Rio Sports Live

Lions look to keep rolling in region semifinal


KINGSVILLE – For the Santa Gertrudis baseball team, last week’s regional quarterfinal victory over Banquete was the first time the Lions won a third-round playoff in 24 years, dating back to their Kingsville Academy days.

Now, with a regional semifinals series against Columbus on the horizon this weekend, the senior-laden Lions look to continue a run that head coach Frank Galvan Jr. has been special and full of support.

“We have 10 seniors that have really stepped up and come out here with energy that has kept everybody up,” he said. “A big part has also been the community, our athletic director, administration; everybody has been behind us. That makes it even better, that makes it more fun. Our crowds have been big.”

The Lions come into the series with a clean mark in these playoffs, dispatching Goliad (20-3, 7-3), IDEA Quest (16-0) in area and Banquete (3-1, 5-2) in last week’s regional quarterfinals.

Something will have to give Friday night as the Columbus Cardinals come in riding momentum after decisive series sweeps over Universal City Randolph (12-2, 13-2), Lytle (2-0, 10-0) and a pair of 1-0 wins over Industrial in last week’s region quarterfinals.

The Lions understand there are no bad teams at this point of the playoffs, but after playing through a district containing London and Banquete, they feel they have the mettle to continue their run.

“Our district is super tough with all those respectable teams,” Santa Gertrudis third baseman Kolton Grigg said. “It’s hardened us and allowed us to get through these rounds of playoffs and eventually beating them, like last week against Banquete.”

“We know that Columbus is a good team; they’re in the fourth round for a reason,” senior second baseman Tony De La Cruz added. “We also feel good about our team. We trust our coaches and trust our teammates and know they’ll get the job done.”

The Lions and Cardinals will kick off their best-of-three regional semifinal series Friday night with Game 1 at Somerset High School, with the first pitch at 7:30 p.m.

Game 2 will be back at Somerset Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. with Game 3, if necessary 30 minutes after.

To this point, Galvan has trusted his team to come up strong in the big moments and they have delivered. Though, he believes there is a lot they have left to leave all out on the field.

“I’ve said it before, but your horses have to run in the playoffs,” Galvan said. “Your studs have to come out and play and they’ve done that. It’s been good and they have to run again. They have three more rounds to play and I think these guys have some stuff in their tanks that they need to let out and I’m looking forward to it.”

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