SAN ANTONIO — For three innings, the San Marcos Rattlers seemingly toyed with San Antonio-Wagner in Friday night’s District 25-5A road game.
The last-place Thunderbirds came into the game after suffering three consecutive blowouts, and the Rattlers were expected to follow suit after beating Converse-Judson, 5-3 Tuesday night to move into a tie for second place.
But after a few choice words from head coach Bryan Webb, the Rattlers woke up. SMHS went on to score 11 runs over the next three innings for an 11-0, five-inning run rule win at Wagner Field.
“I wasn’t really pleased with our slow start so we had a little meeting after the third. It was a pretty vocal message. They got it and picked it up,” Webb said. “I told them that you can’t do that. Things like that are what can beat you. You played at a slow level and go through the motions and the next thing you know you’ve been beaten.”
Wagner failed to cash in on early opportunities, after loading the bases with two outs in the first and second innings. But SMHS starter Daniel Mata bore down and got out of the innings with a strikeouts and a fly ball.
Mata settled down and retired six out of the next seven hitters, while numerous Wagner errors and plenty of offense from his offense allowed San Marcos to post an 11-0 run-rule win. Mata gave up two hits with five walks and four strikeouts.
“Daniel has worked his tail off in practice and got the start today and its good to see us build some pitching depth coming into the playoffs,” Webb said.
The win allowed San Marcos (21-9-1, 6-3 25-5A) to remain in a second-place tie with Judson going into Friday’s district finale at home against New Braunfels Canyon. Should Judson and SMHS finished tied for second, a district playoff game will decide which team gets the district’s second playoff seed.
“It’s looking more and more like we’re going to see Judson again, but we have to make sure we take care of business against Canyon,” Webb said.
San Marcos’ offense got things rolling against Wagner in the top of the third, posting five runs on five hits with the aid of two Wagner errors. Jesus Rodriguez led off the frame with an infield single to third, as D.A. Tobias reached on an error at second base. Elijah Perez came through with a RBI single to center field, as a two-base error pushed in another run to give SMHS a 2-0 lead.
David Hamilton followed with a sac grounder to plate Perez, while Cruz Rodriguez drove in Noel Zapata with a RBI double off the left-field wall before Carlos Villasana hustled his way for an infield single that scored Rodriguez.
Two more Wagner errors and Elijah Perez’ RBI single allowed the Snakes to up the lead to with three more runs in the top of the fourth.
Another pair of Thunderbird miscues in the top of the fifth let Villasana score after leading off with a loop single, as Perez laced a two-run double down the left-field line, allowing SMHS to take an 11-0 lead.
It was San Marcos first run-rule win in district play, and second victory against Wagner (5-18, 1-8) after beating the Thunderbirds 9-0 in the initial meeting.
Friday’s district finale, which is also senior night for the Rattlers, is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Rattler Field.