The Rio Grande City Rattlers completed a dominating 2-0 first round playoff sweep over Valley View with an 11-0 trouncing of the Tigers Friday night in Rio Grande City in a game that ended after the top of the fifth inning under the 10-Run Rule.
Friday night’s victory came after the Rattlers blanked the Tigers, a former District 31-5A opponent, 8-0 Thursday night at Valley View as senior righthander Osvaldo “Baldo” Perez pitched a two-hit shutout over seven innings and Rattler batters pounded out 13 hits, including two triples and five doubles.
With the opening round best-of-three series triumph, the Rattlers reached the second round of the state playoffs for the third straight year. They will face Gregory-Portland in Portland this Friday at 7:15 p.m., and will host the Wildcats in game two at 5 p.m. Saturday in Rio Grande City. Game three, if necessary, will take place in Rio Grande City immediately after game two.
In Friday’s night’s triumph, the Rattlers scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, broke the game open with a seven-run explosion in the third, and added two runs in the fourth. The only real suspense came in the top of the first when the Tigers pounded consecutive one-out singles, but the uprising died with a strikeout and a runner being thrown out attempting to steal third.
Sophomore righthander Mike Ramos allowed only two hits over five innings in the game two win. He received exceptional support from Rattler hitters as A.B. Garza slammed a two-run triple, while Eduardo “Eddie” Garza hammered a three-run double and Noe Aguirre belted a two-run double. The RBI doubles by Eddie Garza and Aguirre occurred during the third inning uprising that put the game out of reach of the Tigers.
The Tigers seriously threatened in the top of the first as Guyel Garcia and Kevin Diaz slammed one-out singles. Ramos struck out the next hitter swinging on a 3-2 pitch. On an 0-2 pitch to the next hitter, the runner on second tried to steal third, but Rattler catcher Emmanuel Garza threw a perfect strike to the third baseman and the runner was tagged out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, leadoff hitter Marc Perez beat out an infield squibber for a single. Perez then stole second, and Eddie Garza hit a bouncer to the first baseman, who bobbled the ball and Garza reached base on the error as Perez advanced to third. Garza then stole second to put runners on second and third with none out. Emmanuel Garza lined a sharp single up the middle to score two runs and scampered into second on the throw home.
The Rattlers then loaded the bases on two hit batsmen, but their lead remained 2-0 as the rally ended on a strikeout and a long drive by Noe Aguirre to deep left field that was caught by the Tiger left fielder.
In the top of the second, Valley View’s leadoff hitter was hit by a pitch, but Ramos retired the next three hitters to end the inning. The score remained 2-0 when the Rattlers were unable to score in their half of the second. The Tigers put a runner on second with two outs in the top of the third, but the next hitter bounced out to the pitcher to end the threat.
Osbaldo Perez and Emanuel Saenz led off the bottom of the third by slamming sharp singles to left. Eden Barrera laid down a bunt and reached first safely for a single to load the bases with nobody out. Jose “Memo” Chapa hit a high drive to deep left that was caught by the outfielder just in front of the fence for a sacrifice fly that increased Rio’s margin to 3-0.
On a 1-1 pitch, Noe Aguirre then slammed a sharp liner over third base that rolled down the left field line for a one-out two-run double to make the score 5-0. A.B. Garza laid down a bunt single and then stole second to put runners on second and third. Marc Perez walked on a 3-1 pitch to load the bases. On a 1-2 pitch, Eddie Garza hit a line drive to deep left that rolled to the fence for a three-run double that boosted the Rattlers to an 8-0 advantage.
With two outs, A.B. Garza raced to third on a wild pitch. Baldo Perez then lined a single to right to score Garza for a 9-0 Rattler lead, but the inning ended when Perez was thrown out at second trying to stretch his hit into a double.
The leadoff Tiger hitter in the fourth reached on a hit batsman, but a strikeout and double play ended the inning.
Emanuel Saenz singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth for the Rattlers, and Eden Barrera reached base when he was hit by a pitch. With one out, A.B. Garza slammed a sharp line drive over the second baseman’s head that rolled to the fence for a two-run triple for an 11-0 Rattler lead, but the inning ended when Garza was thrown out at home trying for an inside-the-park homer.
The top of the fifth, the game and the series quickly ended on two groundouts and a sharp liner that was caught by the Rattler centerfielder.
Mike Ramos dominated the Tiger hitters as he allowed only two hits and struck out four while allowing no walks. He did not relinquish a hit after the first inning.
A.B. Garza slammed a two-run triple, but was thrown out at home in an attempt for an inside-the-park homer. Eddie Garza and Noe Aguirre belted three-run and two-run doubles, respectively, in the decisive third inning, and Emmanuel Garza got the Rattlers started with a two-run single in the first inning. Eddie Garza was 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs, Osbaldo Perez was 2 for 3 with one RBI, and Emanuel Saenz was 2 for 2 and scored two runs. Eden Barrera also scored two runs and was 1 for 1.
In Thursday night’s playoff opener on the road, Osbaldo Perez struck out 10 and allowed only one walk as he tossed a two-hit shutout over seven innings in the 8-0 Rattler win. The Rattlers scored one run in the first inning, two runs in the third, three runs in the fourth, and two runs in the fifth.
Marc Perez and Eddie Garza each slammed triples, while Jose “Memo” Chapa, Emmanuel Garza, Eddie Garza, Baldo Perez and Emanuel Saenz each hammered doubles. Baldo Perez helped his cause by driving in three runs, Emmanuel Garza contributed two RBIs, and Noe Aguirre, Marc Perez and Eddie Garza each achieved one RBI. Marc Perez, Ismael Salinas, and Cris Cantu each contributed a stolen base to the Rattler offense, and Eddie Garza scored two runs to pace the team in that department.
The Rattlers, who won the first playoff round for the third straight year and improved their overall 2019 record to 21-9-1, will face the highly regarded and state ranked Gregory-Portland Wildcats this weekend in a second round best-of-three series. They will travel to Portland to battle the Wildcats in game one Friday night, and will return home to face the Wildcats in game two at 5 p.m. Saturday. Game three, if needed, will be played immediately after game two in Rio Grande City. The Wildcats will enter Friday night’s game with an overall record of 29-2