The Rams’ offense was stymied for much of the game, only earning two hits through the first five frames before their bats caught fire.
Both of those hits came senior Paden Patino, who broke out of his hitting slump in a big way to carry his team. He finished a perfect 4-for-4, including a clutch two-RBI double to put the Rams on the board and tie the score at 2-2 in the sixth inning.
"I haven't been hitting well lately," he said. "I just went out there and did my thing and kept getting hits. This is the greatest feeling ever to be a senior and win a district championship. Just to know you were a part of this team, it's amazing."
The Rams would finish with nine hits, thanks largely to their four-hit rally in the seventh that set up the walkoff win.
Senior shortstop Colby Kissinger credited the announcement of Kennedale's loss as a big reason why the Rams were able to relax and get the offense going.
"That just lifted a burden off of our shoulders," he said of Barrick's fourth-inning announcement. "We had so much pressure on us and right when he said that, it was gone. We just decided we were going to be district champions the way we should and, next thing you know, we surpassed Kennedale's record and got first place. We knew our bats were there, we just had to find it."
As big of an exclamation point as the Castleberry win was on the Rams' district championship season, it is nothing close to the end. With the playoffs right around the corner, to quote Mason, "The road has just begun."
Mineral Wells will meet Vernon in Bowie for a single game, Thursday, May 1, to open the first round of the Class 3A, Region 1 and 3 playoffs.