BASEBALL: Harlandale holds off late Sam Houston rally

Cowboys stretch 28-5A lead

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank, Harlandale, Lanier, McCollum, Sam Houston.




There’s no question that Harlandale and Sam Houston are two of the emerging teams in District 28-5A. What’s been surprising is how fast the process is occurring.

Those things considered, though, there still was the open question of which would emerge victorious when they met March 24 on SAISD Field No. 1.

It remained open until the final out was recorded, although Harlandale (8-4-1, 6-1) tallied the winning runs in the sixth inning. Three Indians errors left the door open for the Hurricanes (8-6, 4-4) to make the final score 5-4.

“We did execute well,” said Harlandale coach Eric Forestier, who has no senior starters. “We did some good things offensively. The problem was defense. Even though they’re young, we still have to finish ballgames.”

Second-place Harlandale stunned third-place Burbank (7-6, 5-2) 11-1 March 27 at the Tejeda Complex. The Indians took a four-game winning streak into a March 30 showdown with its rival, district-leading McCollum (7-5, 7-0).

“We obviously did a lot better against Burbank,” Forestier said. “We still had a couple of errors, but we put the ball in play and scored runs.”

It was the Hurricanes’ second one-run district loss in a three-game span.

However, Sam Houston also used the game as a springboard. The Hurricanes finally had some breathing room March 27 in a 9-4 win over Lanier (2-11, 1-6) that concluded the first half of the 28-5A season.

“We’re just trying to take care of our business,” said 11th year Sam Houston coach Melton Schultz, whose team was 1-18 last year. “The kids have come a long way. They believe in themselves.”

Harlandale employed a combination of a key bunt and three base hits in the sixth to reinforce its 3-2 lead.

Base hits from freshman Shawn Tober and Richard Acosta started the rally. Indians freshman Jeremy Rocha did the damage with a two-run single.

Donny Campos was hit by a pitch and Taveon Jones placed a single just inside the first-base line in the Sam Houston seventh. Both scored. St. Gerard transfer Thomas Jones, one of four brothers from the family on the Hurricanes, was safe on an error and reached third base before Harlandale extinguished the threat.

“The big thing is that these kids have made this team a family,” Schultz said. “That’s all because of the kids. They played in summer leagues and played in a winter league this year. From all those extra games, they’ve gained experience and (knowledge) of the game.”

Sam Houston scored in the first inning on an RBI single from Brandon Jones, the team’s third-consecutive hit. The Indians tied it in the second on Acosta’s RBI ground out.

A safety squeeze from Christian Slocume – who also gave Harlandale the lead with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly – put the Indians ahead 2-1. Sam Houston tied it again in the third when Thomas Jones singled and scored on an error.

“I think we’re OK with pitching,” Forestier said. “The key against Burbank is we only gave up one walk. We made them put the ball in play – no free rides.”

In the Indians’ win over Burbank, Harlandale assembled a four-run third inning that assured the win. Burbank had had pulled within 2-1 in the top of the inning. The Indians pushed across five more runs in the fourth.

Tober pitched his second win of the week for Harlandale.

Timothy Smith went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Indians. Rocha was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Nathan Reyes drove in two runs.

Against Lanier, Sam Houston broke the game open with a six-run third inning. Robert Medina and Rudy Lopez hit home runs for the Hurricanes. Nicholas Mojica homered for the Voks.

The Hurricanes have built off a runner-up finish at the Edgewood ISD Tournament in the early stages of the season. After struggling with numbers in recent seasons, Sam Houston currently has a robust 40 players in the program

“The biggest thing that’s making a difference is that they played in the summer league and they even played in a winter league this year,” Schultz said. “All those extra games have given them experience and (knowledge) of the game.”


The Cowboys maintained their 28-5A lead with three wins between March 23 and March 27.

McCollum finished the week with a 26-0 win over Edison (2-12, 0-7) at SAISD Field No. 1. The Cowboys, who have scored 10 or more runs in six district games, edged Brackenridge (7-7, 3-4) 6-3 March 23 and Highlands (7-4, 5-2) 13-11 March 24.

Against Brackenridge on Field No. 1, McCollum scored four runs in the first two innings but had to stave off a three-run rally by the Eagles in the seventh. Hector Arevalo was the winning pitcher.

At Tejeda Field, Highlands established a 10-2 lead midway through the third inning. The Cowboys closed within 10-6 in the bottom of the inning. They trailed by the same margin, until scoring five runs in the sixth.

