HARLINGEN — It looked as if the Harlingen Cardinals had turned the momentum in their favor after cutting a 5-0 Harlingen South Hawk lead to just two.
However, it wasn’t meant to be as the Hawks scored eight runs in the top of the seventh to put away the Cardinals 13-4 and clinch the District 32-5A championship Tuesday night at Harlingen Field.
Up two in the top of the seventh, South’s Nick Garcia hit an RBI double to bring in Anjel Gonzales and then scored himself after an error on a throw to third.
Six more runs would score in the inning and pitcher Jacob Atkinson would finish the game despite a couple of mound visits by South Coach Tony Leal.
“Our defense played outstanding. Our shortstop, our outfielders, our pitching; everybody played outstanding. That’s what it takes to beat a team like Harlingen,” Leal said. “Jacob Atkinson wanted the ball tonight and Nick Garcia came through in a big time way; it’s uncanny.”
With the win, South (13-2) clinches the district title outright and is two games ahead of the Cardinals (11-4) with a game to go.
South hosts Los Fresnos Friday night and the Cardinals face Brownsville Hanna.
On Tuesday, South jumped out to a 5-0 lead after Nick Garcia drove home Daniel Perales on an RBI triple and scored on a Zack Martinez sacrifice fly, the Hawks were in the driver seat up 5-0.
“It was a good game. I have been in a slump, but I came up big today. The energy was great and we came out fighting hard,” Garcia said. “The atmosphere was fun and I will do anything to be out on the diamond with these guys. They’re like my brothers.”
The Cardinals struggled to drive home runners, leaving eight stranded throughout the night.
However, in the bottom on the fifth, Harlingen’s Ricardo Garcia brought in Ernesto Anciso and would later score on a Cristian Cervantes RBI single that also scoredStephen Gasca to bring the score to 5-3.
However, the Hawks would explode in the top of the seventh with eight runs to put the game away.
Despite the inning by the Cardinal lineup, South’s Atkinson pitched five scoreless innings on the night with four strikeouts.
Garcia finished the night with two hits, two RBIs and scored two runs.
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