It was a rollercoaster weekend for the Apaches as the won a pair of games, but also dropped a pair of games in the Jimmy Appelt Classic in Hallettsville, with Gonzales defeating Schulenburg and Killeen Shoemaker and losing to Hallettsville and Shiner.
“Obviously, [Hallettsville and Shiner] are historically good teams, but I’m excited to see the progress that we’ve had,” said Coach Beaux Gipson. “Excited for the boys. I feel like we’ve got something special happening, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
The Tribe opened play on Thursday evening by taking a come-from-behind win over the Schulenburg Shorthorns, 4-3. Schulenburg wasted no time in jumping out to the lead with a run in the top of the first inning. The Shorthorns added two more runs to take a 3-0 lead, while shutting down the Apache offense.
That lead would last only until the bottom of the fifth inning, when the Apaches cut the lead to a single run, with a two-run outburst. Gonzales would complete the rally with two runs in their half of the sixth for the walk-off win, as the game was called due to a time limit.
Jarren Johnson started on the bump for Gonzales and worked four innings before he was relieved. Johnson surrendered all three runs on only three hits, but struggled with command, as he walked five and struck out six.
Kason Tieken entered the game in the fifth and closed it out to earn the win. Tieken threw two shutout innings, allowing only one hit and one walk, while striking out one batter.
The Tribe managed only four hits in the game, but it proved to be enough, as they were aided by seven walks. T.J. Riojas, Brady Barfield, and Paul Deleon were each 1-for-3 with a run scored, while Carson Gaytan was 1-for-1 with a run scored. Barfield, Joe Canales, Jr., and Jared Cook each drove in a run.
There was a quick turnaround, as the Apaches played the host team, Hallettsville, in the second game of the night. The Brahmas proved to be unfriendly hosts, as they knocked around the Apaches in an 8-2 decision.
Hallettsville went up quickly, 6-0, with a run in the first, three in the third, and two in the fourth inning, as they collected 12 hits in the game against Canales, the Apache hurler, who worked the entire contest. Gonzales struck back in the top of the fifth, scoring both of their runs, but could get no closer. The Brahmas put the game away with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Canales was tagged with the loss. In addition to the eight runs on 12 hits surrendered, he also struck out four. Canales and Barfield had the lone hits for the Tribe, with Barfield collecting the only RBI.
On Friday, the Tribe battled the cold, the wind and the Shoemaker Wolves, coming away with an 11-3 come-from-behind win. Sam De La Garza got the starting nod and found himself in trouble early, as the first two batters reached base via bloop singles. Both runners would come home to score on sacrifice flies, but De La Garza settled into a rhythm and held the Wolves to only the two runs.
The Apaches went to work in their half of the first. Barfield reached on a dropped pop fly and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Johnson, cutting the Wolves lead to 2-1. An unearned run crossed the plate in the top of the second on a wild pitch by De La Garza to make the score 3-1, but the Wolves would be shut out the rest of the way.
Gonzales began its rally in the bottom of the third inning when back-to-back RBI singles by Cook and Johnson tied the game at 3-apiece. The Apaches went ahead to stay in the fourth inning. A sacrifice bunt attempt by Riojas was thrown away by the Wolves, allowing Deleon to come around to score. The next batter up, Canales, drove a pitch over the wall in right field for a three-run homer to give the Apaches a 7-3 lead, but they weren’t done, yet. Barfield reached base for the third time in the game, moved to second on a wild pitch and came all the way around to score after the throw from the catcher was misplayed.
The Tribe tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the game on ice. Cook drove in his second run of the game with an RBI single, and Johnson drove in his third and fourth runs with a double to dead center that banged off the 20-foot high fence.
De La Garza worked five efficient innings, allowing only the three runs (two earned) on two hits to earn the win. He walked no one and struck out one. Steven Maldonado entered the game in the sixth and closed out the contest, retiring all three batters he faced.
The Tribe hammered out 11 hits, including three going for extra bases. Eight different Apache batters had at least one hit, with Cook, Barfield and Johnson collecting two each.
In Saturday’s finale, between the two tribes, it was Shiner who was able to make the timely plays that led to the victory. The Apaches had traffic on the basepaths in each of the first two innings, but couldn’t find the hit needed to drive in the runs.
Shiner was able to plate a run in their half of the first on a single just past a diving Johnson at first base. The Comanches threatened to add more in the second, but Cook was able to make a play from his shortstop position to hold a runner at third, and Riojas’ quick reaction on a wild pitch led to the runner getting tagged out at home.
The Apache defense faltered in the third, as a pair of errors led to a run, and Shiner strung together a pair of two out doubles to put the game away in the bottom of the fifth, plating three and pushing the score to 5-0, which was the final marging.
Gonzales only had three hits in the contest, singles by Dubose and Barfield, and a double by Johnson. Gaytan went the distance on the hill, surrendering five hits and four earned runs, and walking four.
The Tribe has won six of their last eight and are showing signs of improvement, both at the plate and in the field.
“It’s all the kids’ work,” said Gipson. “They’re coming in every day, putting in the work.”
In the midst of a six-game homestand that started Tuesday afternoon against Smithville, Gipson said the goal is continued improvement and preparation for the upcoming district campaign.
Gipson summed things up with one simple sentence, “It’s back to work on Monday.”