Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
It all comes down to this.
The Mineral Wells Rams' district championship dreams rest on their final District 6-3A game against the Castleberry Lions.
First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m., tonight, at Pratt Field.
If the Rams (16-10, 7-2) can defeat Castleberry in their second meeting, they will clinch first place in the district with the playoffs right around the corner.
The Rams can still clinch first place with a loss, so long as Kennedale loses their Tuesday matchup against none other than Mineral Wells' biggest District 6-3A rivals: the Springtown Porcupines.
But the Rams don't plan on leaving their championship up to chance, especially against the team that arguably dealt Mineral Wells its most agonizing defeat of the season to begin the month of April.
"We owe Castleberry a butt-whooping," Rams' center fielder Frank Jackson said.
The Rams fell to Castleberry 4-0 in their previous meeting in Fort Worth. A brilliant 12-strikeout, complete-game effort from Chris Rapp went to waste as the Mineral Wells bats simply could not get going and the Rams lost their first district game a mere week after a historic road win over Kennedale.
With two key players in Colby Kissinger and McCain Mason sitting out of that game for disciplinary reasons, the Rams feel like they didn't get a fair shake. Now, after stewing on the loss for almost a month, the Rams have revenge on their minds.
"Castleberry has it coming," Kissinger said. "They got lucky, to tell you the truth. We've got giant motivation going into this game."
Head coach Bret Barrick said the Rams had one of their best days of practice Monday, giving him reason for confidence on the eve of the big game.
“They’re real focused in on winning a district championship,” Barrick said of his team.
Barrick confirmed that Rapp will start on the mound for a rematch against the Lions and an opportunity to make one of his final regular season games a memorable one.
For the past three days, the Rams prepared for this moment with only a victory on their minds.
"We've got unfinished business," Barrick said. "We owe Castleberry. They got us at their place, but they've got to come to the home of the Rams. They've got to come to Pratt Field. We're going to defend our home turf. Tuesday night's going to be a lot of fun."