For a team like San Marcos, one run isn’t that big of a deficit.
Once an opposing team’s lead creeps north of four runs, the Lady Rattlers run into trouble. San Marcos doesn’t have too many big bats, forcing Cathy Stoughton’s team to claw its way back hit by hit.
When the Lady Rattlers fell behind by nine runs Friday night in their District 25-5A opener against perennial power Smithson Valley, they knew trouble was on its way. San Marcos never recovered and was run-ruled, 12-1, in five innings.
“We just couldn’t climb out of the hole,” Stoughton said. “When you get into a deficit like that and all of a sudden, it takes away playing the short game and moving runners around. There’s a little bit more urgency.”
Outside of a disastrous first inning, which Stoughton called “…probably our worst inning of the season,” the Lady Rattlers went toe-to-toe with the Lady Rangers, who won the Class 4A state championship last year.
“We have the ability to beat them and they have that aura because of what they accomplished in the past and what they accomplished last year,” Stoughton said. “I don’t really think the girls were intimidated tonight.”
San Marcos ran into trouble out of the gate when freshman pitcher Victoria Vasquez walked the bases loaded with no outs. Vasquez, who pitched well in several other home starts, couldn’t locate her pitches and Smithson Valley waited her out.
Soon enough, Vasquez put the ball over the plate and the Lady Rangers sprayed hits all over the field. A pair of singles scored a run each, followed by a two-run triple, then a single, an RBI triple and another single. Mixed in there was a passed ball and an RBI ground out before the Lady Rattlers finally got out of the inning, but the damage was already done.
“What I keep telling our pitchers is that, ‘You can’t defend a walk,’” Stoughton said. “Three of the first four runs that scored were all because of walks and that’s tough. We’d come back and throw something close and they hit the mistakes.”
San Marcos fought back and put several runners on base, but couldn’t string together multiple hits to push runs across in bunches. The Lady Rattlers avoided the shutout when Gabby Guerrero ripped an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.
Prior to next week’s annual Spring Break Classic, San Marcos travels to New Braunfels for its second district game.
“We got a little down after that first inning, but I got to hand it to the girls for coming back and staying positive the rest of the game,” Stoughton said. “As tough as this was, it’s a learning experience for us.
“We beat some good teams this year and we are a good team. We have the ability. We just have to get everything to fall together on the same night at the same time — and that will happen.”