Ralph Ramirez led McCollum with three triples and six RBIs. Anthony Blackburn contributed three hits and three RBIs. A.J. Vasquez produced two RBIs.

Bryan Aguilar, Alex Esqueda and David Perez drove in two runs apiece for the Owls.

SOFTBALL: Kennedy takes testing break after productive week

Cerda leads Rockets to win over rival Memorial

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Kennedy, Memorial.


Kennedy is taking some time off for good behavior this week.

Of course, that time off is scheduled and really is independent of the fact that the Rockets (2-10-1, 1-8) have been competing well in recent District 27-5A games. However, that doesn’t mean it’s any less welcome after Kennedy played four times last week.

“They need some time off to recuperate,” first-year Kennedy coach Kim Fernandez said. “That was a lot for the girls to take in. I’m giving them Monday (March 30) off to rejuvenate their bodies and get ready for Thursday.”

The Rockets were scheduled for a 7 p.m. 27-5A game Thursday, April 2 at Kerrville Tivy (4-9, 4-4).

“After three straight home games,” Fernandez said, “it will be nice to travel and get some things done on the way.”

Kennedy began its jam-packed week with a 10-0 loss to Seguin (6-6, 5-3) March 22. The Rockets returned to Edgewood Field No. 2 to defeat archrival Memorial (0-14, 0-9) 16-1 a day later. Kennedy also had a busy weekend, absorbing a tough 5-1 loss to Alamo Heights (5-11, 3-6) March 27 and a 10-0 loss to Floresville (11-4, 5-4) March 28.

“They’ve played pretty well up to a certain point,” Fernandez said of her team. “Then they kind of break down. They’ve been through a lot the last few years, with changing coaches. At this point, I’m really trying to build their confidence.”

The win over Memorial was the first in Kennedy’s district schedule. Sophomore Amy Cerda was the winning pitcher.

“Amy did really well. It was a commanding performance and she gave it her all,” Fernandez said. “The girls did really well, capitalizing on (Memorial’s) mistakes. That was one of the the things we really practiced, what to do when we got runners on base.”

Cerda has been the Rockets’ catalyst. In addition to shouldering all Kennedy’s starts, she also carries the team’s highest batting average. Cerda is in her second season as the team’s ace pitcher.

“Amy’s a very good asset to our team,” Fernandez said. “She has a lot of different pitches this year. We’re working on a screwball. She has good overall pitching skills and good knowledge of the game. And she also has a really good stick.”

Cerda provided two hits and junior second baseman Taylor Martinez drove in Kennedy’s run against Alamo Heights. The RBI triple, which followed base hits from Cerda and Chelsea Mendez, gave the Rockets a 1-0 advantage in the opening inning. The Mules took charge with three runs in the second.

Kennedy transferred its momentum from the Memorial win over to the Alamo Heights game.

“It really did give us confidence in ourselves,” Fernandez said. “We played Memorial very hard and very strong.”

Fernandez coached McCollum from 2007 to 2010. She’s also was a first-year volleyball coach for Kennedy this fall.

She appreciates her team’s close-knit atmosphere. The Rockets have 11 juniors, two seniors and two freshmen.

“They really have been playing together for a long time,” Fernandez said.

SOFTBALL: One swing of Terrazas’ bat delivers Dragons win

Grand slam helps Southwest overcome solid outing from Montes

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: South San, Southwest.



South San pitcher Alyssa Montes was in control during the early innings March 27 at Southwest.

Montes didn’t allow a hit through the first three innings.Then the Dragons (16-6, 2-1) demonstrated why they’ve been one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the metro area over the last several seasons.

A pair of walks to Southwest’s Caitlin Terrazas changed the game. Terrazas drew a walk on five pitches in the fourth inning. When Terrazas waited out two more pitches outside the strike zone in her next at-bat, the Dragons standout uncorked a grand-slam home run that provided the impetus for an 8-5 District 28-6A win.

“I knew she was going to pitch me outside,” the junior pitcher said. “I was determined that if she got a pitch up, I was going to jump on it. That’s what happened.”

South San (12-6, 0-3), which has opened district play with three tough losses, scratched out a run in its first at-bat. Bobcats shortstop Amanda Vallejo manufactured the run from a leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt by Tara Salazar and two wild pitches.

Montes retired the first 11 Dragons batters in order to preserve the shutout.

