By CLINT FOSTER
On a chilly Tuesday night, Allie Stephens brought the heat in Mineral Wells.
Pitching in her second consecutive start, the junior overcame five walks and a hit batter to hold rival Springtown hitless through the first five innings, en route to a 10-3 victory for the Lady Rams (20-5) at Kessler Field.
The win keeps Mineral Wells undefeated in District 6-3A play at 4-0 and tied with Kennedale for first place – a tie that won't last long as the Lady Rams travel to Kennedale, Friday, for a showdown with the Lady Kats for district supremacy.
Stephens got credit for the win, putting her season record at 8-3, as she allowed one measly hit in the sixth inning and fanned seven batters before sophomore Kelsey Keeton took over in the seventh to close the game out.
"Allie pitched well tonight, not great, but very well," head coach David Tarver said after the game. "She had five walks and a hit batter and usually when you see that out of a pitcher, you say they're struggling. But she came back and kept runners off the board.
"She took a no-hitter going into the sixth inning. When a pitcher's is struggling a little bit, puts six runners on base and still has a no-hitter on top of it, that's pretty strong. I'm proud of her."
Overall, the Lady Rams' most recent win over Springtown in district play was not unlike their two previous wins over the Lady Porcupines in non-district tournaments. All three times, Mineral Wells won by a comfortable margin, but allowed Springtown to score three runs on preventable mistakes.
Tarver said he noticed the similarities.
"We've done that all three games against Springtown now: we've jumped out to a big lead and they scored three runs we gave them," he said. "You hate to say anything about it because they're big, blowout wins, but you'd also like to see that stuff cleaned up and us finish the game and just kind of drive that nail in the coffin and put it away. But, overall positive."