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Rattlers' pitchers make the difference in four game tournament win streak

Rip Soto takes the mound for San Marcos in rivalry showdown against the Seguin Matadors. Soto threw a complete game shutout going seven innings and allowing just one hit.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Rattlers' pitchers make the difference in four game tournament win streak

Albert Santos catches the pop-up in left field in the Rattlers game against old rival Seguin. San Marcos defeated the Matadors 5-0 at the Rattler Spring Break Classic
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Rattlers' pitchers make the difference in four game tournament win streak

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The San Marcos Rattlers (7-7-2, 0-1) were able to get back to their winning ways Thursday for day one of the Rattler Baseball Tournament, sweeping their double-header between the Harker Heights Knights and the Norman Tigers.

The Rattlers stepped away from district play for a home tournament this week to get more consistent and to be ready for the rest of the district season.

In game one between the Rattlers and the Knights, San Marcos was able to push past Harker Heights 4-1 for the first victory of the weekend.

“It feels great to get back on the win track, but we had some bad base running mistakes that we have to get cleaned up and we are trying to fix some of those things to get ready for district play next week,” said Rattler head coach Bryan Webb. “We are trying to find that consistency in the lineup, and I think we are starting to find it as we are getting some guys healthy. The lineup is starting to work together.”

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom half of the first, the Rattlers took the lead back for good, scoring two runs by senior Kutter-Gage Webb and junior Reagan Chomel.

Senior hurler Stephen Wilder got the start on the bump in the first game against the Knights and put together 5.1 innings while only allowing one run on a mistake in the first inning.

“This was Wilder’s longest outing of the season. He gave up the run in the first on a 0-2 hit,” Webb said. “That is not something we do, he just made a bad pitch. He settled back down, and was able to work out of some jams, and then showed some guts out there a few times where he could have folded, but we helped him out defensively.'

After scoring two in the first, the Rattlers added two more in the bottom half of the second to push the lead to 4-1 as Webb and senior infielder Dallas Calderon each drove in a run as junior Dylan Nunez and senior catcher Sunray Estrada came across to score.

“That is our formula for success right there. We always think if we can score four runs we can beat you,” Webb said. “That is what we tell our pitchers; if you just pitch to contact and let our guys play, you are going to be fine. Our formula for success is defense. We don’t want to get into shootouts. We want to win games 2-1 if we can.”

The coach made the call to the bullpen in the middle of the sixth inning, bringing on reliever Vlario Prado, who came in and shut the door on game one, going 1.2 with one strikeout.

In the second game, the Rattlers battled with the Norman Tigers from Oklahoma. San Marcos behind the strong arm of senior Gavin Gomez, who went the distance, had 9-strikeouts in the night cap.

The Tigers were able to get onto the scoreboard in the top half of the first as Gomez hit the Tiger leadoff batter, who came around to score in the inning.

“In the first inning, I came out with a little too much energy, and I wasn’t controlled,” Gomez said. “I came back into the dugout and got locked back in. I had the mentality that you aren’t going to get a hit off me and it helped me. It gave me the confidence for the rest of the night to finish. I didn’t want to have a relief arm.

San Marcos tied the game in the second inning as senior Major Pellien led off with a double to the left-field wall, then Nunez drove Pellien home on a sacrifice fly to etch the game at one.

“Dylan was able to get his hands back on a two-strike pitch after he missed the squeeze play, and then was able to drive it to right field on a great at-bat,” said the Rattler manager. “That was a family first at-bat right there and a three-year letterman doing what he was supposed to be doing.”

The senior hurler seemed to be in control after the first, as he limited his mistakes and relied on his defense to make the outs behind him.

“This was by far Gavin's (Gomez) best outing of the year so far,” Webb said. “This was only his fourth start of the year, and this is the time he needs to start hitting his stride because he will get a start in district’s next week. We needed to see this; it was awesome to see this.”

The Rattlers added the go-ahead run in the fourth inning as Wilder, who reached base on a walk, came across to score on a passed ball.

The two runs were enough for Gomez as the Tigers were only able to get one more base runner on base throughout the game. Then, the defense came up big as outfielder Landon Munoz completed a double play with an outfield assist, throwing out the Norman runner at third base who was attempting to advance from second.

“The defense played great tonight, middle infield, and infield played great,” Gomez said.

“Stephen (Wilder) had some great picks to get more out, and I thanked them a lot.”

After the weekend, San Marcos jumps right back into district play with a home game Tuesday against the Schertz-Clemens Buffaloes.

“We climbed to a .500 record for the first time this season, and we will continue to put together great games this weekend,” Webb said. “We have to continue getting better each day, learning from new mistakes to keep getting ready for districts.”

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