By TONY EIERDAM
Mineral Wells High School softball and baseball teams are in good shape as they both enter the second half of District 6-3A play.
Although both lost to Kennedale a little more than a week ago, both can still at least clinch a share of the district championship by winning out.
Game one of the second half of both the softball and baseball seasons are today.
The Lady Rams will face Castleberry at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Kessler Field, while next door at Pratt Field the Rams will face Castleberry, also at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Rams are coming off a 4-1 loss to state-ranked No. 3 Kennedale.
But both teams cam into the contest with identical 4-0 records as MWHS trailed the Lady Kats in the standing by only one game.
Lady Rams head coach David Tarver doesn’t necessarily want his team to look ahead at the April 19 game at Kennedale, but he has told his team if they repeat their success in the first round that a title game will be in the team’s future.
“Regardless of what happened (against Kennedale), if we take care of business through district like we did in the first half of district we will be playing them in Game 10 for a district championship,” Tarver said. “We lost (to Kennedale) so it will be for a co-district championship.
“You don’t want to split it – you want to win it outright – but now we have a split in front of us and that is our goal.”
The Lady Rams have been getting solid hitting up and down the lineup. Senior catcher Reagan Patterson has seven home runs, and lead-off hitter Bethany Allen seems to be hitting her groove.
Hope Patterson is still one of the most feared clean-up hitters in the area, and although her home runs totals do not lead the team she is still driving in her share of runs.
Perhaps the biggest surprise has been the pitching of freshman Kelsey Keeton, who has a 4-1 district record and held Kennedale to its lowest scoring output in league play.
“Kelsey is not intimidated at all,” Tarver said. “She has played a lot of softball in her life and has probably played in tougher situations.
“Kelsey has been doing a good job of hitting her spots and moving the ball well. She did not throw a flat pitch against Kennedale, and she is doing a good, consistent job of working the corners and making the batters guess where she was going to pitch the ball.
“She does a good job of mixing it up and keeping the batters off balance.”
The Rams are coming off a 3-1 loss to state-ranked No. 10 Kennedale, and head coach Bret Barrick feels the team is improving at the plate.
“I feel we are seeing the ball at the plate and making contact better as hitter than we have at any point of this season,” Barrick said. “If we can square it up just a little bit more and get more on those balls and some of the outs we have been making would fall in for base hits instead of pop flies.”
In the past two years – both playoff-qualifying seasons – the Rams have started out slow but have reached a “peak” at about this time of the season.
Barrick said he is still waiting for the 2013 Rams to peak, but adds that might not be such a bad thing.
“We haven’t peaked yet, and that may be a good thing,” he said. “We don’t want to play the first half of district as good as we can play and not maintain that or improve in the second half of district.
“We want to continue to get better in these next five ball games, and we have an opportunity to do that. We have made the playoffs the last two years, and something we have concentrated on is working harder to get better every day.
“We talk about not staying the same and doing everything possible to get better as the season rolls along. If we do that, at the end of the season we will be hitting our stride.”
Barrick said he saw good signs in the loss to Kennedale, which was also senior lefty Matt “Moose” Tincher’s first loss of the season.
Tincher will start on the hill today against Castleberry, according to Barrick.
“We are getting there,” Barrick said. “Despite losing to Kennedale last Thursday we are getting there. I thought we played good defense against Kennedale, and our defense is an area that has improved as the season has progressed.
“The difference in the Kennedale game was that they got a couple of breaks and took advantage of those breaks.
“It was 1-1 in the sixth inning, they got a couple of runs, but we had chances but could get the runners home (late in the game).
“I am proud of the kids and I think they are hitting their stride.
“If we improve and continue to play like we have been playing, I don’t have any doubt that the last game in district will be us and Kennedale and we will see if we can earn a share of a district championship.”
Lady Rams, Rams begin second half of 6-3A diamond play at home today
By TONY EIERDAM
- Local Sports
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.
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
State slips away
ABILENE – It wasn't the way a community pictured their season ending.
Fresh off of a thrilling 69-65, double-overtime victory over Ira in the regional semifinals, the Graford Jackrabbits' (27-4) bid for their first trip to the state tournament since 2012 fell short Saturday afternoon with a 58-25 loss at the hands of the Water Valley Wildcats (27-5) in the Class 1A-Division II Regional Finals at Abilene Christian University's Moody Coliseum.
Weathering the storm
The 2013-14 season epitomized growth for the Mineral Wells Rams basketball team. Under the tutelage of head coach Aaron Pappas, the Rams played to a 6-4 record in District 6-3A, clinching a third place finish and a fourth-straight playoff appearance.
Graford's Wimberly named 11-1A-II Offensive POY
A successful 2013-14 campaign for the Graford Lady Rabbits basketball team was capped off last week with the announcement that senior point guard Syndey Wimberly was named "Offensive Player of the Year" by district coaches. The district runner-up Lady Rabbits also placed five girls on the All-District 11-!A-II team.
Graford outlasts Ira, 69-65 (2OT), advances to Regional Finals
ABILENE -- "Survive and advance" is the name of the game come tournament time. And with their backs against the wall, the Graford Jackrabbits (27-3) did just that, holding off the Ira Bulldogs, 69-65, in double-overtime in the Class 1A-Division II Regional Semifinals at Abilene Christian University's Moody Coliseum.
Ragland, Pappas, Holman receive top All 6-3A awards
A successful season full of growth for the Mineral Wells girls' basketball team was capped off in style this week when the district coaches announced that the Lady Rams placed seven players on the All-District 6-3A team and garnered three individual awards – two of which went to two of the Lady Rams youngest rising stars.
- More Local Sports Headlines