SAN BENITO — What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? You get Harlingen South vs. San Benito.
Tonight’s District 32-6A softball clash features two of the Valley’s heavyweights and two of the top teams in the league. Both Harlingen South and San Benito enter tonight’s game with a 3-0 conference record and are in a three-way tie for first place with fellow power Weslaco High.
A loss tonight will not determine the outcome of the district race, but the winner will gain momentum heading into the midway point of the league season. The Lady Green Birds enter the friendly confines of San Benito and will lock horns at 6:30 tonight.
“It’s a big game, but in our district every game is a big game,” said Lady Hawks coach Elias Martinez. “We’re going to go out there and give it everything we’ve got because there are no gimmie games. We’re going to continue to fight like we have all season.”
Both offenses are on a roll through the first three league games. The Lady Hounds have outscored their opponents 46-5 while the Lady Hawks have outscored theirs 41-6. Senior Joanna Gonzalez has been one key factor to the Lady Hounds’ offense and has plenty of big-game experience.
South’s heavy hitters come from the top of the order with Kaitlynn De La Fuente, Krystal Gonzales and cleanup hitter Kytana Muniz, all of whom can provide power and produce runs. Meanwhile, leadoff hitter NatashaCanales provides the speed for the team.
“The thing I tell the younger girls is to have fun, that’s the main thing,” Gonzalez said. “Since it’s such a quick turnaround it’s important for us to stay on the same page and stay focused. There isn’t too much of a difference with us having just one day to prepare; we just need to be ready and stay prepared.”
Pitching has also played a strong role for both teams. De La Fuente has stymied opposing offenses in each of her starts. Her only blemish came against Brownsville Hanna on Tuesday.
The Lady Hounds, meanwhile, turn to either Sarah Garcia, who is a seasoned veteran, or the freshman arm of Megan Cavazos to take the circle today.
Like the Lady Hawks, San Benito has the fire power at the plate and on the field with veterans like AJ Jasso, Megan Ybarra and Deztiny Hernandez.
“We’re excited to be a part of a tough district,” Hernandez said. “As a senior we help show the younger girls what the tradition is and how we do things here in San Benito. It’s going to be fun and intense. We have prepared well and are ready for the challenge.”
First-year coach Denise Lira has the Lady Hounds prepared despite the short week and has the team clicking through the first few months of the season.
“The kids are prepared for tonight,” Lira said. “This wasn’t something that just came up, we already had all this planned, but the girls are ready to go and they knew what the schedule was going to be like, and have done a good job on taking it one day at a time.
“Our veterans have been calm all week because they know what to expect and we’re playing for outs and we will control the things we can control. Tonight is very important; a win will give us breathing room toward the end of the first round of district play, but again we try and stay in the same mindset and that’s to take it one day at a time.”