Lions finish fourth in Lion Baseball Classic
By Alonzo Garza
The Varsity Lions hosted seven teams at the annual Lockhart Lion Baseball Classic tournament from Feb. 26-28 and finished in fourth place after three days of baseball.
The St. Stephen’s Spartans claimed first place in the tournament. The Lehman Lobos took second place and the Fort Worth Christian Cardinals took third.
The Lions finished in fourth place after playing one game on Thursday, two on Friday and one on Saturday.
Thursday’s game was the easiest victory for the Lions. They outscored the Austin LBJ Jaguars 14-2 in four innings. The “10 run rule” ended the game.
“Thursday night we had a good showing,” Assistant Coach Brad Robbins said. “We played four innings, came out swinging and ended on top with the 10 run rule.”
Friday’s games were a different story for the Lions. They fell 3-0 to St. Stephen’s and tied St. Michael’s Crusaders at 5.
“When we played St. Stephen’s on Friday, we fought hard throughout the whole game and still it ended at 3-0,” Robbins said. “We just couldn’t get a base hit when we needed one.”
The Lions played well against St. Stephen’s despite the loss. They kept the Spartans’ runs to a minimum with strong pitching and solid defensive plays.
“All Brian Martinez had at the beginning of the game was a curve ball,” Robbins said. “He did well, but had a hard time spotting his fast ball. He gave up a couple of errors, which led to a couple of runs. We turned to Jacob Castillo and he was as solid as always. Jacob shut them down.”
The Spartans’ pitching was the biggest obstacle for the Lions.
“We couldn’t get a break,” Robbins said.
Friday night’s game against the Crusaders showed how hard the Lions were willing to work to stay in the game.
“We ended up falling behind 5-1 in the second game on Friday,” Robbins said. “It was tough, but the kids fought hard and came back. We keep preaching to them to keep fighting and they did. They scored four runs in the last inning to tie 5-5 and then won on the tie breaker.”
Saturday was by far the toughest day for all of the tournament finalists. The temperature dropped at least 20 degrees in a short span of time. Winds began gusting up to 40 miles per hour. Swirling red dust from the diamond got into spectators’ eyes and made the tall fence behind the catcher sway hard enough to make people move.
Still, the teams played on.
“We played well on Saturday,” Robbins said. “We got off to a good start. We were ahead 3-0 early on and… then, again, we couldn’t get the hits we needed to fight on.”
The Lions fell 9-3 to the Fort Worth Christian Crusaders in the last Lion game of the tournament.
“The Athletic Booster Club would like to thank all the sponsors, parents and community as a whole, for supporting the varsity tournament,” Athletic Booster Club President Rebecca Juarez said. “It was a great success. We had a great turnout and could not have done it without the community’s help.”