PRESS Staff Report
The District 32-3A champion Lady Tarpons recently survived a dramatic comeback orchestrated by the Rio Hondo Lady Bobcats. In the season finale, the Lady Tarpons hosted Rio Hondo on Friday, April 19, and amassed an impressive 12-0 lead, all coming in the second inning.
However, the Lady Bobcats’ bats exploded, accounting for 17 hits that led to 11 runs. But it wasn’t enough to put away these Port Isabel girls as the team found a way to secure a 13-11 win.
PI had just won the district championship the game prior in a 3-0 victory over La Feria. The Lady Tarpons, who now stand at 16-6 overall and 11-1 in district play, await the winner of the Hondo vs. Robstown bi-district matchup.
The Tarpons and the Rio Hondo Bobcats faced off Friday night at Tarpon field with a playoff berth at stake.
The games between these two rivals historically are well played and come down to the final at bat, this game was no different.
Taking the mound for the Tarpons and putting his unblemished record on the line was Jose Garza. Rio Hondo opened up the game by scoring quickly in their top half of the first. As E. Pitones got on as the Tarpons committed an error and scored on Nico Cruz’ double.
Port Isabel responded in their bottom half of the first as Bobcat pitcher Chris Ortega struggled to find the strike zone and walked two of the first three Tarpon batters. With the bases full of Tarpons, Jose Garza singled driving in Johnathan Garza and Kenny Herrera. Port Isabel got another run as Jacque Guillot brought in Michael Curry on his single to left center.
Trailing 4-1, Rio Hondo cut the lead in half as Nico Cruz was hit by a pitch and scored on Josh Cuellar’s single. Port Isabel answered right on a double to centerfield. Rio Hondo made the score 5-3 in the fifth as E. Pitones scored on a fielder’s choice.
As the game moved into the final inning and the Bobcats, facing their final three outs, responded and tied the game at 5 as their first two batters reached on a base on balls and a double they scored on a Tarpon miscue.
With the game knotted at 5, the Tarpons’ never quit attitude was tested.
Junior first basemen Jacque Guillot started the bottom of the seventh inning with a lead-off double off the left centerfield wall.
After a Rio Hondo time out, right fielder Isaiah Martinez calmly stepped up to the plate. With the count at one ball and one strike, Martinez blooped a single to shallow right field scoring Guillot on a bang-bang play at home plate, pulling out a 6-5 victory for the Tarps.
With the win, Port Isabel (11-7 overall, 5-3 in district) secured the second place seeding behind Hidalgo. Port Isabel will play Kingsville in playoff action with the time and place to be determined next week.