By TONY EIERDAM
Mineral Wells senior Matt “Moose” Tincher allowed one hit and struck out 11 and went three for four at the plate to lead the Rams to a 6-1 victory over the Diamond Hill Eagles Saturday afternoon in a District 6-3A game at Pratt Field.
The win keeps the Rams in second place with a chance to play for a share of the district championship this week, the final week of the 6-3A schedule.
The Rams will host Springtown at 7:30 p.m. today, and if they win it will set up a district-title showdown Friday at Kennedale.
“We expect that from Matt, which is sad because he pitched a great game, but we have come to expect that from him,” Rams skipper Bret Barrick said. “He pitched a great game and got his bat going.
“Diamond Hill is a tough team, and this was a big win for us.
“As a team, we hit the ball good enough to come away with a W.
“We will take any kind of win we can get right now, and we have put ourselves in good position to challenge for a share of a district championship, but only if we take care of business (today against Springtown).”
Tincher retired the first nine batters he faced before issuing a walk in the fourth inning.
The Rams led 2-0 at that point as Aaron Wheeler (single) and Paden Patino (sacrifice fly) each recorded a run batted in.
Diamond Hill recorded its lone hit on a towering fly ball to left field that got into the wind and could have been caught but fell instead for a base hit.
With the Rams leading 2-1, Tincher got in a jam in the fourth when he issued a second free pass. But the lefty retired the next two batters to get out of the hole.
The Rams added a pair of runs in the fifth. Colby Kissinger was hit by a pitch and Tincher followed with a hard base hit to left field. Tincher was replaced on first base by courtesy runner Sean McGuire.
Patino followed and drove in Kissinger on a fielder’s choice ground out. It was sixth RBI Patino has recorded in the past two games.
McGuire would score later in the frame from third on a wild pitch as MWHS extended its lead to 4-1.
Now with a three-run lead, Tincher struck out the first two batters in the sixth and forced another to pop out in the infield.
MWHS closed the scoring with two runs in the sixth. Krsitian Santibanez worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt. He scored on a single up the middle by Kissinger.
The next batter, Tincher, sent a rocket to left field for a double that plated Kissinger for a 6-1 advantage.
Tincher retired the side in order in the seventh to preserve the win.
By TONY EIERDAM
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