The Runge Yellowjackets find themselves in the unusual position of playing in a hybrid baseball district with both Class 1A and 2A teams, but playing larger schools hasn’t been a disadvantage for the team, which has won the District 31-1A championship.
Led by Martin Martinez Jr., who is in his first year with RHS, the Yellowjackets are looking ahead to the playoffs following Friday’s contest against the Class 2A Woodsboro Eagles.
“It is a good experience and great learning environment for us playing in 1A-2A because my approach to this game is to play 4A, 3A, and 2A schools to prepare you for the second season which is post-season,” Martinez said.
The challenge of facing off against larger schools has left its mark on the Yellowjackets’ overall record, but the team is primed and ready to build on its experiences and make the most of its opportunities. Martinez said the team’s showing in the win-loss column is not a true reflection of its ability or potential.
“Our record now is 6-11 and our district record 1-3 but currently we are the 31-1A district champions,” he said. “We have won vs. Nordheim which is the only other 1A school in our district. Our overall record is no indication of the very good team that we have.
“The highlight of the season is when I told our team that we must all believe in each other and play hard every pitch and every out. The greatest challenge was playing a very good 4A Kingsville Brahmas team and winning 9-8, being down in that game and scoring five runs in the bottom of the fifth to get the win.”
Martinez had stops as a baseball coach in Robstown, Kingsville and Aransas Pass, and also coached softball in Beeville before coming to Runge. He said he is grateful for the chance to coach the Yellowjackets.
“First, I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity to be Runge head baseball coach,” he said. “Next, my family for all they sacrifice and letting me follow my dream.
“Next, our AD (athletic director) Coach Stephen Davis for giving me this chance to coach our team. Also all the staff and community for their support and being great fans for our team.”
The strength of the team is its senior leadership, Martinez said, and making the most of opportunities with just 13 players on the roster.
• Senior Daniel Mendoza, one the team captains who has 58 strikeouts as pitcher with a .415 batting average as of April 22.
• Senior Jason Aguilar Jr., another team captain and catcher, who has also has pitched and played infield. Jason has a .382 batting average.
• Senior Troy Reynolds, another utility player who has played third base, catcher, and shortstop. Troy has a .531 batting average.
• Senior first baseman Daylyn Arigullin, who has a .343 batting average.
• Junior Sabastian Reyna, who has played both outfield and infield for and has a .395 batting average.
• Junior Joe Fraga, the team’s centerfielder and a pitcher; he has a .364 batting average.
• Junior Gavin Gutierrez, the team’s second baseman through most games who has a .269 batting average.
• Senior Ramiro Torres, who has played all outfield positions and also has pitched. He has a .250 batting average.
Martinez said he is proud of the team’s accomplishments and looks forward to even more future success for the team.
“They have worked really hard and done a great job,” he said. “I’m so proud of them, and I think things will get even better.”