GONZALES — The young Gonzales Apache baseball team struggled at the plate on Tuesday in their 6-1 non-district loss against the San Antonio Highlands Owls. The timely hit wasn’t there, and even though the defense shut out the Owls the last four innings, the Apaches were unable to take advantage during the offensive halves of their innings.
“We need to become a better adjusting baseball team,” first-year head coach Christian Cruz said after the game. “Me being new to this area, we’ve seen a variety of pitchers that throw fast and throw slow. Our thing is we don’t adjust very well. I think we’re very young, not so much as in age but as in baseball IQ. I think that’s something that we’ve got to learn to grow and I think we’re doing a lot better job than we did at the beginning. But in a game like this, you get a pitcher that maybe throws a little slower than most, a couple pitchers that throw slower than most, we got to do a better job of adjusting to pitchers like that. That’s the one thing that I can see.”
At the plate, the Apaches left eight men on base, combining for five hits and three batters reaching base on an error. Cesar Matamoros led the team in hits, going 2-for-3 with a double. Cameron Mileham, Paul DeLeon and Larry Gomez each had a single. DeLeon was the lone run for the Apaches.
Taking the loss was freshman pitcher Jared Cook, who allowed six runs in the first three inning, and was in a tough one-out bases loaded situation in the top of the third before striking out a batter then forcing a pop up to centerfield to stop the bleeding. Freshman Carson Gaytan came in for relief at the top of the sixth, striking out two, walking one batter and hitting another one.
“We had two freshmen pitchers come in and compete,” Cruz said. “We had a freshman behind the plate. We have another freshman at left field. We’re a very young baseball team when it comes to age. I think we started three freshmen, maybe four juniors and one senior. We’re young.”
Cruz went on to praise Gayton for his two innings of work, “coming in and being able to solidify those last few innings.”
“That’s what he’s been all year,” he continued. “It’s really an iffy situation when you have young pitchers, young kids come in and throw for you. But the one thing I can say about us this year is that we have had a lot of younger classmen step up and play a huge part in the season.”
The 6-1 loss is just one example of how the season has gone for the Apaches. Other than those two error-filled innings in the first and the third, the defense has been relatively clean. Cruz believes something “just clicks” with the players after a slow start.
“I think they catch their wind, they understand that they can compete with whatever teams are playing,” Cruz explained. “It just kind of being able to piece it together at the right time, being able to play defense at the right time, play offense at the right time — baseball to us is one of those things where we’re still learning. I think our kids, like I said, are just young in the baseball mind and I think it’s one of those things that they need to understand a swing of the bat can change everything. I think we figured it out, we just need to carry it on throughout the whole baseball game.”
The Apaches begin district next Tuesday against La Vernia. Cruz is using the rest of Spring Break as a way to wash away all the mistakes of the non-district season.
“All this stuff is fun, it’s being able to put the pieces together, but it’s all irrelevant until you get to district,” Cruz said. “Me being new to this area, new to this district, I have no fear on what’s upon us, what’s coming. I’ve heard the La Vernias are pretty good, I’ve heard the Cueros, the Navarros, everybody is good, on a certain day anybody could be good. The biggest thing for us is to eliminate whatever is in the past.”
First pitch next Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.
HHS 204 000 0 – 6 6 3
GHS 000 001 0 – 1 5 3