The Santa Fe Indians continued their recent spate of hot hitting Saturday afternoon, mashing out 12 base knocks in a 8-3 win over the Texas City Stingarees.
After a loss to Fort Bend Marshall last week, the Indians literally broke out a broom Saturday to celebrate a clean sweep this week against fellow playoff contenders Fort Bend Elkins, Ball High and Texas City to get back in the District 23-5A title conversation. In the three wins, Santa Fe outscored its opponents by a combined score of 24-7.
“After the Marshall game, we talked to them about this being kind of a playoff series, these three games,” Santa Fe head coach Ronnie Wulf said. “If we could get out of this with two out of three, we’d be in good shape, and we played well enough to win all three of them.”
Helping the Indians’ cause was excellent production from the bottom of the lineup, with the No. 7-9 hitters going a combined 6-for-12 with four RBIs and two runs scored — led by third baseman Bryce Montemayor’s 3-for-4, three RBI, one run outing.
“I’m doing a lot better than I was earlier in the season,” Montemayor said. “I wasn’t really struggling, but I just wasn’t hitting it as good as I am now.”
Santa Fe got the scoring starting in the bottom of the first inning with catcher Josh Blankenship’s RBI single, which plated second baseman Tyler Martin (leadoff single).
After designated hitter Colton Scott reached base on an error and a walk was drawn by first baseman Blaine Nelson to load the bases, Montemayor chopped a single through the left side of the infield to score courtesy runner Landon Thompson for a 2-0 lead.
The Stings managed to tie things up in the top of the second, and for a few moments thought they took a three-run lead during a bizarre moment of umpiring.
Second baseman Andrew Doyle smacked a single to left field to drive home designated hitter Michael Herrera (leadoff single), and another run scored on an error to tie the game, 2-2.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Santa Fe right fielder Tucker Mica appeared to make a great diving catch to end the inning. But, neither of the umpires made an out call, and Texas City sent three runners home during the confusion before the out call was eventually made.
Santa Fe grabbed the lead for good in a two-run bottom of the second. Center fielder Wade Perkins got a two-out rally started with a single shot into left field, and then starting pitcher Drew Shaver laced an RBI triple into the gap in left-center field. Shaver then scored on a passed ball for a 4-2 lead.
After Montemayor reached on a two-base error in the bottom of the second, Mica dropped a single into right field to push the Indians’ lead to 5-2.
The Indians capped their scoring in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run double smashed into the left-center field gap by Montemayor and an RBI single hit through the left side of the infield by pinch hitter Cole Hertenberger.
In the top of the seventh, Texas City starting pitcher Christian Moya lined an RBI single just beyond the grasp of a leaping Montemayor at third base to plate Doyle (leadoff walk) for the Stings’ final run of the game.
Shaver picked up a workmanlike complete game win on the mound for Santa Fe, surrendering three runs (one earned) on seven hits and four walks with 10 strikeouts. Shaver retired nine straight batters in the third through fifth innings.
In addition to Montemayor’s big day at the plate, Perkins (2-for-4, three runs) and Mica (2-for-4, one RBI) each had multi-hit games for the Indians.
Herrera (2-for-3, one run) had a multi-hit for the Stings, and right fielder Drake Jackson and catcher Nicco Copado each had a double.
Santa Fe (8-3 in District 23-5A) will look to keep pace in the crowded district standings in its next game, which will be 7 p.m. Thursday at Galena Park (6-5). Texas City (5-5) also faces Galena Park next with a game 7 p.m. Tuesday at home.