By CLINT FOSTER
CHINA SPRING – With a walkoff area championship on their resume, it seemed almost as if the Mineral Wells Lady Rams were the team of destiny. But up against their most daunting obstacle, the Lady Rams fell just short and were unable to achieve all they had hoped their season could be.
The greatest season in Mineral Wells softball history came to an end Saturday afternoon, when the Lady Rams lost a 5-2 decision to the second-ranked Liberty Hill Lady Panthers at China Spring High School, just northwest Waco.
At 28-10, the 2014 Lady Rams were the winningest softball team in school history and matched the deepest playoff run in school history, reaching the regional quarterfinals for the second-straight year.
In their final hour, the Lady Rams gave District 8-3A champion Liberty Hill all they could handle – even falling essentially one pitch short of putting themselves in a position to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.
But it wasn't meant to be and, ultimately, it doesn't remotely take away from what was nothing short of a fantastic season for Mineral Wells by any measurement.
"I'm just extremely proud of them," head coach David Tarver said of his team. "People wrote us off this year. We graduated our two and four [hole] hitters and part of our middle – our catcher and second baseman – that were responsible for so many runs and 11 home runs last year.
"A lot of people wrote us off and these girls came out here and proved them wrong. They came out and showed what they were truly made of. The biggest thing they showed is what a team can do."
Unlike the slugfest that was game one on Friday, game two began as an intense pitching battle. Sophomore Kelsey Keeton dueled with Liberty HIll as both teams were held scoreless through the first three innings.