By CLINT FOSTER
Mineral Wells sports fans will no doubt remember how their beloved Rams baseball team saw their season end May 2.
After a brilliant District 6-3A championship season, Mineral Wells was primed for a deep playoff run with a quality pitching staff and bushels of late-game offensive magic.
With a matchup against a Vernon squad in the first round that squeaked into the playoffs with just two district wins, at least a bi-district championship appeared well in hand.
But it was not to be.
As is the University Interscholastic League's rule when coaches disagree on whether to play a single game or a best-of-three series in the postseason, Mineral Wells' season rested almost purely on a coin flip.
The underdog Vernon won the flip, elected for a single game at a neutral site and pulled off a 5-3 upset to advance to the second round and end Mineral Wells' season with a thud.
After watching countless talented Mineral Wells seniors mourn the loss of their final game in a postseason that was once brimming with promise, one thought immediately came to mind: why in the wide world of sports does the UIL allow such injustice as a coin flip to all but determine the fate of a team's season?
Don't get me wrong, I love a good upset as much as the next guy, but isn't the primary focus of a playoff system to ensure that the best teams advance, not to mention reward certain teams for great regular seasons with favorable playoff scenarios? Apparently, I'm not alone in my thinking.
"I think it's pretty simple: the best team is going to win a two-out-of-three and the purpose of the playoffs is to get the best teams through," Mineral Wells head baseball coach Bret Barrick said. "I'm just not a big fan of the one-game series. In order to make it to Austin and win a state championship, you've got to have more than one pitcher. In everything else, in college, pros and everything, you're not going to get there with one pitcher, it's a series."