seventh-inning run.

McCollum 17, Kennedy 0

The Cowboys (11-4, 6-1) rebounded from a 3-0 loss to district-leading Medina Valley to defeat Kennedy (4-10, 2-5) Friday in a District 29-4A game at Tiger Field.

McCollum scored nine runs in the top of the seventh to put the game out of reach. Junior pitcher Kim Abundis allowed just two Rockets hits.

Junior Kim Casias led a 23-hit attack for McCollum with a home run.

Medina Valley defeated McCollum 3-0 Tuesday in a first-place showdown.

Brackenridge 6, Highlands 1

The Eagles (12-7-1, 4-2) Highlands (6-8-1, 3-3) Friday at Villarreal Field No. 2.

The teams were tied 1-1 after an inning. Brackenridge got separation from the Owls with three runs in the fourth inning and two in the fifth.

Alexis Berlanga was the winning pitcher for Brackenridge, limiting the Owls to five hits. Brackenridge recorded 10 hits.

Harlandale 19, Southside 4 (4 innings)

The Indians (9-10-1, 3-4) scored 35 runs in two District 29-4A games during the week. Harlandale defeated Southside (1-12, 0-6) Friday at Frank Tejeda Complex with help from a 12-run second inning.

The Cardinals had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the second.

Chasity Anguiano and Breanna Heredia each hit home runs as Harlandale clubbed 19 hits. Indians pitcher Isabella Tellez allowed six hits.



BASEBALL WEEKEND REPORT: South San keeps winning streak going against Southwest


Olvera pitches Buttons to TAPPS 2-5A victory

TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank, East Central, Edison, Harlandale, Highlands, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lanier, McCollum, South San, Southside, Southwest.

South San (11-5, 1-0) worked overtime to record its fourth-consecutive win 5-4 Friday at Burrows-Gustafson Stadium. The Bobcats edged rival Southwest (7-7-1, 0-1) with a run in the eighth inning of the District 28-5A opener for both teams.

The Dragons struck first, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Through five innings, Southwest led 4-0. South San scored a run in the sixth and three in the bottom of the seventh to dramatically send the game into extra innings.

Senior John Gamez was the winning pitcher for the Bobcats. South San amassed six hits and Southwest finished with five.

Central Catholic 8, Laredo St. Augustine 0

Junior Chris Olvera pitched a one-hitter, leading the Buttons (11-8, 2-0) to a TAPPS District 2-5A victory at Laredo St. Augustine Saturday. Central Catholic finished with 11 hits.

Zack Arambula and Josh Godfrey led Central Catholic with two hits apiece, including a double and an RBI. Zack Frey also drilled a double. Nick Mares, Manny Martinez and Ethan Rodriguez all drove in runs.

Olvera struck out eight and walked one in the complete-game victory.

Memorial 7, Uvalde 5

The Minutemen (5-11, 2-3) ended a three-game District 29-4A losing streak Friday at Uvalde (4-11, 1-4). Memorial broke a 4-4 tie with a fourth-inning run and added two more unanswered runs in the sixth to seal the win. The Coyotes scored their last run in the bottom of the sixth.

Senior Ivan DeAnda was the winning pitcher for the Minutemen.

Harlandale 15, Southside 1 (4 innings)

The Indians (7-8, 3-2) racked up their third-straight win Friday at the Tejeda Complex, defeating Southside (4-11, 1-4) in a District 29-4A game.

Harlandale scored five runs in the second inning and seven in the third. With a 10-run rule win all but assured, the Indians added three more in the fourth. Southside scored its only run in the fifth.

The Indians recorded 12 hits. The Cardinals had six against Harlandale left-hander Zach Perez, who struck out four in the five-inning game. Southside’s run was earned.

Richard Acosta led Harlandale with three RBI. Ramzey Martinez and Christian Slocume each finished with two hits and two RBI. Nathan Reyes also drove in a run.

McCollum 11, Kennedy 1

The Cowboys (13-3, 4-1) slipped to second place in District 29-4A after a loss to Medina Valley Tuesday, but recovered to win at Kennedy (5-9, 1-4) Friday.

McCollum led from the outset, scoring two runs in its first at-bat. The Rockets cut the lead to 2-1 in the second., but the Cowboys responded with a four-run outburst in the third. McCollum added five runs in the last two innings.

Jesse Medina was the winning pitcher for McCollum, scattering eight hits. The Cowboys lashed 11 hits.

Burbank 5, Jefferson 2

The Bulldogs (4-12-1, 2-3) won for the secnd time in three District 28-4A games Friday, defeating Jefferson (3-13, 1-4) on the strength of a three-run third inning at Villarreal Field No. 1.

