By CLINT FOSTER
The Mineral Wells Lady Rams are as good as they've ever been.
After earning a second-straight area championship over District 7 champion Glen Rose with a heart-stopping, walkoff home run, the Lady Rams (28-8, 8-2) find themselves in the third round of the playoffs for only the second time in school history.
But awaiting the Lady Rams in the regional quarterfinals is yet another district champion and perhaps their stiffest test of the 2014 season.
The Liberty Hill Lady Panthers of District 8 are the No. 2 team in the state, according to the Texas Girls Coaches Association, and are riding high after series wins over Alvarado and Iowa Park in the first two rounds of the 3A postseason.
Mineral Wells has agreed to a best-of-three series with the Lady Panthers to be held at China Spring High School, just northwest of Waco, with the first game set for 7 p.m. Friday and games two and three (if necessary) at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Lady Panthers will be just the second team in the TGCA top five for the Lady Rams to face this year. Mineral Wells was 0-2 against the other top five team – District 6-3A champion Kennedale – who fell out of the rankings after a second-round loss to Lampassas.
With such high-caliber competition looming, head coach David Tarver said his girls will have to be at the top of their game to survive and advance.
"They're good," he said plainly of Liberty Hill. "They're going to be solid throughout the lineup. They've got two pitchers – one throws harder than the other. But we've seen good pitching all year long. We've made sure we scheduled those high-caliber teams so we'd be ready for teams like this.