By PETE BANDA
Special to the PRESS
LA JOYA – The Port Isabel Tarpons saw their impressive season, which included a third place finish in District 32-3A, come to a close in La Joya on Friday, where the Zapata Hawks swept PI in a best-of-three bi-district playoff clash.
The Hawks put on a clinic in the first game, smashing the Tarpons by a score of 18-1, and while Port Isabel played a much more inspired second game, Zapata still came away with a 5-0 victory.
The Tarpons, led by freshman pitcher Trey Mock, started off exceptionally well against the District 31-3A champions, keeping it scoreless through three innings. A walk followed by a bad pitch got runners to first and second before Joel Rodriguez of Zapata hit a double, bringing in two runs and eventually adding a run of his own after a teammate hit a triple.
The dreadful inning finally came to an end with the Tarpons facing a 3-0 deficit and momentum clearly not in their favor. It was all downhill for the Tarpons for the rest of the game.
With Port Isabel struggling offensively, Zapata was able to capitalize, adding a score in the fifth and sixth inning to seal the victory and catapult themselves into the next round of the playoffs. For Port Isabel it was a disappointing end to an otherwise stellar season. Still, the loss didn’t shake PI coach Robert Holland’s faith in his team.
“We had a good effort,” Holland said. “I’m proud of my team, always proud no matter the outcome. I always have faith in my team.”
Despite the losses, the Tarpons still finished the season with a 12-8 record and are expecting to build on that for next year.
“It was a good season,” Holland said. “We talked about at the beginning of the year and everyone was expecting this, we expected to make the playoffs, and we expect nothing less next year.”
Only five seniors are on the Tarpon roster, so with a strong core of experienced players coming back for next year, the sky is the limit for these Port Isabel Tarpons.
“Everyone knew what our goal was at the start of the year and we all worked hard to get here, next year we all know that we have to work harder,” added Holland.