Lady Cats use strong start to rout Lionettes 16-3

LA FERIA — After a gut-check win against Raymondville earlier this week, Rio Hondo didn’t waste time on Friday night against La Feria.

The Lady Cats plated seven runs in the first inning and leaned on senior pitcher Abbie Alvarado en route to a 16-3 win in five innings.

With the win, the Lady Cats improved to 3-0 in District 32-4A play and will now meet Grulla on Monday then travel to Hidalgo on Wednesday.

“Getting into district play, we have a goal and that is to be the best team in 4A,” said Rio Hondo coach Brett Esparza. “That has been a goal we have been striving for, size or age doesn’t matter. The young girls we have right now are getting it done. They are starting to become believers and we got healthy.”

Nayeli Garcia got the offense going in the first inning with a leadoff single. Bianca Cruz got on base on an error, setting the table for Alvarado and Annie Torris. Both Alvarado and Torris drove in runs making it 4-0.

The Lady Cats sent 12 batters to the plate and was highlighted by a Garcia two-run single that pushed the lead to 7-0.

In the circle, Alvarado cruised through the first three innings, pitching a shutout along with a no-hitter. Alvarado’s first blemish came on a solo home run by Serena Rivera that put the Lionettes on the board.

Alvarado finished with five strikeouts through five innings of work while yielding just five hits.

“I executed my pitches and I thought I did really well,” Alvarado said. “I used my curve and rise ball much better tonight. I used my changeup and they got a hold of one and hit a homer, but outside of that I did well.”

Rio Hondo added to its lead with a pair of three-run innings in the third and fourth inning. In her second game back from an injury, senior Bianca Cruz continued to swing a hot bat. In her first game back against Raymondville, Cruz collected three hits and on Friday she went 1 for 2 with a run and RBI.

April Adames also made her return to the lineup Tuesday and on Friday went 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and run scored.

“We came to the park tonight ready to get after it,” Esparza said. “La Feria is a tough team and they’re a well-coached team. The first inning kills momentum for the other team and they (La Feria) hit the ball well, but it’s tough to come back after a seven-run first inning so we getting ahead early was big for us.”