Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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20180402 Baseball VVHS vs SHS LG-24Legendary major league baseball player, coach and manager Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

While Berra was referring to the 1973 National League pennant race at the time he uttered this quote, it applies extremely well to the seasons of four Big 7 baseball teams today. That’s because while the majority of high school baseball teams across the state of Texas have seen their seasons come to an end, teams like the La Joya Coyotes, the Mission Eagles, the Sharyland Rattlers and the Pioneer Diamondbacks have earned the right to keep playing on.

That’s because despite the fact that two of those teams are playing under first-year coaches and one of those teams had never posted a winning record prior to this season, the Coyotes, Eagles, Rattlers and Diamondbacks have all qualified for post-season play.

With the first round of the UIL state playoffs being played this weekend, let’s take a look at how these four teams got where they’re at as well as whom, when and where they’re each playing in the bi-district round.

Sharyland Rattlers
It’s been three years since the once dominant Sharyland Rattlers made the playoffs. The return of head coach Bart Bickerton last year seems to have helped the Rattlers, who at one point had three consecutive undefeated seasons under Bickerton, return to their winning ways.

Their 12-4 record this season earned the Rattlers second place in District 31-5A behind the 14-2 Valley View Tigers. Winners of five of their last six games, the Rattlers are on a roll as they go up against the 9-5 Edcouch Elsa Yellowjackets in the bi-district round of the playoffs this weekend.

Game one of this best-of-three series was played last night in Edcouch. Game two is scheduled to be played tonight at 7 at Sharyland High School. If necessary, game three will be played at Edcouch tomorrow at 12:30 pm. The winner of this series will play the winner of the Corpus Christi Calallen vs Floresville series in the Area round of the state playoffs.

Pioneer Diamondbacks
In their first three years of existence, 2015-2017, the Pioneer Diamondbacks baseball team had a combined record of 7-33-0. With 5-11 being their best season during that three year span, the Diamondbacks, and their new head coach Casey Smith, entered this season looking not only to improve on that record but also to do what no other Pioneer High baseball team has ever done, make the playoffs.

While it did not come easy, Pioneer managed to put together a 9-7 District 31-5A record this season which earned them fourth place, just one game ahead of Laredo Cigarroa and Martin. As a result, the Diamondbacks clinched the fourth and final playoff spot in the district and as a result, they will be participating in post-season play for the first time in school history.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that as the district’s fourth seed, Pioneer will be going up against District 32-5A’s top seed, the 14-0 Brownsville Veterans Memorial Chargers in this weekend’s bi-district round of the playoffs. This best-of-three series kicked off last night with game one being played at Brownsville Veterans Memorial High School. Game two is scheduled to be played tonight at 7 at Pioneer High School and game three (if necessary) will be played tomorrow at a time and location to be determined later. The winner of this series will play the winner of the San Antonio Harlandale vs Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial series in the Area round of the state playoffs.

Mission Eagles
Last year the 5-7 Mission Eagles baseball team missed out on the playoffs by one game in the standings. This year the Eagles put together an 8-4 record which was good enough for a second place tie with the La Joya Coyotes in District 30-6A. That record included a stretch in which the Eagles won eight out of nine games. While five of those wins were by only one run, good teams find ways to win close games and that’s what the Eagles did to earn their way into the playoffs.

Regardless of how well the Eagles did in close games during the regular season, if they don’t bring their A game against their bi-district round opponents, the 10-4 San Antonio Southwest Dragons, chances are that they won’t be advancing into the second round of the playoffs. Game one of this best-of-three series between the Eagles and the Dragons was played last night at Corpus Christi Calallen High School. Game numbers two and three (if necessary) are both scheduled to be played today, also at Calallen High School; game two at 4:30 pm and game three at 7 pm.

La Joya Coyotes
For the second year in a row, the La Joya Coyotes baseball team posted an 8-4 record and finished the regular season tied for second place in District 30-6A. Last year the Coyotes were tied with the Palmview Lobos. This year they’re tied with the Mission Eagles.

Even with a first-year coach, Mario Flores, at the helm, the Coyotes are the only Big 7 baseball team to make back-to-back playoff appearances this year. Will the 2018 version of the Coyotes be able to avoid the first round playoff loss that the 2017 version suffered last year? Only time will tell. But if La Joya is going to advance into the second round of the playoffs this year, it will be at the expense of the 10-4 Eagle Pass Eagles.

Game one of the best-of-three playoff series between the Coyotes and the Eagles is scheduled to be played at 7 pm tonight. Game two is scheduled to be played tomorrow at 2:30 pm and game three (if necessary) is scheduled to be played 30 minutes after the completion of game two. All the games in this series will be played at the Laredo SAC.