San Antonio – The party was quite literally getting underway with the St. Mary’s baseball team still in action Saturday, with tables and chairs being set up and food being cooked in preparation of the 10-year reunion for the 2001 national-championship team.
It all made for a unique afternoon for the current Rattlers, who were both hoping to impress the Rattlers of yesteryear while also maintaining their singular focus on the game at hand.
That they were able to beat Texas A&M International 6-3, thereby creating some breathing room atop the Heartland Conference standings, only made the festivities at V.J. Keefe Memorial Stadium that much more exciting afterward.
With most of the 2001 squad that won the NCAA Division II national championship on hand to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their crowning achievement, the modern-day Rattlers, ranked 13th in the nation, took care of business to improve to 18-5 overall and 13-2 in conference play.
“We’ve got a good bunch that’s a little older,” coach Charlie Migl said of his players’ maturity. “They understand some of those things, when to play and when to have fun.”
On Saturday, they were able to do both.
Junior shortstop Esteban Raygoza (San Antonio) drove in two runs and scored once as part of a five-run second inning that gave St. Mary’s an early 5-0 lead. Freshman pitcher Kyle Bumpas (El Paso, Texas) pitched five shutout innings in relief to pick up the victory and improve to 3-0 on the season.
The victory handed upstart A&M International its fourth conference loss, and gave St. Mary’s the 2-1 series edge after splitting Friday’s doubleheader.
As a result of their hard work, Migl gave his guys the next few days off as they prepare for Friday’s doubleheader at Angelo State.
In the meantime, the Rattlers were able to mingle with their predecessors Saturday, hoping to be paving the kind of path that might eventually lead to their own coronation.