By CLINT FOSTER
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Beginning with a triple header starting at 10 a.m., the Lady Rams will host Weatherford, Iowa Park, Abilene Wylie, Brownwood and Springtown over the next two days in the Mineral Wells Tournament at Kessler Field before heading to Graham to face off against Lubbock Cooper.
In Wichita Falls, the Lady Rams were tested by the likes of Vernon, Iowa Park, Windthorst, Perryton, Haskel and Holiday, but rose to the challenge in every occasion.
Mineral Wells' only loss came in a 2-1 battle against Iowa Park, which the Lady Rams lost despite a gem of a pitching performance from Allie Stephens, who pitched a complete game and allowed three hits and a walk and fanned seven batters. The difference came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Iowa Park scored on a two out error. Mineral Wells was not able to bring a runner home until the game's final frame when Hope Patterson brought Bethany Allen across the plate on an RBI single.
Despite winning the other five games, head coach David Tarver said losing to the Lady Hawks may have been the most positive moment in the tournament for Mineral Wells.
"Sometimes you have loses in the season that are more productive than a win," he explained. "We were playing a good team and an untimely mistake cost us the game. We'll learn more from that than we might from a win."
The Lady Rams also grinded out some tough victories in the tournament, earning wins against Windthorst, Haskel and Holiday by scores of 10-6, 4-3 and 5-3 respectively. Tarver said facing teams that could match Mineral Wells' offensive prowess provided yet another opportunity for his team to improve.