“Alyssa has been battling,” South San coach Ray Castillo said. “She’s always looking forward to the next challenger. She’s always looking to give a better performance.”

Following Terrazas’ two-out walk in the fourth, Miranda Gonzales sent the game’s first hit to center field. Then senior third baseman Yanira Fernandez found the left-center field gap for a two-run single.

“YaYa always comes through for us,” Southwest coach Sandy Hernandez said. “She must love that No. 6 spot (in the lineup).”

South San couldn’t regain the lead, despite a last-inning uprising.

After the first-inning run, Terrazas retired the next 10 of the next 11 Bobcats. The lone baserunner was caught stealing by Southwest catcher Juliana Cerda.

Southwest set the table for Terrazas in the fifth with a walk to Deja Tapia and Isabel Soto’s infield single.

“It’s tough, because we kept it close for a while,” Castillo said. “What can you say about a phenomenal player like (Terrazas)?”

Terrazas didn’t allow a hit until the second batter in South San’s half of the sixth. Montes hit a drive to straightaway center field for a solo home run and the Dragons’ lead was slashed to 6-1.

Southwest used base hits from Cerda and Soto (2-for-3) out of the bottom half of the order to make it 8-1 in the sixth.

The insurance runs almost came into play. South San pushed across three runs in the seventh without picking up its third hit. Rebekah Ricondo, Andrea Ricondo and Brooke Flores touched the plate after drawing walks. Vallejo added a sacrifice fly.

“My girls played well,” Castillo said. “They’re very young. We just need to continue improving every week. We need to keep fighting and take advantage of opportunities.”

The Dragons got back on track after losing to East Central March 24.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Terrazas said of Southwest’s 23rd softball team. “We understand that we have to work hard and utilize the talent we do have. We have to play to the best of our ability every game.”

SOFTBALL: Quinones powers Edison’s offense, fills vital defensive role

Golden Bears, Harlandale put up big numbers

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Burbank, Edison, Harlandale, Sam Houston.


Four years on Edison’s varsity have made Marisela Quinones appreciate the importance of making sacrifices for the team.

Quinones, therefore, made the difficult switch from catcher to shortstop recently. The move was necessitated by a high ankle sprain injury to senior shortstop Denise Cruz March 11 in a 6-5 loss to Lanier.

In her second start in the middle of the diamond, Quinones supplied three RBIs with a 4-for-4 plate performance as the Golden Bears (10-6, 4-2) crunched Burbank (1-12, 1-5) 20-0 March 17 at Mary Ann Villarreal Complex Field No. 2.

“I’m going to miss catching,” Quinones said, “but the team needed me to come out into the field. Coming from my freshman year, we had a great group of girls. I learned a lot from them.”

Cruz was expected to miss two more weeks of competition.

“Denise is a big part of the offense and defense,” Edison coach Aimee Silva said. “We’ve had to move some things around. Mari’s filling the gap. She hasn’t been playing there at all this year, so she’s a little rusty.”

Edison’s outburst against Burbank was its second-consecutive, 20 or more run 28-5A game. The Bears smacked Sam Houston 21-2 March 12.

However, it’s bats seemed a little rusty in the first inning as Burbank pitcher Celeste Salazar retired three of the four batters she faced. That changed in the second inning, when Edison senior pitcher Amaryllis Northstein drew a walk and advanced on Destiny McCarty’s seeing-eye single.

The Golden Bears’ first run scored on a wild pitch. Destiny Hernandez (3-for-4, 3 RBIs) provided an RBI single and a Bulldogs error made it 3-0. Quinones drilled a two-run single and Alex Almanza (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) followed with a run-scoring hit. Destiny McCarty (3-for-3, RBI)and Miranda Campos drove in runs before Burbank got the third out.

“It’s been a while since we’ve had this,” Quinones said of the big inning. “It was great coming back after a week off.”

A ground out from Almanza and the first of two doubles from catcher Isabel Lopez (3-for-4, 3 RBIs) increased Edison’s lead to 8-0 in the third.

“Isabel’s a big part of our lineup,” Silva said. “That was a plus.”

Burbank only mustered two hits against Nothstein (10-6), but managed to put nine runners on base in the shutout.

The Bulldogs mounted their best threat in the bottom of the inning. Sophie Sanchez led off and was safe on an error. With two outs, a single by Salazar sent Sanchez to third, but Nothstein got an inning-ending strikeout.

