McALLEN — Twenty-two teams from across South Texas entered this weekend’s McAllen ISD Baseball Tournament.

Only one managed to go 6-0 to win the whole thing.

The Rio Grande City Rattlers completed a perfect run through the McAllen tourney and capped it off with a 16-7 statement win over Corpus Christi Calallen in the gold bracket championship game Saturday at McAllen High School.

“It’s a great tournament. We’ve never done as good as we have today, but that’s the kind of team we have this year and we’re expecting a lot more,” Rio Grande City head coach Rock Cortinas said. “We did a really good job defensively, pitching-wise, scored runs — it was a combination of all three phases and I’m very happy, very pleased.”

Much like the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, the RGC Rattlers kept the hits coming against Calallen, finishing with 18 total in the championship game.

Trailing 4-1 during the bottom of the third, Rio exploded for five runs and followed it up by hanging six more on the Wildcats during the fourth. And they never looked back as eight different Rattlers recorded RBIs, led by Chris Cantu’s three.

“Hats off to Calallen. They have a great team, but we just worked together and kept hitting the ball,” RGC’s Marc Perez said after blasting a two-run homer against Calallen. “We just kept each other up and going. If one of us hit a ground ball or struck out, we don’t get down; we just hype each other up so we can keep hitting the ball as hard as we can.”

Rio Grande City Eden Barrera (17) get to first as Calallen first baseman (7) is late on the tag during the championship game at Ted Uhlaender Field McHi on Saturday, Feb.29, 2020 in McAllen. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor |dlopez@themonitor.com

The Rattlers could potentially face Calallen in the postseason, so they were motivated to show what they could do early in the season.

“We’re ready to compete against anyone. We don’t care who we face, if they’re throwing 90, throwing 80, it doesn’t matter, we’re ready to compete and take them down,” RGC junior Eddie Garza said after a 3-for-5, 2-RBIs game against Calallen. “One through 19 is blue-collar on this team. We’re ready to compete, we’re ready to go out there and win.”

RGC’s Yael Montemayor was named the top defensive player of the tournament, and AB Garza was named its most valuable player. After committing an early error in the field, Garza wanted to make things right for his squad. And he did precisely that by ripping a triple which sparked the Rattlers’ huge third and fourth innings.

“I made an error, so I had to make up for it,” Garza said. “I went up to the plate and my mindset was to get a single, but I ended up hitting a shot to the gap and got me a triple. Next at-bat, my teammate comes up and brings me in, and that’s the run I gave up right there.”

Rio Grande City Eden Barrera (17) and Ab Garza (9) close in on a loose fly ball by Calallen during the championship game at Ted Uhlaender Field McHi on Saturday, Feb.29, 2020 in McAllen. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor |dlopez@themonitor.com

Rio’s Mike Ramos got the start and struck out seven and allowed just three runs in five innings. He also drew one walk, collected one hit and scored one run at the plate.

In order to qualify for the championship game against Calallen, the Rattlers had to go through District 31-5A rival La Joya Palmview. Rio was ready for the challenge, however, and pulled through with a 13-2 win over the Lobos to advance to the Gold Bracket final against Calallen.

In four of Rio’s six tournament games this week, they scored 10 or more runs — a strong start to the season for the Rattlers, who are now 7-0 this year.

SILVER BRACKET

Sharyland Pioneer took home the Silver Bracket Championship after a 10-9 walk-off win against Weslaco High at McHi. Pioneer’s Isaiah Gomez stepped up to drive in the game-winning run on a base hit to left field that scored Evan Maldonado. Juan Rivera (1-0) picked up the win as Pioneer finished the McAllen ISD Tournament with a 4-1 record. Weslaco High earned its way to the silver championship by winning a 14-10 shootout against McAllen Rowe to start the day.

bramos@themonitor.com