Diamondbacks return to playoffs hungry for state championship

Local Sports

SHARYLAND (KVEO) — Pioneer Diamondbacks’ 2019 high school baseball season was one for the record books. They made school history and represented the Rio Grande Valley in the state tournament, the first team from the RGV to do so in 12 years.

“It is motivating we feel the energy together like last year,” said sophomore catcher David Benitez.

Although they didn’t bring home a championship trophy in 2019, the Diamondbacks as a program were just getting started. They accomplished as much as getting to the tournament, for the first time in their school history of just five short years.

After having their season taken away in 2020 from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Diamondbacks took the diamond hungry for more this year. They won 21 straight games before falling to a talented McAllen High team, which would be their only loss in district play.

“We’re just hungry, we want it,” said junior infielder Oscar Serna. “We’ve been looking forward to this, people say we can’t do it again but it’s time to prove them wrong.”

Pioneer enters the playoffs as the two seed, they’ll face the three seed Porter Cowboys in the bi-district round. The Cowboys themselves have accomplished their own comeback feat this season, making it to the playoffs for the first time in 2015.

“They’re a good-looking team, not a team who makes many errors. We just have to play our hearts out and play how we usually do and hopefully come out on top,” said Serna.

Even with a year off though, this team hasn’t lost the feeling of competing in a state tournament.

“We wasn’t like practicing together, we were online mainly so at the beginning it was hard because I was a freshman and all that, but we’ve been doing great,” said Benitez.

Through all of the challenges thrown their way, this team has found a way to bond and begin a new journey to a state title.

“We can tell each other things,” said Serna. “We can criticize because we’ll take it the right way and we’ll just take it in a good way and get better from it.”

The Diamondbacks will travel to Brownsville on Friday night to face the Porter Cowboys in the bi-district round of playoffs at 7 p.m.

Game 2 will follow at Pioneer on Saturday at 2 p.m.

If a third game is needed, it will follow game 2 on Saturday.

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