Quinones forced out two runners at second base in the first inning to help keep the Bulldogs scoreless.

“I’m trying to look really comfortable out there,” Quinones said. “I didn’t want to look jittery for my teammates.”

Edison, which hammered 18 hits, applied the finishing touches to the game in the fourth. A pair of Burbank errors factored into the eight-run rally.

Lopez drove in two runs. Alyssa Gutierrrez, Hernandez and Quinones also collected RBIs.

“(Hitting) has been our weakness we’re trying to (improve),” Silva said. “We’re still doing things we shouldn’t be doing, but we’re working and competing.”

Harlandale 28, Sam Houston 0

The Indians (5-7-2, 4-2), who share third place with Edison, scored 18 first-inning runs as Isabella Tellez pitched a no-hitter against Sam Houston (0-12, 0-7) in a District 28-5A win March 17 at SAISD Field No. 2.

Harlandale added seven runs in the second frame of the three-inning contest. Maya Tovar (double) drove in five runs, while Bryanna Heredia (triple) and Katalyna Trevino (double, triple) had four RBIs apiece. Nadia Dominguez added two doubles, a triple and three RBIs.

BASEBALL: This week’s results (thru March 28)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of March 22-28

Monday’s games

District 27-5A

Lockhart 13, Kennedy 3

Seguin 5, Floresville 4 (8 innings)

District 28-5A

Burbank 8, Highlands 2

Harlandale 13, Lanier 0

McCollum 6, Brackenridge 3

Sam Houston 11, Edison 5

Tuesday’s games

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights 10, Floresville 0 (5 innings)

Boerne Champion 3,San Marcos 2 (9 innings)

Kerrville Tivy 19, Memorial 0 (5 innings)

Seguin 12, Kennedy

District 28-5A

Brackenridge 6, Jefferson 2

Burbank 15, Edison 3 (5 innings)

McCollum 13, Highlands 11

Harlandale 5, Sam Houston 4

District 29-5A

Eagle Pass Winn 5, Laredo Martin 0

Medina Valley 14, Southside 0 (5 innings)

Uvalde 11, Somerset 1

Laredo Nixon 2, Laredo Cigarroa 1


Holy Cross 11, Corpus Christi John Paul II 10

Victoria St. Joseph 14, Laredo St. Augustine 1 (5 innings)

Cornerstone Christian 3, TMI 2


Antonian 6, South San 3

MacArthur 16, Southwest 2

East Central 8, Central Catholic 6

Wednesday’s games

District 27-5A

Boerne Champion 2, Lockhart 1

Floresville 12, Memorial 0 (5 innings)
San Marcos 11, Kennedy 1 (5 innings)


Antonian 12, St. Anthony 2

Thursday’s games

No games scheduled

Friday’s games

District 28-6A

Corpus Christi Ray 7, South San 0

Corpus Christi Carroll 8, East Central 4

Corpus Christi King 2, Southwest 1 (9 innings)

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights 6, Kerrville Tivy 3

Kennedy 10, Memorial 0 (6 innings)

Boerne Champion 10, Seguin 1

San Marcos 8, Lockhart 2

District 28-5A

Sam Houston 9, Lanier 4

Highlands 9, Jefferson 7

Harlandale 11, Burbank 1 (5 innings)

McCollum 26, Edison 0 (5 innings)

District 29-5A

Medina Valley 4, Laredo Martin 3

Laredo Cigarroa 6, Somerset 5

Laredo Nixon 4, Uvalde 0

Southside at Eagle Pass Winn (score unavailable)


Victoria St. Joseph 3, San Antonio Christian 0


Johnson 17, Central Catholic 6

Saturday’s games


Antonian 30-20, Brownsville St. Joseph 0-0 (both games 5 innings)


Holy Cross 7, Cornerstone Christian 1

TMI 10, Laredo St. Augustine 0


South San 8, Wagner 5

SOFTBALL: This week’s results (thru March 28)

NOTE: teams we cover are in boldface

Games of March 22-28

Monday’s games

District 28-6A

Southwest 7, Corpus Christi King 4

District 27-5A

Floresville 9, Alamo Heights 5

San Marcos 3, Boerne Champion 0

Seguin 10, Kennedy 0 (6 innings)

District 28-5A

Brackenridge 14, Highlands 4 (6 innings)

Harlandale 16, Burbank 0 (3 innings)

