It appears that the sobriquet is an enduring one, good enough for the baseball Bobcats as it has been for the basketballers. Because Friday at The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg drove the Raiders of Pharr North crazy on the bases. Runnin’ Bobcats? Sounds right.
With four steals, three bunts, and a handful of other hustle plays, the ‘Cats improved to 4-1 in District 31-5A with a 9-2 win, rallying from an early 2-0 deficit to score seven times after the fourth and cruise to victory on the Big Field.
The daring exploits on the basepaths, combined with three infield hits and two bloopers down the right-field line, helped sophomore righty Sammy Alvarado to a complete game win. He struck out five and shut out the 3-2 Raiders after allowing a pair of runs in the first. The win puts EHS, now 13-8 overall, into second ahead of North with two games left in the first half; the team had Harlingen South Tuesday and then winds up the first half with a grudge match against rival North Thursday at home.
After Pharr North scratched for two in the first Friday, the Bobcats started the track meet off with Christian Alvarado bunting and reaching on a throwing error; he and Sammy Alvarado, who led off with a walk, moved up on an early sacrifice bunt from Derrick Soza, and the lead Alvarado scored on a wild pitch.
In the second, J.J. Balderas singled and stole second, and after Ricky Vazquez bunted him closer to home, he raced home on another errant toss from Pharr North lefty Ricky Campos to tie the game.
The game was knotted at 2 until the fifth when Edinburg plated three thanks to four base hits. Carlos Pena and Balderas beat out RBI infield singles after Christian Alvarado and Soza knocked clean shots to get on.
Pouring it on in the sixth, EHS got consecutive hits from Soza, catcher Aldo Zamora and Lee Rios to put it away.
“I think we ran the bases well tonight, we want to put pressure on the defense, make them have to make plays,” said Coach Robert Valdez, who battled with younger brother Ricky, an assistant with the Raiders. “We are trying to utilize what we have and make some breaks for ourselvesout there.”
Twice on Friday the ‘Cats drew bases-on-balls and the runner kept on going all the way to second on wild pitches, emblematic of the active night the team enjoyed on the dirt. Balderas, Christian Alvarado, outfielder Jeremy Salinas, and Rios all stole bases.
The coach lauded the effort of Sammy Alvarado, who allowed one hit an inning after the first but did not walk a batter from the second to the sixth. His defense played error-free ball behind him.
“Sammy had a lot to do with our win tonight,” Valdez said. “He pitched a clean game and after North started fast, we got going. We knew it was going to be a tough fight…every game in this district is like that. Now we just have to get ready for South Tuesday.”