Mineral Wells Index
By TONY EIERDAM
Last year and again last week, Mineral Wells Rams head coach Bret Barrick has chosen to pitch No. 1 starter Matt Tincher in the second game of a three game series.
The plan worked all the way to the fourth round last year, and last week Barrick stuck with his plan as Tincher threw 14 strikeouts and a three-hitter to seal game two over Iowa Park which also swept the best-of-the-three series.
The series win advances the Rams to the area championship series, where they will face Alvarado.
Game one will be at 7:30 p.m. today at Alvarado.
Game two will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Pratt Field on the campus of Mineral Wells High School, and game three, if necessary, will follow 30 minutes after the conclusion of game two.
However, Barrick, knowing that Alvarado has an outstanding No. 1 pitcher as well, Dylan Lemons, doesn’t want to show his hand in this series.
“Game time decision,” Barrick said. “I will not comment on who will go first for us on the mound as that will be a game time decision depending on what the matchup we want will be.”
While Tincher has struck out 14 batters in seven innings in the playoffs, Lemons also has a nice strikeout/innings pitch ratio as well.
The junior righty is 7-1 and has struck out 116 batters in 60 innings this season and posted a 0.93 earned run average.
While most baseball fans would love to see a Tincher/Lemons matchup, they will not know until Friday’s game.
“(Lemons) is a big righty that is pretty good and the rest of their pitchers will compete and throw strikes, which is the same as us,” Barrick said. “From what I have heard they are almost identical to us as a team.
“I know Coach Hall will be aggressive on the bases with bunts, hit and runs, and steals. He does an outstanding job teaching his kids how to read pitchers and get jumps.
“They are very fundamentally sound and shouldn’t make many mistakes. “
Barrick was pleased to se his offense come alive in the Iowa Park series with 13 runs in the series, including eight runs and 10 hits in the deciding game-two victory.
“Right now, our pitching and defense are pretty good and have carried us thus far,” Barrick said. “But we have had moments when we hit pretty well and we will have to continue to get runners on and then work hard to find ways to get them around the bases.
“I think this will be a great matchup and pretty even. We will have to play well and take advantage of our opportunities.”