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
No football for CCS in 2014
After a series of administrative meetings from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday morning, Community Christian School's head football coach and athletics director, Bryan Horton, announced that the Warriors' varsity team will not suit up for football in 2014 due to a shortage of student athletes.
Swimming to State
KELLER – The Mineral Wells Water Moccasins are heading to the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation's state meet in College Station, July 31-Aug. 3, after an outstanding performance in the Region 4 Championships that saw seven local swimmer qualify.
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.
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- No football for CCS in 2014