By TONY EIERDAM
KENNEDALE – It was a day of hope for both the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team and Rams baseball team as each traveled here Friday seeking shares of their respective district championships.
Both teams came into the Friday contests one game behind league-leading Kennedale, but after Friday night’s games both MWHS teams will have to settle for second place.
The Lady Rams fell 8-1 to the state-ranked No. 3 Lady Kats, while the Rams fell just short in a 3-2 loss to the No. 7 Wildcats.
The Lady Rams finish district play with an 8-2 record, while the Rams finish league play at 7-3.
Both the Lady Rams and Rams will enter the Class 3A playoffs as second seeds in the district.
Kennedale scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to come from behind and defeat the Rams.
The Rams had taken a 2-0 lead with a run in the opening frame and another in the third inning.
Brandon Martinez scored in the first inning for a 1-0 lead off an Aaron Wheeler ground ball Kennedale could not handle.
The Rams extended their lead to 2-0 in the third. Kristian Santibanez led off with a single and scored on a base hit by Braxton Allen.
Meanwhile, pitcher Matt “Moose” Tincher was having his way with the ‘Cats. Through six innings Tincher had allowed only one hit while striking out 13 batters with no walks. Tincher would finish with 14 strikeouts.
But in the bottom of the seventh inning Kennedale’s lead-off hitter reached on an error and the next batter followed with a double to put runners on second and third with no outs.
Tincher struck out the next batter as the Rams were just two outs away from a co-championship and a tiebreaker game for the district’s top seed.
But Kennedale’s Brett Taylor smashed a double to score two runners and tie the score at 2-2.
The next batter, Josh Taylor, singled to center field to plate Brett Taylor for the walk-off win.
The Lady Rams fell behind 5-0 after two innings as Kennedale ripped nine hits, including three extra-base hits.
The Lady Rams cut the lead to 5-1 in the top of the third frame.
Tabby Santibanez hit a one-out double and scored two batters later on a base hit from Reagan Patterson.
But with two outs Kennedale pitcher Kaitlyn Leeds struck out the next batter to end the brief rally. Leeds would finish with 13 strikeouts while allowing just four hits.
Kennedale added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to close the scoring.
Pitcher Kelsey Keeton took the loss in the circle, allowing five earned runs on 13 hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 5-1/3 innings.
Allie Stephens came on in relief in the sixth, allowing a hit with one strikeout in 2/3 innings.
The Lady Rams will play Graham, the third-place team form District 5-3A, in the bi-district playoffs.
Date, time and location will be announced early next week. Check www.mineralwellsindex.com for information on the softball bi-district playoffs, or see Tuesday’s Index.
By TONY EIERDAM
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