Albert Santos IV delivers the pitch in the Rattlers home game last year. San Marcos comes into the season with major expectations after qualifying for the playoffs last year before falling in Bi-District.
Daily Record Photo by Gerald Castillo
Rattlers enter season amid high expectations
San Marcos started their season far from home as the Rattlers made the trip to Houston to participate in the 1st Pitch Varsity Tournament in Pearland and finished with a 2-3-1 record.
Though the Rattlers played some of the toughest teams in the Houston area including the No.1 ranked Pearland Oilers, head coach Bryan Webb knew the team had a few mistakes they could work on.
“We played some of the best teams from Texas,” Webb said. “We have a lot of kinks and wrinkles to work out. We played some great baseball against some great teams but we also had some major wrinkles we have to iron out. We had some major bloopers against those teams which you can’t give up extra opportunities to.”
Though the results were not exactly what San Marcos wanted to see, Webb now knows what the Rattlers can work on with more games on the horizon.
“When you go into playing Top Ten teams every day, you learn pretty quick how your offseason went and where your practice schedule was,” Webb said. “I think we are right on schedule but there are some things we need to tighten up on.”
Although the Houston trip was long and playing against the top teams in the state was difficult, it was off the field experience and analysis on the field Webb was focused on.
“We have an experienced team but what you are trying to do is build a bond,” Webb said. “Being in Houston, we are in a hotel room and everyone is with each other for about three and half days, day in and day out. You are also trying to build depth, seeing key situations, and observing different kids in different spots. You know who your starters are but you can’t play a 40-game season with just nine guys so you are seeing your starters, your bullpen, look at a couple of backups in key spots … you are just trying to see who your guys are that you will be able to count on late in the season and playoffs.”
One of the positives coming off the tournament was the Rattlers defensive prowess.
Being a strength of the team carrying on from last season, San Marcos was able to keep the majority of the teams off the scoreboard.
“We played some real solid defense,” Webb said. “Our pitching staff was pretty solid for the most part … we came back with an ERA under three against these teams while turning double plays and throwing runners out from the outfield so I was really impressed with the defense which is our staple.”
One of the focuses of improvement for the Rattlers is limiting the amount of base runners that were stranded.
“Offensively we got some key hits in important situations but we also left a lot of runners on base,” Miller said. “We have to keep working on scoring those runners and two out hitting. That is something we have to work on.”
Team has high expectations
The Rattlers are coming into this season with high expectations following a third place finish in district before falling in the yBi-District round against Round Rock Westwood.
Much like their counterparts on the hardwood, the team is stocked with talent with multiple players having signed with Division 1 schools such as Texas State, Tarleton State, and Texas A&M Corpus Christi to name a few.
Players share close bond
Similar to the record breaking basketball team, the baseball players have a close bond with one another.
“These are home grown kids,” Webb said. “I’ve known them since they were three and their parents my entire life since I’ve been here. This is a tight knit group who hang out together, spend the night at each other’s houses, go eat together, and are just really close with each other … We have been talking about this group since they were 10 years old about making a run and winning a state championship which is the goal.”
Though having a perfect record is nice, Webb is more about improving the team as the team looks to meet their loft goals.
“We don’t need to be undefeated right now in this part of the year,” Webb said. “We can learn a whole lot from losses and see what we can improve on. If we left that tournament undefeated, I would have been happy but also worried that we were not getting better. Being 2-3-1, I know where we are at and what we need to work on.”
San Marcos returns to play Tuesday for the home opener before press release.
cmcwilliams @sanmarcosrecord.com Twitter: @ColtonBMc