By CLINT FOSTER
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams capped off a stellar regular season last week, clinching second place in District 6-3A and a favorable seeding heading into the Class 3A playoffs.
At 24-7, 8-2 in district, the Lady Rams have proven they know how to win. Mineral Wells has also already begun its first round, best-of-three series with the Graham Lady Blues. But just how deep of a run are the girls capable of making?
As in any sport, come playoff time, things can be pretty unpredictable. However, a case can be made for why these Lady Rams both can and can't put together a streak and snag a coveted spot in this year's state tournament.
So, for what it's worth, here are five reasons why the Lady Rams will make it to state in 2014 and five reasons they won't.
FIVE REASONS LADY RAMS MAKE IT TO STATE
1. Pitching: Pitching is arguably the most important aspect of the game of softball and these Lady Rams have it in spades.
Mineral Wells' two-woman rotation of junior Allie Stephens and sophomore Kelsey Keeton has a combined ERA of 2.19 and WHIP of 1.26 through 165 2/3 innings of work.
The elder Stephens has the better stat line in some regards and has gotten the nod from head coach David Tarver in multiple big games and key situations.
She leads the team in strikeouts with 109 and has allowed the fewest hits, with 78, and runs, with 48 – only 24 of which were earned. All of these factors have contributed to an 11-4 record in 23 pitching appearances.
Keeton may not hold the team lead in many statistical categories, but don't sleep on the sophomore. No Lady Ram can pound the strike zone like this 13-3 starter who has seen 75 percent of her pitches called strikes.
Keeton has also walked just seven batters on the year, compared to Stephens' 30, and has hit one batter, compared to Stephens' 10.