On the heels of their soccer teams’ remarkable run to a UIL state title, the boys and girls from Sharyland baseball and softball, have taken home their respective second straight district titles.
For softball’s Paul Cruz, his fielders’ second straight title is worth noting. Why? Well, prior to last season, District 30-5A was dominated by La Joya and their six straight district championships. Now, with number two in his back pocket, Cruz and his girls can rightly claim to be the district’s new powerhouse.
With the season ending last Saturday—with a 4-2 victory over McHi that was preceded by a 22-3 thumping of the Lady Coyotes the Tuesday before—the Lady Rattlers are looking to at least equal and hopefully improve on last year’s playoff performance.
In last year’s bi-district, the team took on Laredo United in a three-game series that saw the two teams play the three games after Shary lost the first one badly, 10-0. The response to the game one disaster was an 8-2, 7-6 double victory.
In the area round, it was the Lady Rattlers who properly responded by winning game one over Edinburg North. However, games two and three went to the Lady Cougars and Shary was subsequently removed.
This year the Rattlers will be taking on Eagle Pass Winn in another three-game series. The first two games will be played in Eagle Pass. The Winn Lady Mavericks finished fourth in District 29 after finishing as runner-ups last year. Like Sharyland, the Mavs lost in the area round a year ago.
For the Shary boys—despite already winning district—the regular season is not yet over. Bart Bickerton’s ball club will finish their fantastic season by hosting McHi. A win over the fifth-placed Bulldogs will give Sharyland not only their second straight district title but also their second straight undefeated district season. In short, it gives them a 24-game win streak in District 30-5A play.
The bi-district opponent for Sharyland has yet to be determined. Whoever they may play, it is likely to be easier than last year’s bi-district opponent. In a freak matchup, the Rattlers—who were ranked number two in the state at the time—had to face a Laredo United team that was District 29’s fourth place team by default due to having to forfeit a large number of games. However, the team they put on the field was likely one of the state’s best and it showed when they took down Bickerton’s team in a one-game playoff series.
The Mission Lady Eagles squeaked in by playing some good ball to the end the season while La Joya faltered down the stretch. Ironically, it was just last year that Mission squeaked by La Joya to clinch the final playoff spot, beating the then defending champs in a play-in game. The Lady Eagles went on to face Eagle Pass Lady Eagles, losing the one game series, 8-0.
This year Mission will again face the Eagles. However, head coach Iris Iglesias feels much better about this year’s matchup.
“We are playing better at the end of this season than [we were] last year. I hope we can continue that.”
The Lady Eagles counterparts’ are likely headed to the postseason for the second straight year. “Likely,” is the key work for Rick Lozona’s baseball team. In order for a guaranteed berth, the Eagles have to win tonight against Donna. However, a loss, plus a McHi win over Sharyland, would force Mission and the Bulldogs to a play-in game. Of course, that scenario is not likely due to Shary’s aforementioned district dominance.
A more likely scenario is Mission competing with Memorial for the district’s third-place spot. Assuming both Mission and Shary win tonight, a play-in game between the Eagles and Mustangs could occur if Memorial loses to Palmview. Whoever ends up as the fourth placed team will be playing Laredo Alexander.
Of course, the Palmview Lobos have been the surprise team perhaps of the entire Valley. Absent from the postseason since their school’s inception, the Lobos will finish as the district’s runner-ups. Though unable to take down Sharyland in either of their two matchups, Palmview was able to only lose one other time in district play. That one additional loss came at the hands of Memorial, the Lobos opponent tonight.
In 32-4A, Juarez-Lincoln is moving on to the playoffs and they even have a shot at the district title after some fortunate losses by the teams ahead of them. Former first place Hidalgo lost three straight times, falling to Valley View, Roma and Rio Grande City. The fall of Hidalgo allowed RGC to assume first place and for Juarez to move to second after defeating the Gladiators a week ago.
The chance for the championship comes tonight when the Huskies take on the Rattlers. A win will put the two teams in a tie and force a play-in game.
Finally, the Veterans Memorial softball team finished third in 32-4A and will face Tuluso-Midway tonight in a one-game series. The Lady Patriots have had a fine season so far but have their work cut out for them with the Warriors, who are 21-3 on the year.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.