Rattlers clinch playoff berth with win over Del Valle
Photo by Gerald Castillo
Still riding the high of winning two key district games over Austin Akins and Austin Bowie last week, San Marcos started out sluggish against Del Valle on Tuesday.
But after falling behind 2-0 in the second inning, the Rattlers rallied to defeat the Cardinals, 6-2.
“I don’t think we took them seriously there in the first couple innings,” senior left fielder Cole Thompson said. “Their record isn’t very great but it just took us refocusing.”
Del Valle (5-14-1, 2-5 14-6A) took advantage of an error-filled top of the second inning. Cardinal senior right fielder Uly Gabriel got on base when a high throw allowed him to reach first safely. Two singles in the inning from sophomore shortstop Isaiah Salas and junior second baseman Juan Murillo allowed Del Valle to score twice and claim a 2-0 lead.
San Marcos (14-8-1, 5-2) responded in the third inning when senior pitcher Tyler Moreno led off the frame with a single. Senior center fielder Luis Hernandez hit an RBI double to cut the Cardinal lead to 2-1 then an RBI double from senior shortstop Brandon Tobias tied the game.
The Rattlers scored twice on an RBI single from Hernandez in the fourth inning to give them a 4-2 advantage.
San Marcos continued its offensive output in the fifth inning. Sophomore third baseman Ruben Miranda walked to begin the inning and a double from Tobias put both runners in scoring position. Senior first baseman Brandon Miranda pushed the Rattler lead to 5-2 with a sac-fly and an RBI single from senior catcher Ian Perez gave them a 6-2 lead.
Moreno recorded four strikeouts in the final two innings to help San Marcos secure its third consecutive district win.
“We came out rusty today coming off those two big games last week and playing like we did, it was hard to get them back out here,” Webb said. “Our pregame was bad. Our enthusiasm was bad. It showed those first two innings. They took some pretty good pitches and put them in the gap and we’re down 2-0 and I just (said), ‘All right guys better wake ‘em up,’ and they did. They responded. Good teams find a way even when you don’t have it. I’m proud of them. They found a way.”
Tuesday’s victory secured San Marcos its ninth consecutive playoff berth under Webb.
“Get in (the playoffs) that was our number one goal,” Webb said. “Seed up from there and we’ll see what happens. If we can find a way to get a district championship, we’re going to need some help. But we’re starting to play good baseball right now and that’s the most important thing.”
Thompson said clinching a playoff spot is reassuring but he wants the team to continue to work with three games remaining in the regular season.
“We’ve got to hit more,” Thompson said. “Our defense is solid but hitting would really help.”
San Marcos travels to Manor on Friday. The Rattlers are 1-2 on the road in district play and Webb says his team needs to be able to pick up wins away from San Marcos.
“We’ve got to be able to travel. We’re going to have to be able to win on the road,” Webb said. “So, that’s how we’re going to try take this right here. If we want to try and get the two-seed, which is our goal now because (the) one (seed) is our ultimate goal but we’re going to need help. But if we want to get the two seed, we’ve got to go beat Manor.