The Mustangs struck for 2-0 runs in the top of the second inning, but the Bulldogs cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning. Jefferson never recovered from Burbank’s third and the Bulldogs scored again in the sixth.

Justin Carlos Gonzales led Burbank’s nine-hit attack, going 3-for-3 with an RBI. Tristan Settles (3 RBI), Jonathan Martinez and Jeremy Moreno collected two hits apiece.

For Jefferson, Kevin Cortinas drove in a run.

Holy Cross 17, San Marcos Academy 3 (5 innings)

The Knights (5-9, 1-0) began their TAPPS District 3-4A season with a commanding win over San Marcos Academy Friday at Holy Cross.

Juniors Jeremy Martinez and Cisco Flores both hit home runs as Holy Cross scored three runs in the first inning, eight in the third and six in the fourth. San Marcos Baptist scored all of its runs in the top of the fifth.

Steven Villela was the winning pitcher for the Knights.


BASEBALL: Eagles pepper Lanier with 12 hits in 28-4A win


Brackenridge breaks game open with 8-run rally


Brackenridge did quite a bit of driving last Friday at SAISD Field No. 1 — in golf, not auto racing, terminology.

The Eagles (8-7, 4-1) drove 12 hits in a 10-3 victory over Lanier (5-10, 2-3). They won their second-consecutive game and remained in second place in District 28-4A with help from an eight-run second inning.

Brackenridge, who trailed first-place Brennan by a half-game, belted seven hits in the second inning alone.

“We want to hit the ball from gap to gap,” first-year Brackenridge coach Mike Garza said. “You have to stay back to do that. That’s how you get extra-base hits.”

A double from Eagles senior Mario Roldan ignited the second-inning rally. A walk to Matt de los Santos (2-for-3, RBI) and a fielder’s choice filled the bases. That’s when the fireworks began.

Johan Parra delivered a 2-run single followed by winning pitcher Robert Rangel’s run-scoring base hit.

In the midst of the rally, Lanier coach Carlos Sanchez disputed a call that opened the flood gates. The plate umpire called an Eagles runner safe.

“If you can’t make a call from 10 feet away,” Sanchez said, referring to the base umpire, “how is somebody going to make the call from 90 feet away? No excuses, but I think that was a turning point. That’s when they scored all their runs.

“Give them credit. They, obviously, put the ball in play.”

Brackenridge sophomore Bryan Guerrero was hit by a pitch ahead of consecutive two-run singles from freshman Johnathan Lucas (2-for-4, 3 RBIs) and senior catcher Tristen Cortinas (2-for-4, 2 RBIs).

“We just hung in there,” Cortinas said. “We really got our bats going. We were able to put up a lot of runs.”

A double to left field from de los Santos completed the scoring in the second with Brackenridge ahead 8-0.

“I just try to make contact on every pitch I like,” Cortinas said. “Everybody has been hitting. From No. 1 to No. 9 everybody is getting hits.”

Two of Lanier’s seven errors set up the Eagles next run, produced by Lucas’ RBI single. Aggressive baserunning helped the Voks erase some of the nine-run deficit.

In the fourth, Lanier pitcher Hector DeHoyos walked, stole second and scored on one of Brack’s four errors. The Voks mustered a run when Javier Lopez reached base with a single and scored on the back end of double steal.

Brackenridge prevented another big inning from the Voks in the sixth by throwing out runners at the plate and third base.

The game’s last two runs were scored on errors. Roldan crossed the plate for Brack and Brian Laque accounted for Lanier’s last run after drawing a walk in the seventh.

Rangel scattered six hits for the Eagles. Guerrero pitched the seventh.

“I tell the kids that pitching is the key,” Garza said, “but you have to play good defense to back up your pitcher. One of the big things we do is work on fundamentals and situations. If you do enough repetitions, it just clicks. You see a situation and react.”



SOFTBALL: Holy Cross unloads on TAPPS 3-4A foes

Knights outscore four opponents 46-6


After the sting abates, a setback can be a useful tool for a team.

That was the case for Holy Cross after it was shut out by New Braunfels March 14. The Knights (18-7-1, 4-0) got their house in order after the non-district loss and rolled to four victories last week, including a 17-1 victory at Texas Military Institute last Thursday.

“We had a tough loss to New Braunfels,” Knights senior pitcher Julia Ibarra said. “We lost 10-0. Going into Antonian, we all came together as a team. We know that if we continue to (play) great defense as a team, we’ll succeed.

“We needed to play with more intensity. We lost by a lot, but we finally realized what we could be.”

The Knights outscored their opponents 46-6 last week. Beginning with a key 7-3 victory over Antonian on Monday, the Knights romped to a 5-0 win over Corpus Christi Incarnate Word last Tuesday and finished the week with a 17-2 win at Cornerstone Christian Friday.

