By TONY EIERDAM
RIVER OAKS – Mineral Wells freshman starting pitcher Kelsey Keeton struck out 11 batters and allowed just two hits to lead the Lady Rams to a convincing 7-0 victory over the Castleberry Lady Lions here Friday night in the District 6-3A opener for both teams.
Lady Rams head coach David Tarver felt Keeton could have easily pitched a no-hitter with a little luck.
“Kelsey pitched very well and we played well as a team,” Lady Rams head coach David Tarver said. “Castleberry’s two hits were a blooper we could have got and a nub out to center field on an 0-2 pitch.
“Kelsey had their batters completely off balance all night long, and they hit one solid ball, and that was to BB (junior all-state shortstop Bethany Allen).
“Everything was working for Kelsey. She was pitching ahead in the count, she had a good change up and she took advantage of a plate umpire who was giving a wide strike zone. She stayed there all night long.”
The Lady Rams took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when courtesy runner Anaiz Mendoza scored on a single by senior left fielder Molly Clarke. Clarke finished with a pair of hits.
MWHS extended its lead to 4-0 when Makayla Nance singled to drive in two runs and Chandler Ortiz drove in a run. Ortiz recorded two hits for the contest.
The Lady Rams closed the scoring with three runs in the fifth when Clarke smashed a bases-loaded double that drove in Addi Singleton, Mendoza and Ortiz.
Also recording an extra-base hit was Reagan Patterson with a double. Allen had a hit, Keeton registered two singles and Allie Stephens executed a pair of sacrifice bunts.
Tarver, who said Castleberry is much improved from last season, was happy to get that first district win, especially with injuries that have hit the club.
“It is huge, especially when you start district on the road,” he said. “Castleberry is a playoff-caliber team, and it won’t be easy the next time we play them.
“We have some injuries now, so I was concerned coming into this one. Again, it is good to get this win.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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