CORPUS CHRISTI — Three different Weslaco High players hit home runs as the Panthers blasted past the San Antonio Brennan Bears 16-3 during Game 1 of a best-of-3 Region IV-6A final series Thursday at Cabaniss Softball Field in Corpus Christi.

The victory moves Weslaco High within one game of a return to the state tournament for the first time since 2016.

“I thought our girls did well,” Weslaco High head coach Mario Rodriguez said. “We took advantage of the situation and the opportunities that were presented to us. I’m proud of the way the girls went up there and put up some quality at bats. It was just a good game.”

The Panthers wasted no time setting the tone for the contest, with Clarissa Mejia driving home three runs with a bomb to center field to make it 3-0 early in the first inning.

Weslaco High wasn’t done yet, adding another five runs to take a commanding 8-0 lead through the top of the first.

“We were just trying to get our quality at bats in,” Rodriguez said. “I didn’t expect for us to score that much in the first inning, but we took advantage of the opportunity presented and I’m proud of the girls for that.”

The hits kept coming for the Panthers over the next five innings, scoring in every run except the third following the dominant start.

A solo home run by first baseman Elizabeth Craig during the top of the fourth put Weslaco High up 10-3, with Andrea Ortiz driving in another run to put the Panthers in position to run rule their opponent.

Weslaco High did just that, with Ortiz driving in two more runs during the fifth, followed by a three-run bomb by Ema Galvan moments later to seal the victory.

The Panthers will look to close out the series at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Cabaniss Softball Field in Corpus Christi. Game 3 of the series is set for 11 a.m. Saturday if needed.

“I think all that experience our girls have acquired from their freshman year to now, they’ve used it,” Rodriguez said. “Our seniors have been around for a while and played in some big games and I think it has paid off for us. But one game does not carry over into the next one. We always talk about that. Our job right now is about what we do from right now until we come back onto that field tomorrow. That is going to determine how ready we are for this next game.”

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