All but the Antonian game counted in the TAPPS District 3-4A standings.

“Victoria St. Joseph has been the district champs the last two years,” Holy Cross coach Angel Cedillo said. “We haven’t played them yet. We have a long way to go, but I’m proud of our progress right now.”

Junior shortstop Marisol Ortega, who pitched the fifth inning, began the TMI game with a double down the left-field line and scored on the play with help from a two-base Panthers throwing error. No. 3 hitter Melanie Cortinas (2 RBIs) was hit by a pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice that gave Holy Cross a 2-0 advantage.

Ortega collected the first of three hits in four at-bats. She also drove in three runs.

“Mari’s just a tough hitter,” Cedillo said. “We’re struggling with a little inconsistency after our (Nos. 1-6 hitters). We need to have nine confident hitters. That way, if we keep the ball down and play good defense, we can play with anybody.”

Ortega delivered a two-run single in the second inning and the Knights increased their lead to 6-0 in the third. A wild pitch and an RBI double from Erin Torralva accounted for the third inning runs.

Holy Cross erupted for five runs in the fourth.

A two-run double from Cortinas followed by an RBI triple from Kat Rangel made it 9-0. Another run scored on an error on Omni Garcia’s grounder. Jenevieve Cruz doubled home a run.

Ibarra allowed just four hits in the victory. The senior showed that she had all of her pitches working early, striking out opposing pitcher Taylor Devlin with a change-up in the first inning.

“My change-up has been iffy, but I think today, I was able to throw anything I wanted,” Ibarra said. “We’ve had a lot of injuries. Our second baseman is hurt. But we’re still playing good defense. We pitchers can’t do anything without having a team behind us to help us.”

She kept the Panthers scoreless until the fourth, when No. 3 batter Grace Westerman led off with a single and scored on Emily Gaines’ two-out base hit.

“We tell her she’s going to need all of her pitches,” Cedillo said. “If a (batter) is the real deal, don’t be afraid to throw her a change-up.”

Holy Cross responded with another scoring flurry. Pinch-hitter Jessica Solano produced a two-RBI triple and Ortega chipped in another RBI on a double in the fifth.

“We’ve played a bunch of good teams,” Cedillo said. “We’ve played some Northeast side teams and Johnson. The things we did wrong in the New Braunfels game, we did absolutely right today.

“We told them New Braunfels was going to put the ball in play and that we needed to not make mistakes. They dinked and dunked us. But those are the things that keep us (grounded). We’re blessed that teams like that schedule us.”

Holy Cross advanced to the region round in the TAPPS 4A playoffs last year.

“We did lose some seniors and we lost one of our pitchers,” Cedillo said. “We have a new outfield. But the main thing is that we’re coming together as a team. We’ve been doing well.”


BASEBALL MID-WEEK REPORT: Holy Cross knocks off undefeated Marion


Harlandale’s Perez, Palomino combine on no-hitter

TEAMS INCLUDEDBrackenridge, 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.


SOFTBALL MID-WEEK REPORT: Rockets blast Southside 14-2

Southwest edges East Central in ninth inning

TEAMS INCLUDED: Brackenridge, Burbank, East Central, Harlandale, Highlands, Holy Cross, Jefferson, Kennedy, Lanier, Memorial, Southside, Southwest.

Kennedy (4-9, 2-4) produced three big innings in a 14-2 District 28-4A win over Southside (4-14, 1-5) Tuesday at Southside.

The young Rockets scored four runs in the first inning, three in the fourth and five in the sixth. The last rally effectively ended the game by the 10-run rule. The Cardinals didn’t score until the fourth.

Amy Cerda was the winning pitcher for Kennedy.

Southwest 8, East Central 7 (9 innings)

The Dragons (15-7, 1-1) won the District 28-5A contest over East Central (16-4, 1-1) on a bases-loaded hit from sophomore Caitlin Terrazas in the ninth inning Tuesday at East Central.

A three-run home run from Miranda Gonzales gave Southwest a 7-1 advantage through three innings. East Central wiped out the lead with a four-run sixth that included a three-run homer from Haydi Bugarin.

Southwest sent the game into extra innings with doubles from seniors Liz Phillips and Kayla Arguello in the seventh. Two walks and a single loaded the bases ahead of Terrazas’ game-winner.

The Dragons and Hornets were tied for second-place in 28-5A with South San and Corpus Christi Carroll. Steele was in first place with a 2-0 district record.

Highlands 14, Roosevelt 4

The Owls (6-7-1) put a close game out of reach with seven runs in the sixth inning Tuesday at Basse-McCullough Field.

