By TONY EIERDAM
In a pair of games against state-ranked teams at the Tri County Rotation Softball Tournament at Kessler Field, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams blew out Abilene Wylie, 12-1, on Thursday, and on Friday fell in a hard-fought contest to Celina, 5-2.
Lady Rams head coach David Tarver set up the tournament to test his talented team, and Friday’s lone game for MWHS was a classic softball game between two teams that have state-tournament aspirations.
The rotation tournament was to have concluded on Saturday, weather permitting.
“We are having to ... we are having to play some ball,” Tarver said. “We just can’t step on the field and expect to win against any of these teams in this tournament.
“They have all been a challenge, and I think they have brought the best out of our kids.”
Against Abilene Wylie, Lady Rams freshman pitcher Kelsey Keeton threw a four-hitter. She did not allow a walk and struck out four in a game stopped after five innings due to run rule.
“Wylie beat us by a couple of runs here last year, and it was nice to give a little pay back,” Tarver said. “Kelsey pitched good game, she hit her spots, and we scored some runs for her.”
MWHS was the “visiting” team against Wylie, and the Lady Rams punched the Lady Bulldogs in the mouth right from the start as junior shortstop Bethany Allen and senior catcher Reagan Patterson began the contest with back-to-back doubles.
Victoria Huffman also had a double in the inning that drove in a pair of runs as MWHS jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead.
The Lady Rams put the game away with eight runs in the fourth frame. MWHS sent up 13 batters in the inning and swatted seven hits.
Reagan Patterson recorded a two-run double; Keeton swatted a two-RBI single; and Hope Patterson also drove in two runs on a line-drive single.
Makayla Nance and Tabby Santibanez each drove in a run in the frame on singles. Nance would add an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Against Celina, Keeton allowed just one earned run and seven hits with five strikeouts and no walks.
Celina scored four unearned runs in the third inning, which was the difference in the ball game.
The Lady Rams jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Allen led off with a single to left, and she scored one batter later when a throw after Chandler Ortiz’s sacrifice bunt sailed into right field.
Ortiz scored later in the inning on a base hit by Huffman.
However, Celina allowed just three more hits for the rest of the contest.
Celina got a huge break when it took advantage of three Lady Rams’ errors and scored four unearned runs in the third inning to take a 4-2 lead.
Celina closed the scoring with a run in the fourth.
The Lady Rams put two runners on base in the seventh when Nance and Ortiz each reached on base hits.
But with two outs, Celina got the final out on a fly ball to seal the win.
“We had one bad inning,” Tarver said. “(Celina) actually had two outs and no runners on, but we let the inning get away from us.
“But it was a good lesson learned. If you are going to take a positive out of (the Celina loss) we saw a team that went to the state championship game two years ago and the regional final last year take advantage of their opportunities against us.”
By TONY EIERDAM
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