McCollum 11, Edison 1

Lanier 19, Sam Houston 2 (3 innings)


TMI 15, San Antonio Christian 0

Tuesday’s games

District 28-6A

Corpus Christi Carroll 3, Corpus Christi Ray 1

East Central 4, Southwest 2

Corpus Christi King 13, South San 8

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights 6, Kerrville Tivy 5

Seguin 3, Boerne Champion 1

Kennedy 16, Memorial 1

San Marcos 7, Lockhart 1

District 28-5A

Edison 16, Jefferson 0 (3 innings)

Lanier 15, Burbank 4 (5 innings)

McCollum 8, Harlandale 6

District 29-5A

Laredo Cigarroa 8, Southside 3

Somerset 6, Eagle Pass Winn 0

Medina Valley 8, Uvalde 1

Laredo Nixon 10, Laredo Martin 0

District 26-3A

Natalia 25, Cole 0 (3 innings)

Marion 14, Brooks Academy 0 (5 innings)


Corpus Christi John Paul II 7, Holy Cross 5

TMI 7, Cornerstone Christian 5

Corpus Christi Incarnate Word 15, San Antonio Christian 0


St. Anthony 22, Sam Houston 0 (3 innings)

Wednesday’s games

District 28-5A

Highlands 19, Jefferson 9 (6 innings)

Thursday’s games


Incarnate Word 14, Holy Cross 4

Friday’s games

District 28-6A

East Central 8, Corpus Christi Ray 2

Southwest 8, South San 5 

District 27-5A

Alamo Heights 5, Kennedy 1

Floresville 9, Kerrville Tivy 1

Boerne Champion 16, Memorial 0

Seguin at Lockhart (score unavailable)

District 28-5A

Sam Houston at Burbank (score unavailable)

Brackenridge 9, Edison 6

Harlandale 10, Jefferson 7

McCollum 12, Lanier 0 (5 innings)

District 29-5A

Eagle Pass Winn at Southside (score unavailable)

Somerset 15, Laredo Nixon 0 (3 innings)

Medina Valley 13, Laredo Cigarroa 2 (5 innings)

Uvalde 15, Laredo Martin 0 (4 innings)

District 26-3A

Randolph 18, Cole 1 (3 innings)

Natalia 19, Brooks Academy 2 (3 innings)


Holy Cross, 14, Cornerstone Christian 3 (5 innings)

Saturday’s games

District 28-6A

Corpus Christi Carroll 9, Corpus Christi King 2

District 27-5A

Boerne Champion 6, Alamo Heights 5

Floresville 10, Kennedy 0

Lockhart 27, Memorial 0 (3 innings)

San Marcos 7, Seguin 1

District 26-3A

Natalia 5, Marion 4


Victoria St. Joseph 10, TMI 2

Corpus Christi Incarnate Word 5, Corpus Christi John Paul II 3

Victoria St. Joseph 27, San Antonio Christian 2

BASEBALL: Highlands finds youthfulness isn’t a drawback

Owls hold off Hurricanes for key 28-5A win

AREA TEAMS INCLUDED: Highlands, Sam Houston.



Inexperience often is cited as a cause for teams that struggle, and it’s usually legitimately responsible. Highlands is showing that it doesn’t have to be a drawback.

The Owls (6-2-1, 4-0) have risen to the District 28-5A lead, which they shared with McCollum (4-5, 4-0) heading into their March 24 showdown. Having five freshmen and four sophomores on their 12-man roster hasn’t gotten in the way of contending for the district title so far.

“I knew they were going to be young, but I saw a lot of talent coming up,” Highlands coach Stephen Jauregui said. “I’m trying to teach them to do the little things the right way and just be competitive. We don’t talk about winning. We talk about the keys to success and process to being successful.”

Highlands won a tough battle, 5-4, over the district’s other surprise team, Sam Houston (6-5, 2-3), March 17 at SAISD Field No. 1. Sophomore pitcher Bryan Aguilar stranded two runners on base, squelching a would-be, seventh-inning rally from the Hurricanes.

“Sam Houston was really competitive, right from the get-go,” Jauregui said. “They came out with a lot of intensity. I told the kids to keep fighting and find a way to win each inning.”

Highlands scored twice in the first inning and had established a 4-0 lead before the Hurricanes notched their initial run. The Owls recorded the winning run in the top of the fifth and clung to a 5-3 advantage after Sam Houston scored two in the bottom of the inning.

