May 15, 2011
The exchange told plenty about the fourth-ranked Rattlers’ success this season. O’Neal, a first-team All-Heartland Conference selection, was handing the reigns to the league’s Co-Pitcher of the Year.
What the scene didn’t tell? That three more award-winning pitchers still remained at the Rattlers’ disposal in the dugout.
Yes, the Rattlers’ seemingly never-ending supply of pitchers paid dividends over the weekend, as St. Mary’s completed its perfect showing in the conference tournament with an 8-3 victory over St. Edward’s in the title game at V.J. Keefe Field.
“All of our starters are excellent,” said O’Neal, a graduate of Clark High School, who is the Rattlers’ No. 3 hurler. “You can’t beat them.”
St. Mary’s (45-8), which went 3-0 in the tournament and owns a 16-game winning streak, now turns its attention toward the South Central Region Tournament, which the Rattlers hope to host from Thursday-Sunday. Advancing to regionals for the second straight year, St. Mary’s entered the week ranked No. 1 in the region.
RE-WATCH THE RATTLERS’ VICTORY!
Left fielder Derek Moczygemba and right fielder Jason Garcia both homered against the Hilltoppers (27-24), helping the Rattlers cruise after seeing St. Edward’s tie the game at 2-2 in the fourth.
A five-run seventh inning saw the Rattlers explode to a 7-2 advantage, while Garcia’s solo blast made it 8-2 in the eighth.
Moczygemba finished 3 for 4 with one RBI and a run scored, while Garcia drove in two runs and scored twice. First baseman Tyler Migl and catcher Ryan Morrow were named Tournament Co-MVPs.
O’Neal, who threw nine innings of no-hit baseball before yielding one hit in the 10th inning of a no-decision the last time he faced St. Edward’s, improved to 6-3 on the season. He struck out five and walked one in 8 2/3 innings of work.
The showing underscored the point that dominated the conversation throughout the tournament: There’s seemingly no end to St. Mary’s pitching depth.
O’Neal ranks behind aces Matt Holland and Greg Herbst in the rotation, forming a trio that combined to occupy three of the four slots awarded to starting pitchers on the First-Team All-Heartland Conference awards list. Also available are reliever Kyle Bumpas, a second-team selection who is 7-0 on the year, starter Skye Severns (7-0) and Rivas, who owns a .24 ERA.
“It’s great trying to outpitch our No. 1 and No. 2 guys,” O’Neal joked. “We kid around and try to get Pitcher of the Week, and try to outdo what the other guy did.”
O’Neal had his turn Sunday.
All-Heartland Conference Tournament Team:
IF: Tyler Migl, St. Mary’s
IF: Ryan Morrow, St. Mary’s
IF: Austin Wooldridge, Texas-Permian Basin
IF: Taylor Johnson, St. Edward’s
OF: Paul McCoy, St. Edward’s
OF: Derek Moczygemba, St. Mary’s
OF: Billy Richard, St. Mary’s
P: Carl O’Neal, St. Mary’s
P: Landon Patterson, St. Edward’s
At-large: Ryan Giacomini, Texas-Permian Basin