Roosevelt (5-11) cut Highlands’ lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the second inning in the non-district game. The Owls scored three runs in the fourth, but the Roughriders were within three runs heading into the sixth.

Samantha Lopez was the winning pitcher for Highlands.

Harlandale 16, Memorial 1 (3 innings)

The Indians (8-10-1, 2-4) broke the District 29-4A game open with nine second-inning runs against Memorial (1-12, 0-6) Tuesday at Tiger Field.

Harlandale led 2-0 after an inning and added five in the third inning to invoke the 10-run rule. Memorial scored its run in the bottom of the third.

Indians pitcher Isabella Tellez held the Minutemen to four hits.

Brackenridge 15, Lanier 0 (4 innings)

The Eagles (11-7-1, 3-2) led from the outset for a District 29-4A win over Lanier (4-11, 0-5) Wednesday at Villarreal Field No. 2.

Brackenridge held a 3-1 edge in the third inning, when it manufactured a five-run inning. The Eagles added four runs in the fourth inning of the five-inning game.

Senior Allie Castillo drove in four runs and scored three for Brackenridge. Celeste Canales and Miranda Sandoval each drove in two runs. Freshman Jaclyn Rodriguez had two hits, including a double, and an RBI.

Eagles junior Alexis Berlanga allowed one earned run and struck out five.

Individual statistics for Lanier were unavailable.

Jefferson 18, Burbank 4 (5 innings)

The Mustangs (6-7, 2-3) managed to wring 18 runs out of seven hits in a District 29-4A win against Burbank (2-12-1, 0-5) Tuesday at Villarreal Field No. 1.

Jefferson scored four or more runs in three of the first four innings. The Mustangs pushed across seven runs in the third for their second-highest scoring output in district season. Burbank rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Pitcher Amber Maldonado allowed four hits for the Mustangs.

SOFTBALL: South San keeps faith for upset win over Southwest in 28-5A opener

Errors, walks plague Dragons in loss

Southwest had just put together one of the big innings the program is known for when South San coach Rosemary Morales decided her team needed a bit of inspiration, and perspective.

The Dragons, No. 4 in the Express-News area rankings, broke a 1-1 tie and built a four-run lead. South San, which hadn’t defeated perennial District 28-5A champion Southwest in at least seven years, had seen that type of rally many times in the past few years. This time, the Bobcats (9-6-1, 1-0) decided it wouldn’t crush them.

South San manufactured a six-run rally of its own and never trailed Southwest (14-7, 0-1) again. The Bobcats went on to a 13-8 victory last Thursday in the 28-5A opener for both teams at South San Field.

“The girls were probably doubting themselves, being down 5-1,” the second-year Bobcats coach said. “They were back to ‘everybody comes back and beats you.’

“That hit by Nikki (Velasquez) was so important. I told them, ‘Who says you can’t beat this team?’ “

An RBI single from No. 9 hitter Amanda Sanchez, a sacrifice fly by senior Liz Phillips and an RBI single from Kayla Arguello had staked Southwest to a 5-1 lead midway through the second inning.

Back-to-back, run-scoring doubles from Velasquez and freshman Alyssa Montes, who was the winning pitcher, enabled South San to respond with a six-run rally. Velasquez’s double to right field sent home two runs.

The Bobcats never trailed again.

“We’ve come together as a team,” Velasquez said. “We had our ups and downs at the beginning. Defense is something we’ve worked on.

“It’s exciting. We’ve come a long, long way. Winning our first district game is just the start of it.”

Southwest was within 10-8 in the top of the fifth. Pinch-hitter Krystal Flores delivered a two-run single to center field that closed the gap. South San pitcher Montes initiated a force out at third base on the previous at-bat and then recorded a strikeout to escape the threat.

A two-run double from senior Desirae Duncan in the bottom of the inning effectively put the game out of the Dragons’ reach. Southwest was hampered by four errors.

“That wasn’t the Southwest Dragons,” Southwest coach Sandra Hernandez said. “It wasn’t the same team. On the other hand, South San played really well.

“It was kind of a domino effect. Errors started it, then we had problems with our pitching, and after that we couldn’t hit.”

South San, behind freshman pitcher Montes, kept the Dragons in check over the last two innings to record arguably the biggest win in the program’s recent history.

“Our kids hadn’t been hitting like that,” Morales said. “That was the first time came out and hit all game long – and we had aggressive running on the bases.

“The girls knew the importance of these games, especially this one.”



BASEBALL: Harlandale’s youth movement pays dividends against Kennedy

Senior lefty Zach Perez blanks Rockets



The early season has been a baptism of fire for a sizable chunk of Harlandale’s roster, but the Indians’ youngsters seem to be getting the hang of varsity competition.

