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How Rattler Baseball’s 2022 season led to the Playoffs

The San Marcos High School Baseball team had a roller coaster of a regular season.

As every Baseball season does, the Rattlers went through the ups and downs of playing top-level 6A baseball in Texas. The purple and white’s first test of the year began in Dallas. San Marcos traveled north to compete in the DFW Clash, an early season tournament home to some of the state’s best competition — including last year’s state champion, Rockwall Heath, and state runner-up Keller.

San Marcos had its share of lessons throughout the weekend going 2-4 overall. Despite the tournament not being a “winning” weekend for the Rattlers, their two wins were impressive to say the least. The purple and white opened the tournament beating 6A powerhouse Frisco Wakeland 6-2, and then shut out defending state champion Rockwall Heath in an 8-0 slugging during their third game of the tournament.

The Rattlers finished off preparing for district with their final home tournament of the year in mid-March, matching up with the likes of Cibolo Steele, Seguin, Norman (Ok.) and Antonian Prep.

“I think we’re ready (to go into district). I think we’re ready to go kick some butt,” sophomore infielder Dylan Nunez said. “Honestly, I just think that it’s a mental thing for us. I think we try to put too much pressure, we try to be the hero, when we just need to go in there and do what we need to do.”

The Rattlers ended non-district play with an 8-9-1 record. San Marcos may not have not had the most impressive win-loss total, but what mattered to the purple and white was the quality of their competition before having to face the likes of powerhouses Lake Travis and Austin Westlake in district 26-6A.

San Marcos opened district play with competition right out the gate, matching up with Austin Westlake in their first series of the season. The Rattlers fell 6-0 and 5-1 against the Chapparells, starting their district record at 0-2.

“They’re sad and disappointed that they lost, but they competed, they competed hard,” head coach Bryan Webb said. “(The) breaks didn’t go our way, balls didn’t fall where we wanted them and that’s baseball. Until we get them to start doing the little things right they’re going to fall against us. We’re heading in the right direction. (Westlake’s) a good team, they’re 12 and two, they’re a top 15 team and they exploited our weaknesses tonight.”

The Rattlers then moved their attention to district and cross-county rival Buda Hays. The purple and white were able to get back on track against their rival sweeping the Hawks with two 2-1 victories.

San Marcos switched their attention to Austin High after Hays, in a series the purple and white expected to sweep. Unfortunately for the Rattlers, after beating the Maroons 3-2 in game one, San Marcos would drop their second game of the series in a 9-4 five-run loss.

The Rattlers would have to do some soul searching over the weekend, as well as getting some stern lectures from the coaching staff. The tough weekend would ignite the fire San Marcos needed, propelling the purple and white to 8-0 and 8-3 victories over Del Valle.

The difference for the purple and white was their approaches in the batter’s box.

“We kind of talked (about our approaches),” sophomore infielder Kutter Gage Webb said. “We get up there and we start trying too hard and (if) we just go up there and relax and do our job we’re all pretty solid, pretty good ballplayers. So we go out there and we do our thing we’re gonna be alright.”

“We just gotta go up there with the right attitude, and (be) throwing haymakers. Just gotta swing and swing hard,” junior outfielder Major Pellien added.

The Rattlers’ resurgence would set up a crucial series for the district rankings, with San Marcos and Austin Bowie heading into their matchups with an identical district record with both teams tied for third place. The purple and white would lose a heartbreaker in game 1, giving up a 5-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning to extend the game. The Rattlers would eventually fall to the Bulldogs 8-5 in the ninth inning, in a game the purple and white believe should’ve been over in the seventh.

As they’d done before, the purple and white would bounce back from adversity, going on the road and dominating Austin Bowie 6-0 just before Easter weekend.

San Marcos would finish up district play in their final two series with the bottom of the district in Austin Akins and the top in Lake Travis. The Rattlers would take care of business against the Eagles, sweeping Austin Akins in 5-3 and 13-0 contests. The purple and white would fall to Lake Travis in both games, falling 2-0 and 10-0 in their matchups.

The Rattlers’ finish to the season would propel them to the 6A Texas High School Baseball Championships, securing the fourth spot in district 26-6A with an 8-6 district record. The purple and white will match up with district 25-6A’s champion, Round Rock Westwood, in a three-game series starting May 6 at 6 p.m.

“We’ve seen (Round Rock Westwood) a couple of times (and) they’re scrappy,” Webb said. “They play hard, they play the game the right way (and) they’re coached well. You know, they’re in a tough district over there and they had to beat some tough guys over there. So they’ve persevered the whole way and it looks like they know how to handle adversity. We’re gonna have to play good baseball when we get over there next week and do what we do. We’ve been really inconsistent all year. We’re gonna have to fix those inconsistencies, or we’ll be done quickly. But you know, our guys are scrappy, too. 

“So we’re gonna go in and play our game. Our opponents, they are who they are. And you know, if they’re better than us, let’s make them better than us. Let’s (not) give them anything and that’s kind of how we’re gonna prepare next week.”

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