Lady Hounds set to face South San Antonio in area-round series

SAN BENITO — With one playoff win already in their back pocket, there is still plenty of work to be done for the San Benito Lady Hounds.

Last week fans witnessed a cool, calm and collected effort from the purple and gold in a bi-district series sweep of Edinburg Vela.

San Benito will look to carry that momentum into tonight’s tilt against South San Antonio in the Class 6A area round.

The best-of-three series will be played at Sinton High School. Game 1 kicks off at 7 p.m. today, Game 2 is set for 11 a.m. Saturday and Game 3, if necessary, will follow 30 minutes after Game 2.

The Lady Bobcats, who won District 29-6A with a 24-3 overall record, is led by third-year head coach Raymond Castillo. South missed the playoffs in its first year under Castillo, but has clinched a postseason berth in consecutive seasons.

Much like last week’s challenge against Edinburg Vela’s Naomi Reyes, San Benito’s hitters will face an offspeed pitcher in senior Alyssa Montes. The senior ace has posted an ERA of 2.31 along with 50 strikeouts, and turns to the changeup and curve as her go-to pitches.

“The kids hit the ball well against Vela and we are hoping that continues this week,” said San Benito coach Kristy Leal. “South San Antonio has great pitching so we have worked on some things this week to prepare for that. Her (Montes’) offspeed pitch is going to be key; that’s her go-to pitch and I think the kids have prepared for it.”

It’s not clear who will start for the Lady Bobcats in Game 1, but San Benito will turn to either sophomore Sarah Garcia or senior Diandra Padilla.

The Lady Hounds will look to continue its patient approach at the plate combined with timely hitting. Against Vela, San Benito run ruled Vela in both Game 1 and Game 2, outscoring Vela 23-1. San Benito also combined for 18 hits.

“It’s no time to let up or take it easy,” said Leal. “We have been working hard all season long and that will continue throughout the playoffs. We have prepared well and this week has been another good week of practice heading into this weekend.”