HARLINGEN — Down 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth with two outs and runners on second and third, Harlingen South’s Robert Mejia stepped up to the plate and he said all he could think was: “I just need to make contact with the ball.”
The first pitch was a ball that eased the count in Mejia’s favor, but he got hold of the second pitch for a two-run RBI that brought the fans in attendance to their feet as the sophomore led the Hawks to their second win of the district season in a 7-6 victory over Weslaco East Tuesday night at Harlingen Field.
“Sometimes things don’t go our way but we keep playing,” said Harlingen South head coach Tony Leal. “We’re not terrible and I’m proud of what they did tonight, and of what we have done in the season, but it was just a matter of when are we going to get a break.
“We’ve been really close in all our games, tonight we just happened to make one more play than they did. We could have easily been on the other end.”
Mejia went 3 for 5 with three RBIs on the night.
“Robert is a good hitter and in fact before that last at-bat he came over and asked, ‘do I take’ and I said no, just go swing the bat,” added Leal. “He’s got a lot of confidence in himself and he hits the ball really hard, and tonight he had nothing to show for it, but when he hit I knew it was going to go over the center fielder’s head.”
Mejia was all smiles after the game.
“Coach told me to let my hands work and just swing at a good pitch,” he said. “Once I saw the ball head toward the gate, I thought to myself I could make it into a triple, but I didn’t know they we’re going to call it after the two runs scored.”
South scored two runs in the third, one in the fifth, two in the seventh and two in the eighth. The Hawks will take on BrownsvilleRivera on Friday at Brownsville.
The Wildcats scored one run in the first inning, four runs in the fifth and one in the top of the eighth. However, as coach Leal explained it could have easily been Weslaco East’s night.
With a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the seventh, with the tying run on base, Harlingen South’s Matt Zavala hits a hard ball in the direction of Weslaco East’s shortstop only to see Estevan Trujillo make a leaping jaw-dropping catch to keep the lead.
Nevertheless, the Hawks’ next batter up (Dylan Carreon) would hit an RBI to center field scoring pinch runner Chad Roberts to tie the game at 5-5 and send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Weslaco East retook the lead after Jaime Banuelos tripled then scored on 8-5 error throw.
“It came down to one play and it shouldn’t have come down to that,” said Weslaco East head coach Michael Brown. “We should have made plays that we should have made and we made errors that they countered on and that’s how we got beat.”
Weslaco East takes on Brownsville Hanna at home on Friday.