MISSION — The Sharyland High Rattlers topped crosstown rival Sharyland Pioneer 11-3 on Tuesday to even the season series between the two and create havoc at the top of the District 31-5A standings.
After being no-hit by the Diamondbacks (24-3, 10-2) during their first meeting March 26 at Pioneer High School, the Rattlers (23-3, 10-2) responded with a dominant performance on their home field.
Despite allowing two earned runs during the third inning, Sharyland High senior right-handed pitcher Kiké Cienfuegos was in the zone on the mound, as he scattered nine hits and three walks over six innings, while striking out six. Jesus Alarcon closed things for the Rattlers with an eight-pitch seventh inning.
With the Diamondbacks in comeback mode trailing by two runs during the bottom of the fifth, Sharyland High sophomore third baseman Cole Gerlach shot down their hopes with a bases-loaded three-run double to put the Rattlers ahead 8-3.
The Rattlers picked up three more runs during the bottom of the sixth inning on RBIs by Victor Sanchez, Diego Zuniga and Jose Acosta to create the final 11-3 margin.
Saul Soto finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs for Sharyland, while Gerlach had a 2-for-4 game with three RBIs and one run scored.
Sharyland Pioneer was led by Angel Larranaga at the plate as he finished 2-for-4, with two RBIs and one run scored.
The Rattlers win knocks off Sharyland Pioneer from their tie for the No. 1 seed in District 31-5A, leaving the McAllen High Bulldogs (22-4, 11-1) in prime position to win the title with two games remaining in the regular season. The Rattlers and Diamondbacks are now tied for the No. 2 seed in the district and one game back of McHi.
Sharyland High has an opportunity to knock off another district leader when they take on McHi on Friday, potentially creating a three-way tie for the No. 1 seed in 31-5A.
The Rattlers and Bulldogs are set for a 7 p.m. start Friday at McAllen High School. The Rattlers will end 31-5A action with a home game against PSJA Memorial at noon Saturday.
Meanwhile, Pioneer will close out its regular season with games against PSJA Memorial and McAllen Memorial on Friday and Saturday, respectively. First pitch against the Wolverines is slated for 7 p.m. Friday at PSJA Memorial High School, with the game against McAllen Memorial scheduled for noon at home Saturday.