Mineral Wells Index
By CLINT FOSTER
BROCK – The Mineral Wells Rams (9-6) had a strong showing at the Brock Tournament, Thursday and Friday, as they continued to lay a firm foundation for the rest of their season.
The Rams posted a 3-1 tourney record in the first two days, earning a win against Clifton and back-to-back wins against Rio Vista and Chisolm Trail.
The Rams opened tournament play, Thursday, in a big way, coming from behind to smack Clifton, 10-5 in seven innings.
Mineral Wells' bats were on fire as the team posted 17 hits in all. Six hitters in particular combined for 14 hits, seven RBIs and six runs. Braxton Allen led the way, going 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI.
The Rams were scoreless through the first three innings and watched as Clifton built a 2-0 lead. Mineral Wells tied the game in the fourth, went ahead in the fifth and that was all she wrote.
Mineral Wells broke the game open in the seventh, when they scored six runs beginning with a steal of home by Colby Kissinger.
Cameron Bullock got credit for the win. In 6 1/3 innings of work, he allowed seven hits, four walks and five runs and posted one strikeout.
The Rams ended the first day on a disappointing note, dropping a 7-0 decision to Grandview.
The game was scoreless through three innings, but when Grandview broke out, the Mineral Wells bats stayed cold. The Rams narrowly avoided a no-hitter, registering only one hit in the game, courtesy of Paden Patino.
Chris Rapp was charged with the loss after lasting five innings. He struck out six, but allowed nine hits, five earned runs and two walks.
Day two of the Brock Tournament began for the Rams much like the first as they downed Rio Vista, 9-5.
Allen went 3-for-4 and drove in four runs as the Ram bats heated up again after the Grandview loss.
Allen would bat in the game's first run in the first to put the Rams up, giving Mineral Wells a lead they would never relinquish.
Rio Vista attempted to rally in the fifth and sixth, but both times the Ram defense limited the damage and preserved a comfortable lead.
Justyn Lee had a solid day on the mound, allowing just three hits, one earned run and five strikeouts in six innings.
The Rams saved their best win for last as they rallied in the sixth inning to win a back-and-forth contest with Chisolm Trail, 3-2.
Chisolm Trail took an early 1-0 lead in the first, but the Rams tied the score in the top of the second. Chisolm trail answered in the bottom of the inning and clung to a 2-1 lead until the Rams' sixth-inning rally.
The game was won in the Rams' two-run sixth when Frank Jackson took home on an error.
This time, it was Bob Boudreau who led the way at the plate for Mineral Wells. He was a perfect 3-for-3 and scored two runs in the winning effort.
McCain Mason earned the win after pitching a complete game with five strikeouts. He allowed four hits, two unearned runs and five walks.
Head coach Bret Barrick said, overall, he was pleased with the first two days of the tournament.
"This was a good tournament for us to get ready for district after spring break," he said. "Pitching has been pretty good. Defense, at times, has been pretty good and we've hit the ball well, except for the Grandview game. If we can clean up some of the defense and keep hitting the ball, I feel like we can be in pretty good shape."
Barrick said the Rams had many great individual performances in the tournament, but among those that stood out in his mind were Kissinger, Boudreau and Allen – who Barrick said "has played lights out pretty much wherever we've put him."
But of all the positive's from the trip to Brock, Barrick said the biggest was the continuing process of team building.
"It's kind of like an MLB team getting through Spring training," he said. "I'm just really trying to get the kids to come together and play together. I think we've found a little bit of continuity with some of our kids right now.
"They're starting to come together and pick each other up. We preach family and we want our guys to understand how to pick each other up."
The Rams wrapped up Tournament play against the Brock Eagles on Saturday afternoon. An upcoming home matchup against Argyle, Friday afternoon, is the last hurdle that stands between Mineral Wells and their District 6-3A slate.
District play will begin, Tuesday, March 18, with a road game against the Lake Worth Bullfrogs.