By TONY EIERDAM
Mineral Wells senior pitcher Matt “Moose “ Tincher has Castleberry’s number.
In the District 6-3A opener three weeks ago, Tincher threw a perfect game, mowing down every Lion he faced.
Friday night in the first game of the second half of the District 6-3A schedule, he dominated the Lions again.
The lefty struck out 13 batters, allowed just four hits and did not issue a walk to lead the Rams to a 3-1 victory over Castleberry at Pratt Field.
“Matt’s fast ball was outstanding (Friday),” Rams head coach Bret Barrick said. “He was mowing them down.
“But he also had good control of his curve ball, and that kept the hitters off balance.”
The Rams took a quick 2-0 lead after three innings.
In the first frame, junior shortstop Colby Kissinger drew a walk, advanced to second on an error and stole third base.
Kissinger scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Paden Patino.
The Rams increased their lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Tincher drove in Kristian Santibanez on a fielder’s choice ground out.
Meanwhile, the Moose was having his way with the Castleberry batters.
Tincher struck out the side in the fourth inning and fanned another batter in Castleberry’s scoreless fifth inning.
The Rams gave Tincher another run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Junior first baseman Bob Boudreau smashed a double to center field to lead off the inning.
The next batter, Santibanez, sent a shot to center field that looked like a certain home run.
However, the ball was caught on the warning track, allowing Boudreau to tag from second to third base.
But on the play, the throw into the infield escaped the clutches of a Lions infielder and rolled into the third-base dugout as Boudreau was awarded home plate for a 3-0 lead.
Castleberry scored its lone run in the top of the sixth inning.
Two infield singles and two stolen bases led to the run, but the rally was snubbed out when Tincher struck out a batter for the second out and forced a weak pop out to shortstop to end the inning.
MWHS got a one-out single from Aaron Wheeler in the sixth and had two runners on before Castleberry retired two batters in a row to keep it a two-run contest.
The Lions had an opportunity to cut the lead to one run when its leadoff hitter in the seventh inning reached on an error.
But inexplicably, the runner on first tried to steal second base, and it was easy pickings for freshman catcher Braxton Allen, who gunned down the runner with five feet to spare.
Tincher put the game to rest by striking out the next two Castleberry batters to give the Rams a 4-2 record in district play.
The Rams will continue district action at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lake Worth.
By TONY EIERDAM
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