By CLINT FOSTER
KENNEDALE – It was like something out of a dream or a movie.
McCain Mason played with a bloody thigh, Braxton Allen pitched a complete game, Frank Jackson and Chris Ortiz sparked the offense and, for the first time in recent history, the Mineral Wells Rams (13-8, 4-0) beat the Kennedale Wildcats, 5-4, Friday night, to put themselves all alone in first place in District 6-3A.
"I can't even think right now," head coach Bret Barrick said after the victory, beaming with pride for his team. "That game right there showed the heart, the love for the game and the love for each other that we have.
"I’ll tell you something, tonight I had 14 kids over there in that dugout and they just pulled for each other and they came together. They fought for each other.
"I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every one of those guys and how much heart and guts they had. Their goal was to win a district championship and now the district championship has got to come through Mineral Wells. You’ve got to come through Mineral Wells and take it from us now. And that’s the spot we wanted to be in."
The Rams have been close to conquering Kennedale before. Just last year, Mineral Wells found themselves leading the Wildcats, 2-1, on the road, only to watch the 'Cats storm back to a 3-2 win.
But these Rams were determined not to let history repeat itself.
Mineral Wells jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning on the strength of two singles from Mason and Ortiz and some timely base running from Tanner Newsome and later Ortiz on a fielder's choice, initiated by Chris Rapp.
As Allen held the 'Cats scoreless through the first three frames, the Rams added onto their lead as they put five men on base, including a Jackson single that drove home leadoff man Cameron Bullock, before the first out of the inning. Jackson later found his way home, as did Rapp on a steal of the plate, to make the score 5-0, Mineral Wells, heading into the bottom of the fourth.