In a game dedicated to first responders, the Rattlers put their body and heart on the frontlines of the District 26-6A playoff race.
San Marcos rocked the No. 1 team in the league when it defeated Austin Bowie on the road Tuesday, 10-4. But the team couldn’t repeat the performance on Saturday, falling 2-1 to the Bulldogs (21-4-1, 10-2) at the Rattler baseball field. Head coach Bryan Webb had no excuses when it came to the loss.
“This is just our district, it’s awful, it’s brutal,” Webb said. “You gotta bring it every single ballgame, and it was a well played game and we had our chances, and they beat us today.”
Webb continued to harp on how his team is still learning to win tight games down the stretch.
“There wasn’t really somebody who lost this game,” he said. “They executed when they needed to and got one more than we did, and unfortunately it didn’t go well for us, but we’re right there again and we just gotta figure out how to win these close ones.”
Sophomore Tito Santos pitched a near-complete game, allowing only one run while racking up five strikeouts on the mound.
“Tito’s thrown well all year, he’s kept us in ball games, and he’s competed,” Webb said. “He’s improved every time (he’s pitched) and I can’t say enough for that kid the way he goes out every single time and he gives us a chance, and I don’t think he’s had a bad outing yet. He’s given us quality starts, five to six innings every single time, and we’re in it late every time, and that’s why he’s our No. 1 guy right now.”
While only three runs were scored in the game’s entirety, the final two innings had no shortage of excitement. Junior Johnny Pardo had the lone RBI of the game for the Rattlers in the bottom of the sixth inning, driving in senior Kannon Webb after he stole two bases on a ground-rule double to tie the game.
Bowie retook its one-run lead in the top of the seventh with a stand-up double followed by a mirage of bunts, putting the Rattlers’ fate in their own hands in the bottom of the inning. The Rattlers got a runner on base with one out after a single from sophomore Stephen Wilder, and got two more runners on to load the bases with two outs.
Unfortunately for the Rattlers, Bowie closer Ryan Corbett struck out Kutter Gage Webb for the final out of the game. Bryan Webb said that he was proud of his team’s fight in the final inning.
“Like I’ve always told them, if we’re going to go down, go down swinging,” the head coach said. “And you know, we had an opportunity there and it just didn’t pan out for us the way we wanted and unfortunately for us, we left them out there.”
Looking forward to their final series of the regular season against Austin Akins, Webb said he wants to “finish this thing right.”
“You know, we’ve still got a shot to get in,” he said. “We’re gonna need some help, but we’re gonna have to go take care of our business and, when we look back at the end of the year let’s not say that we didn’t finish right and if we can find a way to get in, it happens, but if not, we got to learn from it and then move forward into next year. We got to go play for the seniors and finish it right.”
The Rattlers (20-8-2, 6-6 district) take on Austin Akins (3-16-1, 2-10) next Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Rattler baseball field on Senior Night.
Written by JUDE MCCLAREN