The Rio Grande City Rattlers, propelled by the no-hit pitching of sophomore Mike Ramos, exploded for 10 runs in three innings to win a resounding 10-0 victory over the Mission Veterans Memorial Patriots Thursday afternoon in Rio Grande City in a game that ended under the “10-run rule” with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The March 14 victory in windy and cool conditions enabled the Rattlers to improve their District 31-5A record to 2-0. On Tuesday afternoon, March 12, the Rattlers pounded the Patriots 13-6 in Mission as Marc Perez belted a homer, two triples, and a double to drive home six runs.
Just after Thursday’s game ended, it was not certain whether Ramos had achieved a no-hitter as there were questions whether a Patriot pop fly that dropped safely in the fourth inning was a base hit or a Rattler error. Word came a couple of hours later that Ramos had been credited with a no-hitter. Coach Roque Cortinas later explained that the play was scored as an error because the ball first hit an outfielder’s glove before falling to the ground.
Ramos weathered some difficulties in the first two innings as the Patriots left three runners on base, two in scoring position. After the second inning, the Patriots could do nothing offensively against the sophomore righthander, who recorded five strikeouts, one walk, and two hit batsmen.
The Rattlers were unable to score in the first two innings, but broke through for four runs in the third inning, three additional runs in the fourth, and three runs in the fifth that ended the game. The Rattlers were helped by several Patriot defensive miscues and also three wild pitches.
Marc Perez slammed a run-scoring single to drive in the first Rattler run, and Baldo Perez added a pop fly RBI single later in that same inning. Eddie Garza slammed an RBI double in the bottom of the fourth, and Eden Barrera and Smiley Salinas hammered singles to ignite the game-ending surge in the fifth. Baldo Perez ended the game by belting a line drive single with the bases loaded.
In the top of the first, Mike Ramos retired the first two Patriot batters, but the next hitter walked and the cleanup hitter was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with two outs. The threat died, however, when the next hitter struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch.
In the bottom of the first, leadoff hitter Marc Perez reached on an error by the second baseman, but was tagged out for a double play when the first baseman caught a sharp line drive by Eddie Garza.
In the top of the second, leadoff Patriot hitter Aaron Chapa was hit by a pitch and was able to reach second base by evading a pickoff play and a rundown on the base paths. Chapa reached third base on a sacrifice bunt, but Ramos retired the final three hitters of the inning to keep the Patriots scoreless.
In the bottom of the second, leadoff hitter Baldo Perez reached on an error and Memo Chapa walked with two outs to put runners on first and second. The inning ended with the game still scoreless, however, when Noe Aguirre flied out to center.
A.B. Garza was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the third for the Rattlers. Garza then stole second, and Marc Perez slapped a ground ball single to right to drive home Garza for a 1-0 Rattler lead as Perez took second on the throw to the plate. Eddie Garza then laid down a bunt toward third base, and the pitcher’s throw to first sailed over the first baseman’s head to enable Perez to score the second Rattler run and allow Garza to advance to second.
Emmanuel Garza then reached first on a bunt single to the left side, allowing Eddie Garza to move to third. Emmanuel Garza then stole second to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Baldo Perez then hit a pop fly between second and first that fell safely, enabling Eddie Garza to score for a 3-0 Rattler lead. Perez then attempted to steal second and the catcher’s throw hit the pitcher’s hand for an error, allowing Perez to score the fourth and final run of the inning for a 4-0 Rattler advantage.
With two outs in the top of the fourth, a Patriot pop fly to left center fell safely near three Rattlers as the gusty north winds played havoc with the ball. Ramos then struck out the next hitter on an 0-2 pitch to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, leadoff hitter A.B. Garza reached on an error by the Patriot shortstop and Marc Perez was hit by a pitch. Eddie Garza then belted a line drive down the left field line and the left fielder made an unsuccessful diving attempt to catch the ball, enabling A.B. Garza to score, Perez to reach third, and Eddie Garza to scamper into second with a double as the Rattlers built their margin to 5-0. Perez then darted home on a wild pitch to make the score 6-0.
Emmanuel Garza then hit a grounder to shortstop, but the shortstop’s throw sailed past the first baseman, enabling Eddie Garza to score for a 7-0 Rattler advantage. The inning finally ended when Emmanuel Saenz grounded out to third.
In the bottom of the fifth, leadoff hitter Eden Barrera lined a sharp single to left. Memo Chapa walked on a 3-2 pitch, and pinch hitter Smiley Salinas slammed a single to left center to load the bases with nobody out. A wild pitch enabled Barrera to score to boost the Rattlers’ margin to 8-0, and A.B. Garza walked to once again load the bases. Marc Perez then hammered a deep drive to left field that was caught for a sacrifice fly that made the score 9-0 and allowed Chapa to advance to third.
A one-out walk to Eddie Garza loaded the bases once again. Emmanuel Garza slammed a sharp liner that the third baseman caught for the second out. Baldo Perez then hit a liner to right field and the Patriot outfielder was unable to make a diving catch, allowing another run to score and the game to end with a 10-0 Rattler victory.
The lopsided shutout victory enabled the Rattlers to continue their strong start in District 31-5A play. They will host the PSJA Memorial Wolverines on Tuesday night, March 19 at 7 p.m. in another district contest.