By TONY EIERDAM
GRAHAM – Graham smashed 14 hits and took advantage of Mineral Wells errors as Lady Blues cruised to a 10-1 win over the Lady Rams here Friday night in game one of their Class 3A, best-of-three bi-district playoff series.
Game two will be at 1 p.m. Saturday (April 27) at Kessler Field on the campus of Mineral Wells High School, with game three, if necessary, to follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two.
The winner of the series will advance to the area round and face Hillsboro, the winner of District 7-3A.
Lady Rams freshman pitcher Kelsey Keeton took the loss in the circle for the Lady Rams. Keeton allowed just two earned runs on eight hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 3-2/3 innings.
Allie Stephens finished in the circle, allowing no earned runs on six hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
Nantz was the winning pitcher for the Lady Blues, allowing a run on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Graham used a four-run third inning – where all of the runs were unearned – to break open a tight game.
Lady Blues’ sluggers Nantz, Krisha Hamm and Tanisha Reeve – hitting 3, 4, 5 in the batting order – each recorded a double in the third. MWHS also committed a pair of errors in the frame.
“We have a young outfield (all three starting outfielders are sophomores) and they have worked hard all year, and they have come a long way,” Lady Rams head coach David Tarver said. “Graham hits the ball hard, and the wind was blowing hard making it difficult to catch everything. It was a learning experience.”
Graham added three more runs in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead. The big hit in the inning was a two-run home run over the left-field fence by Lexi Allen, who would record four RBI in the contest.
The Lady Blues scored three times again in the fifth for a 10-1 advantage. The big hit was a two-RBI single by Allen off of Stephens.
The game would have ended on run rule in the fifth had it not been for a spectacular play by MWHS first-team, all-state junior shortstop Bethany Allen.
Nantz hit a line-shot ground ball up the middle, but Allen dove to her left and while hitting the ground hauled in the ball, popped to her feet and threw a strike to first base to get the Graham pitcher by a step.
What made the play even more remarkable was the fact that just moments earlier, Bethany Allen had collided with left-fielder Addie Singleton on a short pop fly to left and did not get off the ground for several minutes.
But both Bethany Allen and Singleton remained in the game and are likely to play on Saturday.
Nantz retired the last nine MWHS batters to seal game one.
Tarver said the best news was having the next game – and possibly another – at home to complete the series.
“You have to forget game one and move on to game two,” Tarver said. “We have two games at our place if we win the first game, and we feel like we have a home-field advantage.
“We just have to get the job done.”
The Lady Rams took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Catcher Reagan Patterson reached when her hard-hit ground ball was mishandled by Graham shortstop Reeve.
Hope Patterson, the next batter, walked, and Keeton followed and was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Stephens followed and her ground ball to second base was misplayed, allowing Reagan Patterson to score.
The Lady Rams loaded the bases again in the second inning, but with two outs Nantz forced a ground out to end the inning.
The Lady Rams managed to get only one runner on base in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but each runner was left stranded.
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals
THE COLONY – The future continues to look bright for Mineral Wells track and field, as 11 members of legendary head coach Jackie Harvey's summer track club punched their tickets to the TAAF state meet in College Station – to be held July 31-Aug. 3 – after a dominant showing at the regional meet in The Colony, July 18-19.
FWIW: Good, clean hate – Ranking the area's best rivalry games of the 2014 football season
By CLINT FOSTER
Football season is fast approaching and with it those glorious games between teams that love to hate each other, which we call rivalries.
I'm speaking, of course, about sports hate – the only beautiful kind. It's the stuff built on history and tradition that inspires simply the fiercest and most entertaining games of every season.
Palo Pinto County and the surrounding area have no shortage of fierce football rivalries.
The University Interscholastic League's realignment often causes new rivalries to be born and old ones to be rekindled. But which rivalries are the area's very best for 2014? The one's you circle your calendar for and make sure you don't miss.
I can think of at least 10.
So, for what it's worth, here's my list of the area's best, can't-miss football rivalries of the upcoming 2014 season.
Local Bowlers Roundup set for first weekend of August
Mineral Wells Women's Bowling Alliance invites you to join them Aug. 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Mountaineer Lanes for their second annual Bowlers Roundup. The event will feature snacks, tips from the pros, information on league bowling and two hours of great exercise.
Something in the water
Mineral Wells is well known as the home of Crazy Water, and by all accounts the city's swim team went absolutely berserk in their one and only home meet of the summer on Saturday.
Throughout the summer, the Mineral Wells Rams have been hard at work preparing for football season.
Hooks and Slices 7/11
In the Holiday Hills Country Club Guys and Dolls tournament, locals Denny and Sherry Hall turned in rounds of 77 and 73 to take first place in the opening round and second place on Sunday in the fourth flight. George and Linda Hutton turned in two solid rounds to place both days. The twosome shot 71 and 72 to take first place on Saturday and second place on Sunday in the second flight.
GRAPEVINE – The Mineral Wells High School cheerleaders attended the Universal Cheerleaders' Association's cheer camp in Grapevine two weeks ago and proved that spirit will definitely be high at every Rams and Lady Rams sporting event this coming school year.
Millsap selects Lee as new head volleyball coach
MILLSAP – The board of trustees at Millsap ISD recently announced their hire of Denise Lee as the new head volleyball coach for Millsap High School.
Waldrum leads the way in MW's latest swim meet
TROPHY CLUB – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins city swim team took to the pool once again June 28 and showed valiant effort against some tough competition at its latest meet in Trophy Club.
As I've written the last two weeks, Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine is on shelves and, more importantly, in my office. Can you tell I'm excited for football season?
- More Local Sports Headlines
- Mineral Wells summer track sends 11 to state meet after strong regionals