Once upon a time, in a faraway 2006 universe, Bubba Anthony was a callow youth, new to the varsity as a freshman, and he got by on potential. Impressive from his first start, he just kept on getting better, always seeming older, wiser than his years.
Now that he’s a senior star, mature both in mind and body, the EHS left-hander is The Man, and knows what it takes to bring his team to victory.
Anthony creamed a first-inning grand slam against Econ Friday night, and struck out the side twice in combining with teammate David Fasci on a five-inning no-hitter on the road. The easy 18-0 whitewashing made the Bobcats 8-3 in District 31-5A and 19-5 overall. In a season that began with all kinds of questions after major graduation losses off the 2008 league champ, Anthony has been the answer all year long.
“I’d kind of been in a slump at the plate,” said Anthony, and one wonders what his definition of a slump is. “I was trying to do too much to help the team win. Today, I just saw the pitch real well and hit it good.”
In notching his seventh win on the mound, Anthony was impossible to hit, putting down the Jags (2-9, 5-18) easily, fanning the side in the second and third frames, yielding to Fasci, who scorched Econ with five K’s of his own in two innings.
Meanwhile, the Jags continued to struggle with the routine play, making four errors and yielding six walks from three pitchers. The Orange has won twice in league play this year and for the first time in four seasons have a chance to avoid a last-place finish.
But Friday was no contest, as the Bobcats banged out 13 hits, led by Anthony’s first-inning blast to left-center against freshman Sammy Alvarado and a four-RBI performance from outfielder Christian Alvarado. The Jags allowed 10 or more runs for the eighth time in 11 league games. They were no-hit for the second game in a row.
Edinburg, gunning for the playoffs now with three games left, plated four in the first, seven in the third and then closed it out as an array of fill-ins compiled seven more runs down the stretch. Spanky Rodriguez and Andre Cordova each drove in a pair, and first-year coach Robert Valdez praised his team afterward for its drive to the postseason.
“Nobody gave us much of a chance this year, with only three starters back,” he noted. “And you have to give credit to the kids, they have lived up to the tradition of the program, they’ve come in every day to work, and displayed their talents on the field.”
The ‘Cats, who scored a season-high for runs (it had been 16, the last time they played the Jags), have a shot at winning the loop if things work out, with Pharr North, Harlingen South, and Edinburg North left on the schedule. Valdez said that playoff seeding is not that important, and that his club is going to bring the fight to whomever the opponent ends up being.
“The magic number at the beginning of the year was nine,” he added. “We figured that nine district wins would get us in, and it looks like that is going to happen. The kids have taken to the system, done the little things they needed to do, and we’re satisfied with how things have gone so far.”
NOTES: North (8-3) held serve last week, winning over Econ and Pharr North, with J.D. Escobar tossing a no-hitter in the first game and hitting a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, in the second.
Econ assistant coach Aaron Guerra will not return to the Edinburg Coyotes this summer. The city product and UTPA grad will pitch for the independent minor league club in Schaumberg (Ill.) after three seasons with the ULB franchise in Edinburg. The Schaumberg Flyers compete in the Northern League, and one of their alums is Brad Ziegler, now hurling for the Oakland A’s.