By Jacob Chavarria
The start of District play is kicking off for the Tigers, but they had one final tune-up last week before opening District play last Saturday (March 27). In both contests they fell short by a few runs to both teams who are ranked highly in the State.
Their first close loss of the week came at the hands of the No. 2 ranked TAPPS Lubbock Trinity Christian Lions. The Tigers lost the home contest 10-8 to the Lions. Like their games throughout the season, their competition didn’t lack as they opened up 2-3A District play against the Shallowater Mustangs. In a much lower scoring game, the Tigers fell to the No. 6 ranked Mustangs 4-0.
Head Coach Dilon Chancellor despite the outcome of the contest liked the way his team played against Trinity Christian who are one of the toughest team in the West Texas area. “As far as our kids battling and competing to propel us into District play was everything we could ask for,” said Chancellor. “Anytime you can play those guys in a close and tough game it’s beneficial.”
“We came together as a team and had a runner on first base with the tying run at the plate in that game. We weren’t able to get some timely hits late and just couldn’t push a couple across.”
Slaton’s pitching staff has started to turn a corner over the last few games and despite giving up four to 10 runs in the last four ballgames have shown they can work to keep it close and give their team a chance to pull out a win.
“Eli Perez starting that one, Matt Vigil coming in behind him and then Zephron Ortiz coming in and closing that game for us,” he said.
“They are going to give us a chance to win anytime we put them out there on the mound.”
The pitching staff was able to maintain their performance heading into their opening District contest against the Mustangs.
It was errors that haunted the Tiger defense as Shallowater’s four runs were all unearned on three errors. That wasn’t all of the Tigers struggles as they also were unable to produce offensively.
“Realistically we’re where we want to be, obviously we wanted to win the game but anytime you can go compete 4-0 with No. 6 in the State of Texas and give yourself an opportunity that’s all we can ask.”
Despite the defensive struggles, the pitching staff for the game, comprised of Vigil who got the start and then Ortiz who came in relief, pitched well for their team.
“We had two pitchers – Matt Vigil who started it for us ends up going four and two-thirds, strikes out eight batters and keeps us in the ballgame. We then went to Zephron Ortiz and he had five strikeouts,” Chancellor said.
“We had a great conversation after that game and just taking it a day at a time and a game at a time.”
The Tigers will do just that as they work to stay the course as they continue on in District play.
As they take it one game at a time, they will travel to Idalou to take on the Wildcats Tuesday (March 30) evening and then finish the week with a home game on Friday (April 2) against the Roosevelt Eagles.
“District play is high intensity and the thing about District play is that anybody can win on any given night. A lot of teams didn’t expect us to go out and have a 4-0 ballgame against Shallowater but us and that’s who we are,” said Chancellor.