Harlandale (5-8, 1-2) has five freshmen and four sophomores who’ve been initiated into varsity play during the young season. Several of them made contributions last Thursday afternoon as Indians senior Zach Perez shut out Kennedy (5-7, 1-2) 5-0 at the Frank Tejeda Complex.

The Harlandale youngsters did the job offensively and defensively in support of the veteran left-hander, who limited the Rockets to six hits.

“They’re doing it all,” Harlandale coach Eric Forestier said of the underclassmen. “We had seniors on the mound, at first base and in right field. The rest are young.”

The Indians, who lost a heartbreaker in Floresville 4-3 Wednesday evening, only had four hits but made good use of them.

Freshman Robert Palomino singled and scored Harlandale’s first run in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Ramzey Martinez drew a walk and senior Brandon Ramon, in his fourth varsity season, reached base on an error behind him. Palomino scored on the error.

The Indians added to their total in the second with aggressive baserunning when Nathan Reyes was safe on a fielder’s choice and scored on an RBI single from freshman leadoff hitter Timothy Smith.

“We do put a lot of pressure on teams,” Forestier said. “I was glad we were able to bounce back, especially coming off a 4-3 loss to Floresville last night.

“We put the ball in play. Zach pitched well, and we executed today. That was the difference between today and last night.”

Trailing 2-0 after two innings, Kennedy already had squandered two of its three scoring opportunities.

Rockets Damon Lopez and Miguel Zamarripa were the game’s first two batters to the plate, and each delivered a single. They got no further than first place, as Perez picked off both of them in succession.

“That’s one of the few chances you get every now and then,” he said of the rare back-to-back pickoffs. “I saw the runners were way out, so I threw it, hoping to get them. They try to put the ball in play, and they hit really well. We made some good plays.”

Kennedy junior Isaiah Garcia led off the second with an infield single and advanced on Blade Alvarado’s sacrifice bunt. Garcia reached third on Jerry Raygoza’s grounder, but stalled there as Perez ended the threat with a strikeout.

“We made errors and we didn’t hit the ball,” Kennedy coach Erick Montes lamented. “And when we did get guys on base, they got picked (off). We worked on that yesterday. Our plan was to get a big lead but, as soon as they saw (Perez) pick up his feet, they were supposed to get back.

“Sometimes we look really good. And then, sometimes, we look like we’ve never played the game before. To have those two guys thrown out right away really hurt us.”

Harlandale batted around in the fourth and sent three runs across the plate.

Smith produced his second RBI single after Reyes reached base on an error. Another error put Christian Slocume on base, then Palomino was hit by a pitch.

A bases-loaded squeeze bunt by Martinez gave Harlandale a 4-0 cushion. Brandon Ramon singled, ach Perez drew his third walk of the game and freshman shortstop Joey Castaneda also walked. Eight consecutive Harlandale batters reached base.

“It feels good that I was able to get on base,” Perez said. “I helped myself out, too.”

The Indians scored their last run on an error. Despite its youth, Harlandale committed no errors.

“I think they got down on themselves because of the errors,” Montes said. “I think Harlandale only had one earned run. We’ve just been making too many errors, but all we do is work on defense and take batting practice.

“They played better than we did. The better team won today.”

Kennedy manufactured its best offensive opportunity in the fifth. Alvarado drew a leadoff walk and Raygoza followed with a double, sending the Rockets’ catcher to third base. However, Perez retired the next three batters in order to strand both runners in scoring position.

The Rockets produced a big win of their own six days earlier, defeating Uvalde 4-3 in eight innings.

“That was a big win,” Montes said. “The kids played well. They hit the ball and put the ball in play. We were up 4-0 and they made a comeback. We had a pop fly drop that would have been the third out.”

Perez knows he, Ramon and right fielder Alec Mendez have to set an example if Harlandale is to make up ground in the 29-4A race and qualify for the playoffs this year.

“I’ve got to be a team leader,” Perez said. “We have a lot of young freshman who are not used to high school ball. I’ve got to communicate and get them used to it.”

BASEBALL: Area rankings (thru March 19)

Through March 19

TOP 15:

1. East Central

2. McCollum

3. South San

4. Central Catholic

5. Southwest

6. Brackenridge

7. Burbank

8. Harlandale

9. Highlands

10. Southside

11. Kennedy

12. Holy Cross

13. Memorial

14. Edison

15. Jefferson

SOFTBALL: Area rankings (thru March 19)

Through March 19

TOP 15:

1. Southwest

2. East Central

3. Holy Cross

4. Brackenridge

5. South San

6. McCollum

7. Edison

8. Providence

9. Highlands

10. Jefferson

11. Harlandale

12. Kennedy

13. Lanier

14. Southside

15. Memorial

SOFTBALL WEEKEND REPORT: Harlandale holds off furious Rockets comeback

McCollum stays unbeaten in 29-4A, to face Medina Valley

TEAMS INCLUDEDHarlandale, Kennedy, McCollum.

