PSJA North continues unbeaten start with win over Sharyland Pioneer

PHARR PSJA North’s undefeated start to the season continued Friday night with a 12-2 victory over district rival Sharyland Pioneer in five innings at PSJA North.

The Raiders (14-0, 3-0) pulled away during the final innings, with their biggest frame of the night coming in the fourth, when they scored six runs on the visiting Diamondbacks.

PSJA North’s Emma Escamilla makes contact with the ball Friday night against Sharyland Pioneer.(Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Raiders head coach Albert Esparza said his team started a little slower than he would have liked, but they eventually figured out Pioneer’s pitcher.

“We were on the ball all night after that,” Esparza said. “When they made the sub I was worried about a dip in production, but they didn’t and hit the second girl just as well.”

Sharyland Pioneer attempt to put out a PSJA North base runner Friday night at PSJA North(Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

PSJA North’s Mandaly Ramirez, Alyah Perez, Emma Escamilla and Haley Martinez brought in runs to open up the game in the fourth and set up the possibility of finishing the game early in the fifth inning.

“I am very proud of us as a whole,” Ramirez said. “Everyone went out there and did their job, even if they were not playing. That was really important coming out here tonight.”

Ramirez went 4-for-4 on the night for the Raiders, and Martinez went 3-for-3. Both picked up hits during a three-run second inning for PSJA North.

Raiders freshman pitcher Raelyn Mancias picked up the win from the circle, only giving up two runs to the Diamondbacks. Escamilla came in to relieve Mancias. 

PSJA North’s Emma Escamilla in the circle Friday night against Sharyland Pioneer.(Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Esparza raved about his two freshman pitchers after the game, but wanted a little more run support early.

“We started kind of slow,” Esparza said. “A thing we talk about changing, is starting fast. We have the ability to come out fast, but we are letting teams linger around early. We want to show our teeth, be aggressive and come out strong. You never know when you have to do that in the playoffs.”

PSJA North’s Kristianna Luera running bases Friday night at PSJA North. (Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

The Raiders are ranked No. 9 in the latest Texas High School Girls Coaches Association state rankings and are the title favorites in District 31-5A after splitting the crown last season with Sharyland Pioneer.

PSJA North and Sharyland Pioneer split meetings last season, but PSJA North struck first this season.(Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

Pioneer’s Alysa Colon drove in both runs for Sharyland Pioneer. The Diamondbacks left a few runners stranded, especially in the early innings really pushing Mancias.

Pioneer’s heart of the lineup did not match PSJA North’s production on the night, but have the players capable. The Diamondbacks were the only team from District 31-5A to pick up a bi-district victory last season and return some key players, but lost others.

Sharyland Pioneer’s Alysa Colon smiles after driving in a run Friday night at PSJA North.(Andrew Cordero/Special to The Monitor)

PSJA North faces PSJA Memorial and PSJA Southwest next week as it looks to stay unbeaten. Sharyland Pioneer has another important game Tuesday when it faces McHi at 7 p.m. at home.