Tigerettes open strong with 2-0 start in District
By Joshua Bray
The Slaton softball team started District play strong. The Tigerettes, led by Coach Brandon Langston, won both of their opening District games against Abernathy and Brownfield.
The Tigerettes won a home game against the Abernathy Lady Lopes Tuesday (March 10), with a final score of 3-1.
Langston said that the Abernathy game showed some of the best the Tigerettes had to offer.
“Our defense on Tuesday against Abernathy was probably the best I’ve seen it since I’ve been here,” Langston said.
“Our defense, I think, is the reason we won that game. I think that made Saturday feel like we didn’t play as good. I can’t say enough about how well we played defensively against them.”
The biggest defensive play against Abernathy that stood out to Langston was by Maddi Englund.
“Englund made some phenomenal plays,” Langston said. “She had one base loaded with two outs and they hit a hard hit line drive and she dove to her left to catch the line drive to end that inning which was about as big of a defensive play we’ve had this year.”
Saturday (March 14) the Tigerettes played an away game against Brownfield for a 14-3 victory in six innings.
Despite a dominant win, Langston said he wasn’t completely satisfied with the how the game played out.
“It sounds kind of crazy, but we didn’t play very good for the first four to five innings, but our bats came alive and jumped up on them,” Langston said. “(There were) a couple of defensive plays that we expected to make that we didn’t. I think that with us and Brownfield it’s kind of become a big rivalry the last couple of years. They showed up ready to play the first few innings. We did enough to keep the lead and stay ahead, but at the same time, didn’t necessarily play up to the way we expect ourselves to play.”
The Tigerettes had plenty of players who made notable, game defining plays throughout the game and the week.
“Kamryn (Gibbs) had two home runs and kind of carried us the first four innings,” Langston said.
“Zanady Coronado had a big at bat that she worked for a walk after seeing several pitches, that I felt kind of gets overlooked. Sam Gatica hit a grand slam that kind of finished (Brownfield)” he said. After her grand slam, during the sixth, you felt the air come out of Brownfield’s dugout and the stands. We’ve been without Nata Soto, but she came back and got to run bases on Saturday. She kind of got us a little spark early on to earn a run there.”
Though Langston didn’t see the bets of the Tigerettes against Brownfield, there were plenty of plays the team made that have him hopeful for the rest of the season.
“So, I mean, we felt afterwards that we didn’t play that great,” Langston said. “But at the same time, there’s a lot of little things that we did well and that’s exciting, because it’s the little things that separate the good teams from the really good teams.”
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, UIL has suspended games until March 29, something Langston says could be a benefit and a detriment.
“We’re pretty banged up,” Langston said. “We have a few little injuries that two weeks off will hopefully help us with. At the same time, Kamryn Gibbs is hitting the ball really well right now. We had a few big bats on Saturday. You can kind of see things starting to click. So, you always worry about taking some time off.
“We planned on practicing this week for a couple of days, but UIL came out today and said no practices until (March) 29, so that kind of changes everything.”
Langston said he hopes the time away doesn’t keep the team from returning to good form once they get back into the season.
“That’s the thing with this time of year, the tournaments, you kind of find a routine you get into, and start to fine tune some of the things,” Langston said.
“So, we’re missing out on that. But (we’re) getting everyone healthy. We haven’t had a game yet where we’ve had everyone truly healthy. So, there’s some good things and some bad things, but we’ll just kind of keep our head down and keep fighting forward.”
Tigers drop game against New Deal; future games on hold due to outbreak
By Joshua Bray
The Slaton Tigers baseball team played against New Deal Lions on March 10, losing the game 7-2.
Coach Dilon Chancellor said that improper preparation and a lack of discipline at the plate allowed the New Deal to keep the momentum away from the Tigers.
“We had some pitching on our end and some good defensive plays to keep us in the ball game and give us a chance,” Chancellor said. “We just didn’t do our job at the plate but ended up scratching two runs at the end.”
Laz Galindo and Eli Perez had good performances for the team despite the loss, said to Chancellor, who added Perez helped keep the team in the game.
“(Perez) does a great job for us he goes out there and competes with everything he has and that’s what makes him good,” he said.
“He goes and attacks hitter from inning one and never lets off the gas. He’s special for this team he knows his role and he has bought in to every part of it like we’ve asked him to do.”
Chancellor said Galindo, a senior catcher, has been playing exceptional behind the plate for the team.
“It takes a tough guy to get behind the plate and be willing to do whatever it takes to save runs,” Chancellor said. “People don’t understand the job of being a catcher sometimes, but I feel like Laz has done a great job being coachable and the drive to want to be the best catcher in the district is there. Against New Deal, Laz never gave up (on) his teammate. Josh Chavarin gets on base and Laz comes up and executed a textbook hit and run.”
Chancellor said he and the Tigers are shifting their focus away from the loss and looking ahead towards District.
“It’s over now though,” Chancellor said. “We have to focus on District play. Every kid is batting a 1.000, every pitcher has a 0.0 ERA, all the errors are all erased. It’s time to get focused on District play and go chase Gold Gloves.”
Chancellor shared his thoughts on what the key to success will be for District games once they finally roll around.
“The key is believing in our motto ‘Punch In’,” Chancellor said. “Knowing that we have showed up every day and punched in and outworked everybody so therefore we are more battle tested. Yes, we are going to have to play good baseball the hitting, fielding, pitching etc. but the real thing is, can you out scrap the team across from you? It’s going to be a 14 round boxing match, nothing will be easy, but I believe we have the guys to survive all 14 rounds.”
The University Interscholastic League has suspending all sports from March 16 to March 29, according to a SISD Facebook post that was originally posted by UIL.
Chancellor said that due to the suspension of games until then the team has been forced to make some changes in terms of how they get ready and how to approach District games.
Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Chancellor and the Tigers look to be optimistic in these unprecedented times.
“It also allows us time to spend with our families and enjoy every moment with them. Time is valuable. The good Lord knows what he is doing, and we will continue to buy in and trust in his plan,” Chancellor said. “We’ve agreed as a team and a staff this suspension gives us an opportunity to recover and build this brotherhood a little tighter before we hit District play. We will be ready.”
Given the COVID-19 outbreak delayed sports, possibly for the rest of the year, Chancellor said it also reminds the Tigers not to take the time they get to play for granted.
“Most importantly, our kids know how blessed they are to still have the opportunity to still play the game,” Chancellor said. “We need to play for those who don’t have that opportunity anymore because of this virus. We are just grateful. The kids know we are on a suspension and we are taking the positive from this time not the negative. We know our Lord and Savior is at the center of this baseball team, so we have stayed faithful during this time.”