Harlandale (7-10, 1-4) made a big splash early Thursday in a District 29-4A game, but had to grit its teeth while Kennedy (3-9, 1-4) did the same in the late innings.

Kennedy capitalized when Harlandale went to its bench and nearly wiped out a seven-run deficit over the last three innings at the Frank Tejeda Complex. The Indians added a key run in the sixth inning to escape with a 9-8 win.

“I wanted to get everybody in,” Harlandale coach Jennifer Bocanegra explained. “These girls all gave up their spring break to play softball, so I wanted to reward them for that. There was a lot of nervousness that came out. The girls I put in the outfield had a little bit of trouble.”

It was smooth sailing for the Indians early in the game. Leadoff hitter Maya Tovar sparked Harlandale to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings.

“We were doing what we do best – swinging away with the bats,” Bocanegra said. “The girl we have leading off, Maya Tovar, must have gone 3-for-4. She has really, really stepped up her offense this year. Maya won’t be a power hitter, but she’s gotten really good at being a contact hitter.”

With help from a two-run double by Amy Cerna, Kennedy rallied for six runs in the fifth after Harlandale gave some of its subs playing time. A hit batsman by Emily Otani and a walk to Chelsea Mendez with the bases loaded forced in runs.

With two out in the bottom of the sixth, Harlandale’s Breanna Heredia came home with an insurance run on a throwing error.

Harlandale has struggled with inexperience, but the Rockets are even greener. Kennedy is a very young team with just one senior and two juniors on the roster. The remaining players are underclassmen.

“We’re making some of the same mistakes,” Kennedy coach Chris Jackson said, “but we’re getting better. We improve a little bit every game. That’s all I can ask as a coach. We lost a lot from last year.”

The Indians lost 4-1 at Floresville the previous evening. A seventh-inning home run from Heredia accounted for Harlandale’s lone run.

“They played well,” Bocanegra said. “We made too many errors early on and dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of. They put the ball in play. We didn’t do our jobs at the beginning of the game. We took care of the errors and we were able to come back.”

Recognizing that the Indians need to keep making strides to have a chance at making the playoffs, Bocanegra is trying a new approach with her team.

“Now our goal is to rise to the challenge,” she said. “Every game I’m giving them a challenge every game. Today, it was to not let anything get by them (defensively) and to do the job offensively. Their goal is to take on the challenge and be successful.”

McCollum 5, Uvalde 4

The Cowboys (10-3, 5-0) prevailed in this battle of District 29-4A contenders Thursday at Uvalde (10-9, 3-2) and remained in a tie for first place in the district.

The teams were tied for three innings until McCollum scored in the top of the eighth. Cowboys junior pitcher Kim Abundis kept the Coyotes scoreless in the bottom of the inning.

McCollum shared first with Medina Valley (20-2, 5-0). The teams were scheduled to play Tuesday at the Tejeda complex.

BASEBALL WEEKEND REPORT: Win at Uvalde keeps Cowboys on track for 29-4A first-place showdown

South San claims third-straight win; Highlands edges Lanier

TEAMS INCLUDED:Brackenridge, Edison, Highlands, Holy Cross, Jefferson, McCollum, Sam Houston, Southside.

McCollum (12-2, 3-0) kept its undefeated streak alive in District 29-4A Thursday with a 5-1 win at Uvalde (4-8, 1-2).

The Cowboys remained in a first-place tie with Medina Valley (12-2, 3-0), which defeated Southside 14-0 Thursday. The Panthers will play McCollum at the Frank Tejeda Complex at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Medina Valley triumphed 4-0 at at the Southwest Tournament Feb. 27 in their first meeting this year.

Thursday, Uvalde scored its run in the second inning. McCollum tied it in the third, but neither team scored again until the seventh. Then the Cowboys manufactured a four-run rally in the top half of the inning and held Uvalde in the bottom portion for the win.

McCollum senior pitcher Jesse Medina limited the Coyotes to three hits.

South San 8, Wagner 1

The Bobcats (10-5) won their third-consecutive game Thursday, smashing Wagner (2-11-1) in a non-district contest at South San.

South San senior pitcher John Gamez held the Thunderbirds to three hits and a third-inning run to pick up the victory. Wagner’s lone run tied the game 1-1.

The Bobcats scored the winning runs in the bottom of the inning. South San added to its 3-1 lead with a run in the fourth and four in the fifth.

