This is the good stuff.
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team and Rams baseball team are now well-entrenched into what many call the “second season,” a.k.a. the playoffs.
This is why I love doing what I do.
I love the playoffs because the sports fans of Mineral Wells support their teams, and it is always better and more fun for the kids to play in front of these large crowds.
This weekend, beginning Friday, the Lady Rams and Rams will try once again to extend their respective playoff lives at least another week. And the story lines are intriguing.
The Lady Rams have already made school history this season by winning consecutive playoff series’ and advancing to the regional quarterfinals.
But the celebration of Saturday’s 16-6 win over Hillsboro probably did not extend too far into Sunday. The Lady Rams’ playoff nemesis, state-ranked No. 6 Burkburnett and their salty pitcher Kylee Trahan, are up next. Trahan and the Lady Bulldogs eliminated the Lady Rams last year, so story line No. 1 for this series from a Lady Rams perspective is, REVENGE!
This best-of-three series that begins Friday here at Kessler Field also features two of the top long-ball hitters in North Texas: Mineral Wells senior catcher Reagan Patterson and Burk senior catcher Paige Daino.
Patterson leads the area with 10 home runs, and Daino has eight jacks. But Trahan will also have to deal with another hot Patterson hitter, Reagan’s younger sister Hope.
Hope Patterson has been playing tough all season with an injured hamstring, but all looks well and good now after she clubbed three doubles and drove in six runs in the Lady Rams’ area-series clinching game against Hillsboro on Saturday.
And don’t forget Bethany Allen, the all-state shortstop who in my book is the top lead-off hitter in all of softball.
But this is a team starting to hit all up and down the order, so look out.
Trahan struck out 13 Lady Rams in last year’s playoff meeting, but she will find out her opponent is one of the strongest at the plate she has faced in 2013.
The Rams have advanced to the area (second) round and will face an Alvarado squad similar to itself. This is what I call a “chess match” series as Rams skipper Bret Barrick and Alvarado manager A.J. Hall each have an ace in the hole, or at least a true ace each on the mound.
Which brings me to Barrick. Some coaches in the past have relied on a “one game” series to advance because they have a dominant pitcher, much like Barrick has in Matt “Moose” Tincher, who has recorded 329 strikeouts in less than three years as a starting varsity pitcher.
If you didn’t know, some baseball and softball series go just one game and others are a best-of-three series. Why the difference? If one coach wants a one-game series and another wants a best-of-three series, then the coaches have to flip a coin to determine the format of the playoff round.
There have been coaches in the recent past who have won coin flips and gone with his top hurler in consecutive one-games series’ all the way to the state tournament. West (God bless that town) did it last year.
Alvarado head coach A.J. Hall has the same circumstance. He has a great pitcher, Dylan Lemons, who has struck out 116 batters in 60 innings this season. By comparison, this year Tincher has struck out 131 batters in 71 innings.
You would think both coaches would want a one-game series and let the aces face each other in a winner-take-all one gamer. But it will be a best of three with the series beginning Friday night at Alvarado. I wonder if Barrick flipped for a best of three and won?
The reason I say that is because Barrick has discovered a new starting pitcher, Aaron Wheeler, who is 3-0 in his last three starts, including a playoff win over Iowa Park. The Rams also have three or four other players who have started on the hill this year, meaning the team is in good shape if they need to play a third game.
But now that we know it is a series, this is where the “chess match” ensues. Neither coach will allow who he is going to pitch to start the series.
If you are Barrick, do you want Tincher to face Lemons in a No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup? Probably not. Barrick has won four playoff series’ in the last two years by starting Tincher in the second game. But he will not commit to saying he will continue this trend.
If Barrick knows Hall will throw Lemons in game two, then Barrick would probably want Tincher to start the opener. If Hall starts Lemons in game one, Barrick will probably throw Wheeler knowing in all likelihood Tincher can beat Alvarado’s No. 2 starting pitcher.
Which would bring us to a game three, where Barrick feels he has a strong committee of experienced pitchers ready to work for an inning or two or three, however far they can go before running out of gas.
Ah, the playoffs. So intriguing, and so much fun to talk about.
As I See It ... Tony Eierdam
This is the good stuff.
- Local Sports
Lady Rams draw Graham in first round playoff series
The regular season is in the rearview mirror and, as head coach David Tarver expected, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams will play a best-of-three series with the Graham Lady Blues to start the Class 3A, Region 1 and 3 softball playoffs.
With the score tied at four and one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tuesday night at Pratt Field, sophomore McCain Mason stepped up to bat with the bases loaded.
Santo girls place eighth at regional golf tourney
BAIRD – The Santo Ladycats golf team ended their season on a positive note last week, battling the elements to play some of their best golf of the season en route to an eighth place finish at the Region 2-1A Tournament at Shady Oaks Golf Course in Baird.
Graford Track: two 'Rabbits race to regionals
TRENT – The Graford boys and girls track teams were in action, Thursday, at the area track meet in Trent, where two Jackrabbits qualified to advance to the regional round in two different events.
Rams earn district championship with 5-4 walkoff win over Castleberry on senior night
For the third time in the past four years, the Mineral Wells Rams are district champions.
Rams host Castleberry with first place at stake
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.
Wildcats still in the hunt
SANTO – The Santo Wildcats baseball team took a major step toward a possible district championship, Saturday, when they handed the Albany Lions their first district loss of the season in a 13-5 victory.
MW golf seasons end at regionals
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How sweet it is
The Mineral Wells Rams have climbed another mountain. After besting Kennedale for the first time in over a decade on their home field in the last week of March, the Rams (16-10, 7-2) swept their season series with the vaunted Wildcats, earning a 6-2 win in front of a home crowd, Friday night, to once again put themselves alone atop the District 6-3A standings with one game left to play.
Kennedale edges out Lady Rams, 3-0, on senior night
The Lady Rams wanted this one. Bad. But despite a brilliant defensive effort that kept the game locked at 1-0 until the final frame, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams found themselves so close, yet so far away from a district championship, falling to the second-ranked team in the state, the Kennedale Wildcats, for the second time this year, 3-0, Friday night.
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