“Sam Houston intentionally walked our leadoff guy, so we wanted to be aggressive,” Jauregui said. “We had a bunt-and-run going, so we got the runner down to second. We tried to come out and put a lot of pressure on them right away.

“We tried to catch them off guard a little bit. I don’t think we had any big hits, we just moved runners along the basepaths.”

Aguilar finshed with 13 strikeouts in Highlands’ only game of the week. A scheduled game against third-place Burbank (5-5, 3-1) was postponed to March 23.

“Bryan threw a complete game and ended the game on a pickoff play,” Jauregui said. “He had some arm issues last year and only pitched two games. This year, our expectations were high and he’s done well.”

The Owls have been receiving contributions up and down the roster. Jauregui said his challenge has been to keep his young team’s momentum intact with rain making their competition opportunities sporadic.

The rains left Highlands with three games in the week that ends Friday, Sept. 27 against Jefferson (2-8, 1-4) in a 6 p.m. contest on SAISD Field No. 2

“It’s probably our biggest week of the season,” Jauregui said. “Burbank’s a great team that’s hitting really well. McCollum has two great pitchers and they can hit the ball as well. We’ll just try to go out there and be competitive.”

BASEBALL: East Central stays focused, completes Roosevelt trifecta

Hornets beat rain to take momentum into district play




Coaches loathe playing the same team three times in a season, let alone little more than a week.

That’s the challenge East Central (8-3) was presented with March 20 in a game moved up an hour to finish just ahead of a slowly advancing rainstorm. Mother Nature placed that distraction squarely in the Hornets’ path, but they still wouldn’t bite.

With the exception of one half-inning their concentration remained on the task at hand and the Hornets completed the trifecta. They downed Roosevelt for the third time in nine days, 10-3. Each of the games took place on East Central’s home field.

“It was very difficult, after we were very competitive with them the first two times,” East Central coach Joe Gutierrez said. “One of the things we talked about was focusing on one pitch and one play at a time.

“We try to concentrate on what we need to work on with our team. You’re going to make mistakes, but it’s a matter of how you respond.”

The Hornets defeated Roosevelt 11-1 March 11 and 3-0 March 12 in the opening games of the East Central Tournament. They won four of five games in the tournament, but took a two-game losing streak into their next meeting with the Roughriders.

Roosevelt (0-9) trailed 6-0 after five innings — as East Central freshman pitcher Blade Strzelczyk allowed no hits or baserunners through four – but threw a scare into the Hornets in the top of the sixth. The Roughriders crept within three by capitalizing on a Hornets error and run-scoring hits from Joey Castaneda and Brennan Boykin.

“We got some timely hits at the right time,” Gutierrez said. “That’s part of the game. We told them, ‘Let’s get those runs back,’ and they responded.”

East Central junior Justin Upshaw-Mendoza, who reached base in each of his four plate appearances. drew a walk that began the rally. Carlos Gallegos beat out an infield single and Joseph Gutierrez (2-for-4) lined a base hit to right field, loading the bases.

Strzelczyk’s fourth walk forced in a run. Shortstop Jeremy Almaguer (3 RBIs) crushed a two-run double and Kyle Wildman singled to make it 10-3.

“We already knew how the competition was going to be,” Upshaw-Mendoza said. “We just needed to come out here and play.”

The Hornets took the lead with two runs in the second inning, as Gutierrez contributed the only hit. Upshaw-Mendoza drew the first of four East Central walks in the third and scored on a passed ball for a 3-0 lead. The Hornets also pushed across a run in the fourth without generating one of its seven hits.

East Central scored twice in the fifth. Tristan Alvarado scored the first run on an error and Fernando Luna (2-for-5) made it 6-0 with an RBI single.

“We have to find a way to score before the big hits come,” Gutierrez said. “We want them to come at the right time and bring in a run.”

Hornets pitchers Strzelczyk, Jacob Guerra and Wildman combined to limit Roosevelt to three hits.

“I think we’re coming together as a team and playing as one,” Upshaw-Mendoza said. “We’ve been playing well. We’re playing for each other. We have a really strong bullpen, and we’re competing well on the mound.”

East Central, which has four seniors and seven juniors, begins District 28-6A play when they play host to Corpus Christi Carroll Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m. The Tigers (10-0-1) are No. 7 in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association Class 6A state rankings.

