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Villareal is hyped and ready to help Bulldogs continue playoff run

Posted Date: 05/07/2024

Villareal is hyped and ready to help Bulldogs continue playoff run

Adrian Villareal’s career with the Alexander Bulldogs is nearing its end. However, if he continues to play like he did this past weekend, his career could be extended by several weeks. 

Alexander advanced to the second round of the playoffs as it swept San Antonio Sotomayor thanks to 5-3 win on Saturday. And Villareal was a big reason why the Bulldogs claimed the series sweep. 

“Adrian stepped up,” Alexander head coach Fernando Lemus said. 

In Saturday’s win, Villareal went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. He had an RBI triple in the second inning to give Alexander an early 1-0 lead. Then his RBI single in the sixth pushed the Bulldogs ahead, 5-3, and gave them enough cushion to win. 

Alexander was down 3-1 midway through its contest against Sotomayor on Saturday. It seemed as if the Wildcats would force a Game 3. For a senior, that could be a nerve-wrecking experience, knowing their career could potentially near its end. However, Villareal wasn’t worried. He knew he and his teammates would come back and win Game 2. 

“I was just focused on winning the game,” Villareal said. “There might have been a little pressure towards the end, but I was just focused on winning. I was confident in my team.” 

Lemus wasn’t too surprised by Villareal’s performance against Sotomayor, especially considering how the senior has been playing as of late. 

About a week and a half ago, Lemus and the coaching staff decided to move Villareal down a bit in the batting order to the No. 8 spot. And that move has paid off for Villareal and the Bulldogs. 

In the last four games at the No. 8 position, Villareal has gone 5 for 10 with two RBIs and three runs.  

“We kind of moved him down because it’s good for him because he gets to see a little more fastballs,” Lemus said. “He has big pop in his bat. He has a lot of pop in his bat. He had been struggling. 

“He has had a good week and a half. Hope this gets him going.” 

During district play, Villareal religiously batted in the middle of the lineup – anywhere from the No. 4 to 6 spots. And during league competition, he was fine. But he feels he could have done better. 

“Personally, I feel like I’ve done alright,” Villareal said. “As a senior, I feel like I could do better.” 

In Alexander’s 10 district matchups, Villareal hit .172 with three RBIs and four runs. So, the move down the lineup seems to have paid off for the senior and Bulldogs. 

Alexander is scheduled to face the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Bears in the second round of the playoffs. Game 1 is set for 6 p.m. Friday at PSJA while Game 2 is scheduled for 3 Saturday at Uni-Trade Stadium. Game 3 will occur 30 minutes after Game 2 if needed.

PSJA advanced as it swept Harlingen in the first round. The Bears dominated District 31-6A as they went undefeated. PSJA possesses a dominant offense as it has outscored its opponents 222-83 on the year. So, it will take everyone on Alexander’s roster for it to move onto the third round. 

The Bulldogs hope Villareal continues to hit like he has over the last few games. If he does, they like their chances to survive and advance.  

Villareal was crucial in Saturday’s win. He hopes to continue his recent play as Alexander aims to go deeper into the playoffs. And he’s confident that his performance this past weekend should spark him for the remainder of the postseason. 

“It gets me hyped up for the next round,” Villareal said of his play Saturday. “I am already confident. My confidence is up right now. I feel like I can help my team during the next round.” 

And if he plays like on Saturday, he will help the Bulldogs in the second round.