South San also defeated MacArthur 9-6 Wednesday.

Lanier 2, Highlands 1 (8 innings)

The Voks (4-9, 1-3) worked overtime Thursday to notch its first District 28-4A victory and ease the sting of two previous losses during the week. Lanier defeated Highlands (7-7, 3-1) at SAISD Field No. 1.

Lanier drew first blood, with a run in the top of the fourth inning. Highlands manufactured the run that eventually pushed the game into extra innings in the fifth.

The Voks won it in the top of the eighth and senior pitcher Hector DeHoyos finished off his five-hitter to record the win.

John Garza, Brian Laque and Javier Lopez all had two hits for the Voks. Nicholas Mojica and Jeremiah Esquivel supplied RBIs.

Brackenridge 8, Edison 5

Tristen Cortinas drove in three runs, leading the Eagles (6-7, 2-1) to a District 28-4A win over Edison (1-10, 1-2) Friday at SAISD Field No. 2. Brackenridge absorbed its first district loss 12-1 to Brennan Friday.

Like the Golden Bears’ softball team, Edison is getting better as the season wears on. It took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Brackenridge scored the next seven runs over four innings. Edison rallied for three runs in the sixth.

.Brayan Guerrero and Mario Roldan contributed two hits apiece for Brackenridge. Jongregory Gonzales scored two runs and drove in a run.

Jefferson 11, Sam Houston 1

Mustangs junior Dylan Rodriguez pitched a three-hit shutout, leading Jefferfson (3-11) to a non-district win Thursday against fellow SAISD school Sam Houston (1-8).

Jimmy Canela led the Mustangs with two hits and three RBIs at SAISD Field No. 1. Michael Avalos had a double and also drove in two runs. Cesar Carranza also doubled and drove in a run.

BASEBALL: This week’s results (updated March 22)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of March 16-22

Tuesday’s games

District 28-4A

Brackenridge (7-7, 3-1) 10, Jefferson (3-12, 1-3) 0

Edison (2-10, 2-2) 5, Burbank (3-12-1, 1-3) 4

District 29-4A

Harlandale (6-8, 2-2) 13, Memorial (4-10, 1-3) 0 (5 innings)

Southside (4-10, 1-3) 9, Kennedy (5-8, 1-3) 5

Medina Valley (12-4-1, 4-0) 7, McCollum (12-3, 3-1) 1

Floresville (9-5, 3-1) 6, Uvalde (4-9-1, 1-3) 5

District 28-3A

Somerset (10-6, 1-0) 3, Sam Houston (1-9, 0-1) 1

Pleasanton (7-5, 0-0) at Poteet (4-8, 0-0), 6:30 p.m. (score unavailable)


Antonian (15-4) 8, Lanier (4-9) 4

East Central (10-3-2) 6, Central Catholic (8-6 ???) 5

Holy Cross (4-9) 4, Marion (12-1) 3

Wednesday’s games

District 28-4A

Brennan (10-6-1, 4-1) 10, Highlands (7-9, 2-3) 0 (5 innings)

TAPPS District 2-5A

Central Catholic (10-7, 1-0) 10, St. Anthony (10-7, 0-2) 7

Friday’s games

District 28-5A

Corpus Christi Carroll (16-2, 1-0) 13, East Central (10-4-2, 0-1) 0 (5 innings)

Corpus Christi King (8-3 ???, 1-0) 11, Steele (10-8, 0-1) 0 (5 innings)

South San (11-5, 1-05, Southwest (7-6-1, 0-1) 4 (8 innings) 

District 28-4A

Brackenridge (8-7, 4-1) 10, Lanier (5-10, 2-3) 3

Brennan (11-6-1, 5-1) 22, Edison (2-11, 2-3) 2 (5 innings)

Burbank (4-12-1, 2-3) 5, Jefferson (3-13, 1-4) 2

District 29-4A

Medina Valley (13-4-1, 5-0) 10, Floresville (9-6, 3-2) 2

McCollum (13-3, 4-1) 11,  Kennedy (5-9, 1-4) 1

Memorial (5-10, 2-3) 7, Uvalde (4-11-1, 1-4) 5

Harlandale (7-8, 3-2), 15, Southside (4-11, 1-4) 1 (4 innings)

District 28-3A

La Vernia (14-3, 1-0), 17, Poteet (4-9 ???, 0-1 ???) 0 (5 innings)

Pleasanton (8-5 ???, 1-0 ???) 14, Sam Houston (1-10, 0-2) 5

TAPPS District 3-4A

Austin Hyde Park Baptist (???, ???) 13, Victoria St. Joseph (???, ???) 1

Holy Cross (5-9, 1-017, San Marcos Academy (0-3 ???, 0-1) 3 (5 innings) 

