There are times in the athletic arena where a bad loss can make a lasting impression on a team for either the good or bad during a season.
After the Borger Bulldogs suffered an 18-8 loss to the Perryton Rangers back on April 2 there was the big question of how the Bulldogs would regroup in order to stay in the hunt for the District 1-3A title or potentially find themselves just settling for the third playoff spot when the season came to an end.
Bulldog Head Coach Steve Ribera knew the importance in having the team bounce back by getting his players focused before the April 5 game with Pampa by saying, “I just tried to make them believe they are the best team in the district and we needed to play like that for the remainder of district play and find a way to get on a roll.”
Perhaps it is due to a combination of Ribera’s words and the bad loss, but there is no question something lit a fire under the Bulldogs as the team has put on an offensive showcase the past three games.
The team has put up 39 runs, that includes 13 homeruns, to outscore their opponents by an average of eight runs on their way to taking the District 1-3A lead.
While the coach has had expectations for his team to put runs on the scoreboard all season, the recent outburst has been a pleasant surprise to Ribera who said, “Every batter from 1-6 has hit a homerun this season, so I felt we had that kind of power from a few of them, but have been pleasantly surprised lately and pleased with their approach at the plate the last few games.”
Ribera added, “It is the Panhandle and the wind does blow but it has blown out for both teams.”
During the recent hot streak, the Bulldogs were finally able to break through a nagging hurdle by finally getting a win over Perryton. For the past three years, the Rangers have seemed to have Borger’s number even though the argument could have been made that the Bulldogs were the better team in the bulk of those games.
Even though this is Ribera’s first season leading the Bulldogs, the head coach understands what the win meant for his club saying, “I just think it helped our kids mentally. That was a big hurdle for them and getting the win should go a long way for the rest of the season and their confidence.”
While the Bulldogs are in first place, the team knows it cannot afford to relax with Pampa and Perryton sitting just one game behind going into tomorrow’s contest.
Tomorrow the Bulldogs will host the Pampa Harvesters at 2:00 p.m. with Ribera expecting a focused Pampa squad coming into town saying, “Pampa will want to come in here and get themselves back in the hunt for the district title. So we have to be ready to fight to keep the district lead.”
With Dalhart still winless in district play, a win by the Bulldogs tomorrow over Pampa will clinch them a district playoff spot as all four district teams will enter the third round of district play on Tuesday.