By CLINT FOSTER
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams (14-3) got everything they hoped for and more in the opening day of the Mineral Wells Tournament, Thursday, at Kessler Field. They swept the competition in a triple-header and dealt with a wide variety of situations, overcoming each.
The Lady Rams started off tournament play with a bang, routing the Weatherford Lady Roos, 14-0, in just four innings.
It didn't take the Mineral Wells offense long to get rolling. Three consecutive walks loaded the bases with no outs in the first, followed by an outfield error and RBI singles from Ali Stephens and Ashley Valdez.
By the time Weatherford could stop the bleeding, the Lady Rams had scored five runs in the first. After that, they never looked back.
As the Lady Rams built their lead, they quickly found themselves in a position to win the game by run rule. Up 9-0 with the bases loaded and one out, Victoria Huffman stepped up to the plate with a chance to effectively end the game. She delivered, smacking a two-RBI single to put the Lady Rams up 11-0.
For good measure, Hope Patterson crushed the ensuing pitch for a three-run homer over the center field fence, leading the officiating crew to call the game at 14-0.
Pitcher Kelsey Keeton turned in a masterful performance in the shutout, posting back-to-back 1-2-3 innings to start the game and a total of six strikeouts. Only three Lady Roos reached base against Keeton on a walk, a single and an error.
Playing shortstop and catcher throughout the game, senior Bethany Allen turned in the first of many solid performances, going 2-for-4 with a single, a triple and two walks.
Next up for the Lady Rams was a rematch against the only team that beat them in the Wichita Falls Tournament last week: the Iowa Park Lady Hawks. It was a test of adversity for the Lady Rams, who clawed back from a 4-1 deficit in the fifth inning to win, 5-4.