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Tigers’ wake-up call ends Rattlers’ dream season

20120525_BASEBALL_SHS_vs_EaglePass_Semifinals_LEG_WEB6365In what Head Coach Bart Bickerton expected to be a rebuilding year for his young team, the Sharyland Rattlers overachieved their way to the class 5A regional semifinal round this past weekend against the #2 ranked Tigers from Corpus Christi Carroll.  However, after winning 27 games in a row and compiling a 31-3 record this season, the Rattlers fell short against the Tigers despite stellar pitching performances by Eric Gutierrez on Friday and Tres Barrera on Saturday.

Gutierrez, who gave up only one hit in six innings on Friday, had a no hitter going into the fifth inning against the Tigers when he found himself facing a bases loaded with one out situation as a result of three walks, one of which was intentional.  That was when Carroll got what turned out to be their only hit of the game with a single to right-center field that brought in two runs.  An errant throw home allowed the third run to score and allowed the base runner, who would later score on a wild pitch, to advance to third.

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Sharyland’s Mario Vela broke up Carroll pitcher O’shea Dumes’ no-hitter when he reached base on a single.  However, it was too little too late for the Rattlers as they failed to mount a rally and lost game one of the best-of-three series, 4-0.

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Palmview’s Felipe Valencia earns silver at State

20120525-Palmview-State-Shot-Put-Silver-Medalist-012At 5’ 7’ inches tall and 230 pounds, sophomore Felipe Valencia does not stand out at all among his fellow La Joya Palmview High School students when he walks the halls. But he stands out in a big way when he steps into the shot put circle, rests the 12-pound steel ball against his neck and throws the shot. The state silver medalist stands tall as one of the best shot putters in the State of Texas.

In a sport in which size and strength are definite advantages, Felipe found himself competing against athletes almost a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier when he advanced to the state shot put finals this month.

Palmview Track Coach Daniel Lombrana pointed this out when he said, “When we went to state, the gentleman that beat Felipe was something like 6’ 6” tall and weighed 325 pounds. Then I looked at the kid from Eagle Pass that beat Felipe at regionals…and that guy was 6’ 6” and 350 pounds.”

Inspired by his sister Irasema, a 2004 La Joya High School graduate, who qualified for regionals in shot put for the Coyotes, Felipe first took up the shot put in seventh grade. His immediate success motivated him to keep at it.

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Rattlers defeat Eagle Pass, remain undefeated in playoffs

20120519-SharylandBasball-720-LEG-4337Friday night the Sharyland Rattlers struck early and often as they routed the Eagle Pass Eagles 20-0 in 5 innings in game one of the class 5A regional quarterfinal round of the state high school baseball playoffs.  Saturday the Rattlers again defeated the Eagles, 9-3, to take game two of this best-of-three series. This became the third playoff series in a row that the Rattlers have swept, remaining undefeated in the playoffs.

In game one Friday the Rattlers plated the only run they’d need to outscore Eagle Pass in the first inning when Jorge Maldonado hit a solo homerun. Not to leave anything to chance, however, Sharyland went on to score 9 runs in the third and five runs each in the fourth and fifth innings to blow out the Eagles and to set up the possibility of yet another playoff sweep.

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Rattlers sweep Hawks in area Round

20120518-Shary-001

It took extra innings, but the Sharyland Rattlers swept the Harlingen South Hawks two games to none in the area round of the class 5A state playoffs last weekend. The Rattlers managed to overcome fielding errors in game one and base running errors in game two to advance to the regional quarterfinal round  against Eagle Pass this weekend.

GAME ONE

In Friday’s game one, the Rattlers took a 1-0 lead over the Hawks in the second inning when sophomore first baseman Joey Esquivel hit a Bobby Arias pitch out of the park over the left field fence.

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Hard to say goodbye

20120511-SPORTS_Coach_Rene_Garza_Mission_Girls_Basketball_100108_0305_DYMission’s Garza looks to future after basketball

If there is any quit in Rene Garza, it isn’t easy to see.

Sixteen seasons coaching at Mission and 28 years overall, the Mission High School icon announced recently he is stepping down to focus on his health. The longtime coach was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2006 and the long battle against cancer has taken its toll.

“Very difficult decision to make,” said Garza in one-on-one interview with the Progress Times. “It’s time. It is very hard and very difficult for me.”

While it is Garza’s health that is forcing him to step down, it is the idea of giving up his passion for the game that is the most difficult.

“I am going to miss it,” Garza said with a tear in his eye. “I had sixteen wonderful, great and exciting years. Just amazing years. Incredible. It has been a joy and experience just to be the head basketball coach. A privilege and honor. I am the lucky one.”

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Shary only Big Six team to advance in baseball playoffs

20120511-Juarez-Lincoln-v-Flour-Bluff-Playoff-Baseball-019Shary had a beast of a team a year ago, but couldn’t get past bi-district. This year they were expected to be rebuilding, but they took care of business, winning district with an undefeated record, then winning bi-district by sweeping Eagle Pass Winn, 7-2, 12-0, last weekend.

Senior Eric Gutierrez played a key role in the first game, scoring two runs and batting .500.

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