Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
RIVER OAKS – He was simply untouchable.
Retiring every batter he faced and allowing only one ball to leave the infield, Mineral Wells senior pitcher Matt “Moose” Tincher threw a perfect game to lead the Rams to a 17-0 whitewashing of Castleberry here Friday night in the District 6-3A opener for both teams.
Tincher, who retired all 12 batters he faced in a game called after four innings due to the district’s 15-run rule, also struck out five.
Castleberry grounded out three times and popped out to a MWHS infielder on three occasions. The lone ball the Lions hit out of the infield was a lazy fly ball to center field that was easily caught for an out.
“Everything was working for me,” Tincher said. “I felt good, and my arm felt as good as it has all year.
“It feels good to throw a perfect game. I had a no-hitter in the playoffs last year, but I have never thrown a perfect game.”
Rams head coach Bret Barrick said he was impressed with Tincher’s curve ball.
“He was throwing his curve ball for a strike, and he was just staying within himself and hitting spots,” Barrick said. “He wasn’t gassing it up; he didn’t have to. We played good defense behind him.
“He pitched smart. He had a big lead so he went out there and worked on his mechanics and concentrated on hitting his spots.
“He did a good job of working his curve ball inside and out, and he just got up there and competed.”
The Moose started out with a 10-run lead as the Rams swatted seven hits in the top of the first inning – including three extra-base hits.
For the contest, MWHS ripped 12 hits that included five extra-baggers. The Rams sent up eight batters in the opening frame before the Lions could record an out.
“We have struggled with our hitting – it’s been hot and then turned cold – and we talked about it in practice.
“We told the guys to go up and relax and to concentrate only on squaring the ball up and hitting it hard somewhere.
“We tend to over think hitting, and I told them when they get into the batter box that it is just you and the pitcher and to rely on the work they had put in during practice.
“The guys saw the ball and hit it up the middle. It feels good to be 1-0 (in district play).”
The Rams began their hitting assault when lead-off hitter Brandon Martinez lined a triple off the left-field fence.
The next two batters - Colby Kissinger and Tincher – walked to load the bases. Paden Patino followed with a bases-clearing double to left that gave the Rams a quick 3-0 lead.
Freshman starting catcher Braxton Allen followed with a double to plate Patino, and McCain Mason, running for Allen, scored when the next batter, Aaron Wheeler, singled to right to increase the lead to 5-0.
Kristian Santibanez was next and he singled, and the following batter, Bob Boudreau, walked to load the bases. Castleberry removed its starting pitcher after the free pass.
Back to the top of the order, Martinez stayed hot and singled to drive in Wheeler and Santibanez to extend the Rams’ lead to 7-0.
Boudreau, Martinez and Kissinger would also cross the plate in the frame as MWHS led 10-0.
After a long wait to get to the mound, Tincher showed no ill affects. In the first three innings he struck out four batters and never allowed solid contact.
The Rams added a pair of runs in the third for a 12-0 advantage.
Kissinger tripled with one out and advanced to third base on an infield hit by Tincher, who was replaced on first base by courtesy runner Sean McGuire.
Kissinger scored on a base hit by Patino – his fourth RBI of the game – and McGuire hustled home on an overthrow to second base on a Patino steal.
The Rams closed the scoring with five runs in the top of the fourth.
Dan Reay Turk reached on a walk and scored on a bunt single by Kissinger, and Kissinger scored later on a throwing error.
Martinez, McGuire and Patino also scored in the frame.
Tincher finished off Castleberry in the bottom of the fourth, and fittingly the final out came on a strikeout.