NIXON — The Nixon-Smiley Mustangs hosted a tournament from March 1-3, winning two games with their third game rained out.
Nixon-Smiley 12, Runge 0
The bats came alive for Nixon-Smiley as the Mustangs opened tournament play with a 12-0 win over Runge in five innings. Sean Villanueva came away with the win, pitching all five innings, striking out seven batters while walking four and allowing two hits.
The biggest factor in the win was Nixon-Smiley’s combined 13 hits in four innings of batting.
“We finally started hitting the ball, putting balls in play,” Mustangs head coach Bobby Newman said. “In the first game we had, I think, two hits and 18 strikeouts. Second game out we hit the ball a little bit better. Third game out we put more balls in plays, started striking out less. [We’re] putting balls in play.”
Leading the way in hits was Devin Hester who went 3-for-4 with three hits, three hits and one run. Jason Yell went 1-for-3 with his two-RBI triple. Colby Newman, Xavier Arias and Chris Brown each had two hits.
Defensively, Villanueva played well on the mound with his seven strikeouts. The infield also came away with no errors.
“We had a pretty clean game,” Newman noted. “I can’t recall us making an error. Maybe a play or two we should have made. Defensively we’re doing pretty good.”
The win moved the Mustangs to 5-0 in non-district play.
Runge 000 00X X – 0 2 4
NS 231 6XX X – 12 13 0
Nixon-Smiley 13, Charlotte 2
Nixon-Smiley run-ruled another opponent, this time the Charlotte Trojans 13-2.
The Mustangs relied heavily on their bats as they out-hit the Trojans 11-2 in the contest. Colby Newman, Xavier Arias and Sean Villanueva all came away with two hits each. Devin Hester, Ricky Flores and Santos Pompa each had two RBIs.
On the mound, Arias pitched all five innings, striking out nine hitters while hitting one, allowing two hits and two unearned runs.
The win propelled the Mustangs to a 6-0 record in non-district play.
Charlotte 000 00X X – 2 2 3
Nixon-Smiley 016 6XX X – 13 11 1
Nixon-Smiley now enters district season with a seemingly deep pitching rotation, according to the head coach.
“We got five wins and five different pitchers that have got those wins,” Newman said before the Charlotte game took place. “I think that’s a good thing. We’ll settle down with probably a Tuesday and Friday rotation once district gets here, but early on, we’re seeing what we got.”
The Mustangs also have some move ins out of La Vernia who are meshing well, which has led to their early success.
“We’re young, but we’re experienced,” Newman explained. “We got four seniors, three of them started all four years, one of them started for three. The sophomores playing have started as freshmen, or have played a lot of innings as freshmen.”
“We got a lot of kids that’s played a lot of baseball,” he continued. “They rounded into form a little bit earlier than teams in the past. We got so many kids that’s played so much baseball in their lives, much less high school baseball.”
The head coach did warn that the team cannot bank on this early success, citing the athletes’ struggles in previous sports.
“We haven’t had a ton of success this year in football and basketball didn’t go the way we wanted it to go. They say don’t drink the Kool-Aid,” Newman warned. “We just got to come in and work every day and just keep getting better every day. If we get better every day, that’s all we can ask for.”