By ARMANDO GARZA
Special to the PRESS
Despite coming off their first district loss of the season, the Port Isabel Lady Tarpons aren’t about to hit the panic button.
In a game in which they stranded 14 runners, the Lady Tarpons lost at Rio Hondo 5-1 on Tuesday night to end their long winning streak, which included the first eight games of district play.
PI now sits at 13-6 overall and 8-1 in district, but the good news is the girls are still in first place in District 32-3A by one game over Rio Hondo (14-12 6-2).
“We told the girls that it’s only one game and we’re still in first place,” second-year PI skipper Jesse Garza said. “We’re still looking forward to the playoffs. Yes, it was tough and it was hard to swallow. We told the girls to stay focused because we have three games left and everybody wants to beat PI.”
Against Rio Hondo, two straight doubles from Cecily Niles and Natasha Ramirez produced PI’s one run. There were plenty of hits; however, the girls simply couldn’t get that elusive run-producing one.
All season, though, the Lady Tarpons have had plenty to boast about.
Junior pitcher Daniela Salinas has been one of the best in the Valley over the course of the year. Salinas, a three-year starter, leads the district and is among the area’s best with a miniscule 1.20 earned run average.
“She’s been real good for us,” Garza said of his ace Salinas. “She’s a great pitcher. She’s grown and has learned how to study hitters and know what pitches to throw.”
Rounding out this year’s varsity team are sophomore catcher Niles, sophomore first baseman Kelcie Swink, freshman Ramirez at second, freshman Alex Martinez at shortstop, sophomore Victoria Cantu at third base, left fielder Michelle Martinez (freshman), centerfielder Sarah Rodriguez (junior) and right fielder Avery Colunga (sophomore). Also on this year’s club are Marina Wise-Herring (freshman), Guillian Garza (fresh.), Cacey Chavez (soph.) and designated player Kaila Torres.
A quick glance at the roster produces a glaring thought: No seniors. But Garza said his youngsters are getting the necessary experience for later years now.
“Last year we had only two seniors,” Garza said. “So these girls know what to expect. And they’ve started right where they left off last year.”
Indeed, the Lady Tarpons were one of the hottest teams in the Valley going into this week. While their record is still solid and they still hold first place, Garza said his club will be focused with three games left against Hidalgo, La Feria and a rematch with Rio Hondo, this time at home.