By Jacob Chavarria
The Slaton Tigers split their two games on the week as they ended the first half of District play going 1-1 in a close contest against Abernathy and a run rule win against Childress.
The Tigers fell to District leader Abernathy on Tuesday (April 6) evening 8-3.
In the first contest of the week the Tigers got out to an early lead against the Antelopes.
Coach Dilon Chancellor talked about the Tigers early run production and then about their struggles as they were held scoreless after the first inning. “In the top of the first we got two runners on and end up hitting a three-run home run by TJ Payne. Then we were just never able to get any runs after that,” he said.
Eli Perez saw the ball in his hands as he battled against the Antelopes. “Eli Perez did his job on the mound and he is going to continue to do that. We know on those days we throw him we have to go out and play solid defense behind him,” said Chancellor.
Despite the tough loss, Slaton didn’t let that affect their performance as they handled the Bobcats with ease and won the ballgame 12-0 in five innings to end their first round of District play.
A big first inning offensive performance by the Tigers was enough to seal the win as a strong pitching performance by Matt Vigil held Childress in check and scoreless.
Vigil went the distance and pitched five shutout innings in the run ruled game. He was able to not only blow the ball by the Bobcat hitters and gather strikeout but when the ball was put into play his defense was there to get those putouts.
With a great defensive effort, the lone 12 run inning in the first depleted any momentum the Bobcats had.
“Anytime you can put 12 in the first it kind of deflates your opponent and that’s exactly what took place today. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get more runs like we would like to in the other four innings, but it got us enough to get a good quality win against a good quality District opponent,” said Chancellor.
He challenged his squad to shift the focus from themselves and making it about the team, and they responded.
“The guys just rallied and something we’ve been talking about all week is finding a way to make it about the team and not yourself when we step in the box and that’s exactly what our guys did. We were able to scratch 12 runs in the first inning and Vigil was able to hold us down on the mound throughout the rest of the game,” said Chancellor.
Moving into the second half of District play the Tigers are sitting alone in third place with a 3-2 District record.
They will start the second half on the road as they traveled to Shallowater on Tuesday (April 12) in hopes of avenging one of their two District losses.
To end the week, Slaton will host Idalou on Saturday (April 17).
“We put ourselves in a good position moving forward into the second half of District and just looking ready for the second half,” said Chancellor.