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Emery Cisneros throws the ball over the third base during the Rattlers game against Judson. San Marcos was unable to put any runs on the scoreboard in their loss to the Lady Rockets.
Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo

Rattlers shut out by Judson in tough battle

Thursday, March 21, 2024

The Rattlers weren’t able to get in their groove Tuesday night.

San Marcos fell 5-0 to Converse Judson after starting pitcher Adelaida Sierra was forced out of the game due to a lower leg injury. The Lady Rockets held a 1-0 lead for the first five innings of the game before adding three more in their final two at-bats.

“[Sierra] was doing a really good job in the circle. She was mixing her speeds, moving her pitches around. They got the run in the first inning — benefit of just a couple of defensive miscues — but she was actually pitching really well. It was a shame to see her go down like that and get hurt. But you’ve got to move on,” head coach Cathy Stoughton said. “The game keeps going and Rae came in and did a pretty good job for us. She’s just a freshman and she’s getting a lot. She’s getting thrown into the deep end of the pool right now and being told to swim. But she came in and did a good job.”

Judson got a runner on base with a walk to start the game, and that runner would eventually make their way home due to a pair of fielding errors from San Marcos. The Rattlers were able to hold Judson’s run total at one for the inning, with Sierra throwing multiple strikeouts in the inning. San Marcos wasn’t able to get anything going in the bottom of the first keeping their deficit at 1-0 coming out of the first.

The Rattlers did put up a zero defensively in the next inning though, with Sierra pushing her strikeout total to five at the end of the second while keeping the score 1-0. San Marcos wasn’t able to get anything going at the plate in the bottom of the second either, which kept Judson’s lead at one.

Sierra allowed a single in the top of the third, but stranded the runner by forcing ground outs and adding a sixth strikeout to keep Judson off the scoreboard. The Rattlers went three up, three down at the plate in the bottom of the inning to keep things at 1-0.

“The biggest issue for us is offense right now. We’re not hitting with runners on, we’re not executing the short game, and we’re not being disciplined hitters in the box. We’re chasing pitches out of the zone, not hitting to our strengths, and I think we have a little bit of a defensive mindset instead of an offensive mindset when we step in the box. But, Softball is a game of slumps, it’s a game of failure, even the best hitters fail seven times. We just need to get some balls to fall for us,” Stoughton said. “That usually is something (that can) be a catalyst to get us going offensively. We just can’t seem to have everything working at once. We’ll get a couple of good hits, (then) we might make a base running error. We may get runners on, (but) we aren’t able to move them, we aren’t able to execute the bunt. It’s just a lot on the offensive end. You shouldn’t come up with a zero at the end of the game. I think once we figure it out, and once we string more hits together, and we get more balls to fall, then we'll be unstoppable. I think that we’ve had a lot of bad breaks. We’ve had balls hit right at people, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s the nature of the game.”

San Marcos’ Sierra got an out in the circle in the fourth, but had to leave the game with a lower leg injury after awkwardly landing on her foot while fielding a ground ball. Judson had gotten a runner on base due to a single prior to that, and another was added after the injury occurred while Sierra was fielding. Freshman Rae Ybarra was forced to come in relief and found a way to work out of the jam and keep the Purple and White’s deficit at one. The Lady Rattlers got one runner on in the bottom of the fourth, but that was it.

The Lady Rockets put pressure on Ybarra once again early, getting two runners in scoring position with just one out. Ybarra once again was calm in the storm though — forcing two straight ground outs to third and short to keep Judson off the board. San Marcos got the tying run all the way to third due to fielding errors from Judson in their at-bat in the fifth, but ultimately weren’t able to drive her in.

Judson doubled to start the sixth, and moved to third after a ground out from the Lady Rockets. Ybarra had already stranded four runners in her two innings of work so far, and almost stranded her sixth after forcing an infield pop up to put two outs on the board. That’s when Judson knocked an RBI single to left field to extend their lead to 2-0. Ybarra stopped the bleeding there though, giving San Marcos two more chances to extend the game.

San Marcos once again got a runner in scoring position in the sixth, but they were thrown out at second due to a base-running error on a short fly out to center field. The Rattlers weren’t able to put together a two out rally, ending the inning down 2-0.

The Lady Rockets brought in two insurance more runs in their final at-bat of the game, bringing in runners on an RBI Triple and single to push their lead out to 4-0 heading into the final half-inning. The Rattlers’ at-bat started promising, forcing a walk before Jessica DeLeon ripped a double to left field only for the runner at first to be thrown out at third. The Rattlers had two straight outs at the plate afterwards, ending the game.

“We’ve got to scratch it out one game at a time. Everybody in this district can play with each other and every night’s a new ball game. We played our first two (district) games on the road, so this was our first home game and we’re on the road again Friday,” Stoughton said. “Then we’ll be home again on Tuesday, and then we’ll have the advantage in the second round (of district play) having three of our five games at home, which I think will be good for us, because we did play a lot of games away from home at the outset. We just have to take it one game at a time, one team at a time. I feel like we can compete with anybody. We just have to have all the components working at the same time.”

San Marcos will hit the field again on the road at New Braunfels High School this Friday at 7 p.m.

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