CORPUS CHRISTI (KVEO) – The Los Fresnos Falcons concluded their historic run in the Region 4-6A final in a 3-2 loss to the Smithson Valley Rangers.
The Falcons arrived at Cabaniss Field in Corpus Christi ahead of their 7 p.m. first pitch. Coach Rene Morales had his team warmed up and ready to battle one of the top teams in the state.
Soon, his team would also have to battle the elements.
“It was a long day,” Coach Morales said.
After allowing two runs on one hit and one error in the top of the first inning, Los Fresnos Ace Victor Loa settled in, pitching five scoreless innings. On the mound for the Smithson Valley Rangers, Senior Brandon Taylor impressed, holding the Falcons scoreless through five innings.
Soon, the Falcons found something.
The Falcons filled the bases on a pair of at-bats assisted by Ranger errors. With one out in the bottom of the sixth, the Falcons had the bases loaded with Junior Matthew Padilla at the plate.
Then the horn sounded, signaling a 30-minute rain delay. The initial thirty minutes would extend to nearly three hours before officials suspended play until 11 a.m. the next morning.
“We played for five-and-a-half innings and then the rain started to come down,” Coach Morales said. “I hope the kids sleep… I know I’ll be thinking about that one inning. We have five outs left.”
Bases loaded. One out. Falcons down two.
Junior Matthew Padilla stepped up to the plate to the roar of the Los Fresnos crowd.
The roars got even louder.
Padilla sent a shot to deep left-center. Though the ball was caught for the second out of the inning, Padilla’s efforts allowed one run to cross the plate. Jose Cervantes followed his teammate with a grounder to third, but a wild throw would allow the tying run to cross the plate.
Taylor would manage to put away the next two batters to leave the game all square heading into the final inning.
After hitting the Rangers’ first batter, Falcon relief Pitcher Aaron Sidney Moore would grab two quick outs. With two outs, the Rangers managed an RBI single to retake the lead.
The drama was far from over.
A leadoff single by Senior Catcher Jacob Sandoval set the tone. The Falcons, aided yet again by a few Ranger errors, loaded the bases with one out in the final inning.
Loa sent a shot to deep left on the ensuing at-bat, but the left fielder managed to secure the out while holding the Falcon runner steady at third base.
Padilla was up next.
The Falcon crowd erupted when the bat connected with the Ranger pitch, but the sound of the pitcher’s glove securing the grounder drew a roar from the other side of the stands.
“We had a chance, and we just didn’t come through tonight,” Coach Morales said. “Sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. Tonight we didn’t get that clutch hit when we needed it.”
The season ended in a loss, but the year was full of so many wins.
Before 2021, the Los Fresnos Falcon baseball team had never advanced past the third round. A win over the Edinburg Vela Sabercats secured history while a fourth-round win over Round Rock made it even more special.
“I hope this goes a long way to motivate a bunch of kids in the community,” Loa said. “It just shows how much fight there is in Los Fresnos and how much we deserve it.”
The Falcons complete a historic season with a 23-8-2 record, including an 11-3 district record and a trip to the regional final.