With most of its players benefitting from at least one year of varsity experience, the Hornets are aiming for a better run through the tough district. East Central finished 13-10-2 overall and 3-7 in the district.

“We have high expectations,” Gutierrez said. “Our pitching is good. If we can get runners on base and move them over, that goes a long way.”

BASEBALL: Holy Cross begins new chapter with win over TMI

Knights avenge one-run losses in 2013 and 2014




Holy Cross lifted a weight off its back in collecting its first district win.

Texas Military Institute has been a roadblock to the Knights (7-5, 1-0) in district play. However, March14 at Holy Cross, the host team used a five-run third inning to down the Panthers (4-5, 0-1) in their TAPPS District 4-4A opener.

“It’s really important,” Holy Cross senior Jeremy Martinez said. “It shows our hard work is paying off, to come out and get a win. We had lost to them two years in a row by one run. My sophomore year, we lost to them when we had a chance to go to the playoffs.”

The victory brought a satisfying closure to a spring break week that began with 21-3 and 11-1 losses in a March 12 doubleheader against powerful Antonian. The Knights rebounded to vanquish Cotulla 17-5 at home on March 14.

Holy Cross has high hopes for its district season, with 10 experienced seniors on its roster. The Knights were 6-17 overall and 1-8 in district last year.

“I’ve had these kids for four years and they’ve been through a lot,” Knights coach Polo Botello said. “I’m looking forward to this season and they’re playing together as a team. In 22 years of coaching, I’ve never had this many seniors.”

Holy Cross senior shortstop Chris Rodriguez sparked the Knights’ first rally by reaching base on an error. Following a single from Ricky Robles, he scored on a groundout from fellow senior Steven Villela.

The run held up until the third inning, when freshman left-hander Jaime Ramirez ran into trouble as he reached his pitch limit. The Panthers strung together three walks and cleanup hitter David Embs delivered a two-run single. It was the only hit the lefty allowed, although Rodriguez prevented another with diving catch of a sinking liner in the second.

“He doesn’t pitch like a freshman,” Botello said. “He has a lot of poise. But he was at 55 pitches, and we’ve got plenty of arms.”

Ramirez turned the ball over to junior Augie Gutierrez, who allowed one hit over the next three innings. Martinez, whose 2014 season ended early because of an elbow injury, retired TMI in order in the seventh.

“We’re starting out with him in a relief role,” Botello said. “Right now, we’re closing with him. We’re hoping he’ll pitch in college. He has all the tools and he’s ready to go now.”

Holy Cross put the game out of the Panthers’ reach in the fifth.

Ramirez (2-for-2, RBI) led off the inning with a single that hugged the right-field line. Villela picked up another RBI with a ground out. Martinez, who hit a long fly out in his first at-bat, gave the Knights a 3-2 lead with a single to center.

“I felt like I was seeing the ball a lot better,” Martinez said. “Last game, I had some rough at-bats.

“It certainly helps when your teammates are coming up and hitting the ball.”

Gutierrez helped his cause with an RBI double. Gus Aguirre punctuated the rally with a two-run double over the right fielder’s head for a 6-2 lead.

Holy Cross added a run in the seventh when Ramirez drove in substitute Phillip Juarez, who had singled. The Knights made the most of their seven hits.

The roots of the victory might be traced back to a victory at state-ranked Class 3A Marion last year.

“It showed we were capable of beating big teams,” Martinez said.

BASEBALL: Area rankings (thru March 21)

Through March 21


TOP 15:


Rank-Team-Last week

1. Southwest – 1

2. East Central – 2

3. Central Catholic – 3

4. McCollum – 4

5. Highlands – 5

6. Burbank – 6

7. Sam Houston – 7

8. Harlandale – 8

9. Holy Cross – 9

10. Kennedy – 11

11. Brackenridge – 10

12. South San – 12

13. Jefferson – 13

14. Lanier – 14

15. Edison – 15


NR = not ranked

SOFTBALL: Area rankings (thru March 21)

Through March 21


TOP 15:


Rank-Team-Last week

1. Southwest – 2

2. East Central – 1

3. McCollum – 4

4. South San – 3

5. Brackenridge – 5

6. Holy Cross – 6

7. Edison – 7

8. Harlandale – 8

9. Lanier – 9

10. Highlands – 10

11. Jefferson – 11

12. Kennedy – 13

13. Southside – 12

14. Burbank – 14

15. Memorial – NR


NR = not ranked