Archive for April, 2009

Resiliant Mats control playoff destiny with two to play

April 22, 2009

If there’s one thing that can be said about the 2009 Seguin High School baseball team, it’s that this group of guys is NOT ready to have its season come to an end. 

With two games remaining on the District 27-4A schedule, the Matadors are tied with Kerrville-Tivy for the fourth and final playoff seed in the district.  Both teams have 5-5 records against 27-4A opponents. 

Without a pair of scrappy, hard fought seventh inning rallies in district games, Seguin wouldn’t be in its current position.  On April 3, the Mats trailed New Braunfels-Canyon 5-2 going into the seventh and scored five runs in the final frame to come back for a 7-5 win.  On Monday of this week, Seguin trailed Boerne-Champion 4-2 after six-and-a-half innings and plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh to knock off the district leading (at the time) Chargers 5-4. 

In both games, the top portion of Seguin’s lineup found a way to reach base and get rallies started after struggling throughout the game prior to the final inning.  And in both games, the Mats got clutch performances from the same two players in the bottom part of the order.  Jared Curnel, batting in the 7-hole, drove in the tying run against Canyon and Champion, while Donald Fennell, hitting in the 8-hole, delivered the go ahead RBI in each contest. 

Another common theme in both of those comeback wins was the bulldog like persistence of Seguin starting pitcher Jacob Nieto.  He fought off shaky early innings in each contest to keep the Mats in the game, looked stronger as the innings went by, and recorded complete-game wins against each opponent. 

At some point in every post-game interview I’ve done with Seguin head coach Curtis Hosek, he’s said something akin to “These guys aren’t going to quit – they aren’t going to give up.  They might get knocked down, but they’ll get back up.”  Those qualities – scrappiness, resilience, toughness, relentlessness – have shaped the identity of this team. 

Now – let’s look at the race for those playoff berths in 27-4A – Seguin has two games left: at Cibolo-Steele this Friday at 7:00 and home vs. Canyon next Friday at the same time.  Tivy, tied with Seguin in fourth place, hosts Clemens this Friday and wraps up the schedule with a visit to Boerne-Champion next Friday.  Canyon, one game ahead of Seguin and Tivy at 6-4 in district, visits Champion this Friday and of course comes to Seguin in the season finale.  Exciting times over the next eight days in that district.  Looking at the top three teams in the standings right now, Alamo Heights is in first place at 8-3, and Champion trails by a half game at 7-3.  Finishing in first or second place is an extreme long shot for Seguin, but third or fourth are very attainable.