South Houston baseball snaps 21-game district losing streak with 9-1 win over Pasadena
Is this the new and improved South Houston High School varsity baseball team?
With nowhere to go but up after suffering an 0-14 campaign last spring to go with a 21-game district skid that dated back to April 7, 2017, the Trojans showed they want to hand the keys to the District 22-6A cellar to another team.
Pitcher Jon Saldana surrendered just three hits in going the distance as he led South Houston to a 9-1 romp over rival Pasadena in a 22-6A opener at Maguire Field Tuesday.
South Houston’s opening four runs were all scored without the benefit of a basehit, before the middle of the lineup drove in four runs with two doubles and a single as the Trojans gave Saldana plenty of runs to work with.
“That game right there for sure starts with Jon Saldana on the mound. Seven innings, one run. He pitched well. He gave us the best chance to win. We covered the field on defense and got some timely hits. That’s how baseball games are won,” South Houston head coach Michael Robbins said.
Saldana surrendered just three singles, walked two and hit three batters. Pasadena’s lone run, a score in the fourth, was unearned. Saldana forced the Eagles to strand five in scoring position.
Was there such a thing as a big out for Saldana? Kind of. With South Houston up 6-1, Pasadena loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth. Possibly an outfield gapper from making it a contest again, Saldana induced the seven-hole hitter to hit into a fielder’s choice to shortstop Micah Walker, who stepped on the second-base bag to end the threat.
Walker had a rough start defensively, but he rebounded nicely to make that play and record two more outs.
“We expect that from him. The rough stretch, the couple plays he didn’t make, it’s all about keeping your head down and continuing to work. If he’s not playing shortstop for us right there, I think they probably score more than one,” Robbins said.
Saldana was the recipient to a dazzling catch by left fielder Jaiden Correa to start the seventh. Correa raced into foul territory to make a sliding, sprawling catch off the bat of Uli Reyes.
“It was a big play for us. It continued to give us energy late in the game. We went up by a few runs and a lull kicked in. When he makes that play, everybody’s back with their energy,” Robbins said.
It was Correa who scored South Houston’s first run of the 22-6A race when he reached on a third baseman’s error, went to third on a shortstop’s error, before a wild pitch plated him.
Bryan Zavala was the losing pitcher and wildness on his part led to a second run due to a wild pitch. In the fourth, Manuel Gonzalez was hit by a pitch and two wild pitches later, the Trojans were on top 3-0.
Manuel Torres scored a second run in the third thanks to a Robert Romero sacrifice fly to left field.
Then in the fifth, the South Houston had the victory sewn up. Pasadena had gotten one run back but four of South Houston’s opening five batters reached base with three scoring.
Romero singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, Walker was hit with a pitch and traylon Ansley doubled home Romero. Andrew Arriaga also doubled, scoring Ansley. Sandwiched in between the doubles was a run-scoring bouncer back to the pitcher, who threw to first but the ensuing throw home was late.
Two unearned runs were tacked on in the sixth along with a Torres single to right field in the seventh that scored Gonzalez.
Jesus Nunez, Jonavic Deleon and Adam Cantu accounted for Pasadena’s three hits, all singles.
The Eagles had a defensive gem of their own when right fielder Matt Villanueva laid out to rob Romero of a basehit in the sixth.
South Houston is slated to return to action on Friday when the Trojans host Stafford on their field. Game time is 4 p.m. Pasadena will host Beaumont United at Maguire Field in a 7 p.m. game.