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Top, the San Marcos High School Rattlers baseball team won the District Championship in commanding fashion for the first time since 2017 with the Friday 7-2 victory over the Cibolo Steele Knights. Left, Rattler Ryan Hix scoops up a ball in the outfield in a game that had strong crowd support.
Daily Record Photos
by Gerald Castillo


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Rattlers storm back to clinch district win

After trailing 1-0, San Marcos rallied to score six unanswered runs on route to not only win 7-2 against the Cibolo Steele Knights but also clinch the Rattlers first district championship since 2017.

Needing a New Braunfels win over East Central, both the players and the coaches, including starting pitcher Gavin Gomez, watched as the Unicorns defeated the Hornets 8-1 to hand San Marcos the outright district championship.

“It feels great,” Gomez said. “Heading into our senior year, that was one of our goals. There was an expectation to win it and to accomplish that feels amazing. With two more games left, we are not going to back down as we continue into the playoffs.”

Despite the baseball field packed full of fans wanting to see history be made, the Rattlers got off to a slow start after the first 2.5 innings trailing 1-0.

It was a difficult stretch for both San Marcos and closing pitcher/outfielder Reagan Chomel who knew the pressure was on.

“The energy here was electric,” Chomel said. “The first two innings we were playing tight, holding the ball too hard, and gripping the bat too hard. Coach [Webb] told us to settle down then we put up seven runs in four innings.”

San Marcos kicked things off as catcher Sun- ray Estrada hit a leadoff double into right field to give the Rattlers a runner in scoring position.

As Jonathan Alvarez came on to be the courtesy runner for Estrada, Gomez then hit an RBI triple into right field to score Alvarez and tie the game up at 1-1.

Second baseman Dallas Calderon proceeded to hit an RBI single to score Gomez as San Marcos took their first lead of the game at 2-1.

After Chomel was hit by the pitch to put runners on first and second, the Rattlers opted for the double steal to have runners on second and third.

Successfully pulling the steal off, Steele was unable to make a successful throw and committed the error to allow Calderon to score and give San Marcos a 3-1 lead.

Despite the slow push out the gates, Head Coach Bryan Webb said he was proud of his team for notpanicking in the situation.

“I told them we didn’t need to start out slow,” Webb said. “It was aggravating at first. It felt like we were trying way too hard and fell behind. But they didn’t panic. They’ve done this before and waited till the third inning to put crooked numbers up there again. That’s kinda what we do is wait around till it’s our turn to strike.”

But the Rattlers weren’t done, as in the fourth inning, outfielder Ryan Hix reached first base with a leadoff single.

Facing two outs, Gomez hit in another RBI with a double into right field to score Hix and extend the lead to 4-1. As Calderon forced the walk, shortstop Kutter Gage Webb hit a two-run RBI triple as San Marcos made it 6-1.

“Knowing I’m the leadoff hitter in a big situation, I just kept composed,” Gomez said. “I knew my job and I’ve been in that situation before. It’s nothing new to me, just another day in the batter's box. I had confidence going in there and I wasn’t going to back down.”

For Chomel, the Rattlers just needed to be calm inside the batter’s box.

“We were way too jumpy at the plate,” Chomel said. “We had to settle down, see the pitches and start eating away at their [Steele] bullpen. We just had to get them [base runners] on and get them in and look at what happened. We end up putting seven on the board.”

But offense wasn’t the only thing that led the Rattlers to victory as the combination of Gomez and Chomel kept the Knights offense from gaining a foothold.

With Gomez's 5.2 innings, allowing just four hits, two runs, five walks and throwing six strikeouts and Chomel closing out the game with 1.1 innings with no hits, no walks, no runs, and two strikeouts, it was another day in the office for the Rattler pitching staff.

“We exert a lot of confidence on the mound with our defense behind us,” Gomez said. “As a pitcher that helps a lot knowing your defense is behind you. It makes it easier to pitch. We just let the batters make their hits and watch our defense make the plays.”

San Marcos returns to play Tuesday night as they go on the road to Converse to take on the Judson Rockets.

First pitch is at 7 p.m.

San Marcos Record

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