Saturday’s games

TAPPS District 2-5A

Austin St. Michael’s (2-2 ???, 1-0 ???) 6, Antonian (19-5, 2-1) 3

Central Catholic (11-8, 2-0) 8, Laredo St. Augustine (0-2 ???, 0-1 ???) 0

TAPPS District 3-4A

Austin Dominic Savio (???, ???) 5, Cornerstone Christian (1-4 ???, 0-1 ???) 0

Austin Regents (2-0 ???, 1-0) 12, TMI (13-10 ???, 0-1) 3

SOFTBALL: This week’s results (updated March 22)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of March 16-22

Monday’s games


Holy Cross (15-7) 7, Antonian (15-6) 3

Tuesday’s games

District 28-5A

Corpus Christi Carroll (5-2 ???, 1-1) 5, Corpus Christi King (0-2 ???, 0-2) 0

Southwest (15-7, 1-1), 8, East Central (16-4, 1-1) 7 (9 innings)

Steele (14-6, 2-0) 7, South San (9-7-1, 1-1) 1

District 28-4A

Brennan (15-3, 6-0) 4, Edison (5-11, 4-1) 2

Jefferson (6-7, 2-3) 18, Burbank (2-12-1 ???, 0-5) 4 (5 innings)

Brackenridge (11-7-1, 3-2) 15Lanier (4-11, 0-5) 0 (4 innings)

District 29-4A

Harlandale (8-10-1, 2-4) 16, Memorial (1-12, 0-6) 1 (3 innings)

Kennedy (4-9, 2-4) 14, Southside (4-14, 1-5) 2 (6 innings)

Medina Valley (21-2, 6-0) 3, McCollum (9-4, 5-1) 0

Uvalde (10-9, 4-2) 9, Floresville (10-10, 4-2) 8

District 28-3A

Hawkins (0-3 ???, 0-1 ???) at La Vernia (10-10, 1-0), 6 p.m. (score unavailable)

Pleasanton (13-5, 1-1) 13, Poteet (0-2 ???, 0-1 ???)  2 (5 innings)

Somerset (6-2 ???, 1-0 ???) 16, Sam Houston (1-10, 1-1) 0 (3 innings)

TAPPS District 3-4A

Holy Cross (16-7, 2-0) 5, Corpus Christi Incarnate Word (???, ???) 0


Highlands (6-7-1) 14, Roosevelt (5-11) 4

Thursday’s games

TAPPS District 3-4A

Holy Cross (17-7-1, 3-0) 17, TMI (2-6 ???, 0-1 ???) 1 (5 innings)

Friday’s games

District 28-5A

Southwest (18-7, 2-1), 2, Corpus Christi Carroll (16-4 ???, 1-2) 1

South San (10-8-1, 2-1) 4, Corpus Christi King (10-16, 0-3) 3 

East Central (17-4, 2-1) 7, Steele (14-7, 2-1) 3

District 28-4A

Brackenridge (12-7-1, 4-2) 6, Highlands (6-8-1, 3-3) 1

Lanier (5-11, 1-5) 19, Burbank (2-14-1, 0-6) 4 (3 innings)

Edison (6-11, 5-1) 20, Jefferson (6-8, 2-4) 3 (6 innings)

District 29-4A

Medina Valley (23-2, 7-0) 10, Floresville (10-11, 4-3) 2

McCollum (11-4, 6-1) 17, Kennedy (4-10, 2-5) 0

Uvalde (12-9, 5-2) 11, Memorial (1-13, 0-7) 1.

Harlandale (9-10-1, 3-4) 15, Southside (4-15, 1-6) 1 (4 innings)

District 28-3A

Somerset (15-4 ???, 3-0) 17, Hawkins (0-4 ???, 0-2 ???) 0

Poteet (2-5 ???, 0-2) at La Vernia (10-11 ???, 1-0 ???), 7 p.m. (score unavailable)

Pleasanton (14-5, 2-1) 15, Sam Houston (1-11, 1-2) 0 (3 innings)

TAPPS District 2-5A

Corpus Christi John Paul II (???, ???) vs. Providence (4-3 ???, 1-0 ???) at Mission Concepcion Sports Park, 6 p.m. (score unavailable)

Incarnate Word (12-18, 2-0) 11, St. Anthony (7-9-1, 1-2) 2

TAPPS District 3-4A

Holy Cross (18-7-1, 4-0) 17, Cornerstone Christian (2-5 ???, 0-1) 2 (3 innings)

Saturday’s games

TAPPS District 2-5A

Corpus Christi John Paul II (???, ???) at Antonian (16-7 ???, 0-1 ???), 1 p.m. (score unavailable)