By CLINT FOSTER
FORT WORTH – After a historic victory over the Kennedale Wildcats, the Mineral Wells Rams (13-9, 4-1) were flying high and sitting all alone atop the District 6-3A standings. But a trip to Fort Worth quickly brought the Rams back to earth as they lost to the Castleberry Lions, 4-0, at Castleberry's Camp Carter Baseball and Softball Complex, Friday night.
With the loss the Rams now find themselves in a three-way tie for first place in district with the Lions and the foes they conquered to end the month of March: Kennedale.
"We just didn't get it done," head coach Bret Barrick said after the game. "I thought the kids played hard. The effort was great. The attitude stayed positive the whole game.
"The bottom line is we're still in first place. Kennedale and Castleberry both have to come to Mineral Wells, so the district championship still has to come through Mineral Wells.
"We're not right where we wanted to be, but in a way, we really still are. We wanted to be in first place after the first round and we are. We just happen to be tied with two other teams. If we take care of business in the second half, everything's going to be okay."
The Rams' offense stalled against Castleberry and failed to deliver a win despite a gem of a pitching performance from senior Chris Rapp. The righty pitched a complete game, bookended by four scoreless innings, and struck out 12 batters while only allowing four hits, one walk and one earned run. Rapp also broke out of a bit of a hitting slump, going 2-for-3 from the plate – good enough for half of the team's hitting production.
Playing without leaders Colby Kissinger and McCain Mason, the defense struggled to make plays for Rapp when they needed them most.