By TONY EIERDAM
Mineral Wells senior lefty Matt “Moose” Tincher held Fort Worth Western Hills to only one hit while striking out 12 as the Rams whitewashed the Cougars, 3-0, Thursday morning at Pratt Field in the first round of the Mineral Wells Rotation Tournament.
The Rams (5-2) will play twice today at Pratt Field – at 11 a.m. against Fort Worth Eastern Hills and at 4 p.m. against Granbury. The Rams will conclude tournament play at 11 a.m. Saturday against Graham.
Tincher struck out the side in the second and third innings, and he walked just one batter while hitting another.
The Rams gave Tincher all the runs he would need in a two-run first frame.
“Matt did a good job of hitting spots for the entire game,” Rams head coach Bret Barrick said. “But that’s what Matt does; he gets up there, bears down and hits his spots. He doesn’t worry about anything else.
“We played some defense behind Matt, and I was pleased with the way the guys put the ball in play against a good pitcher.
“We didn’t have a lot of hits (six) but everyone seemed to put the ball in play. As long as we can put the ball in play and make them have to get us out – instead of us getting ourselves out (by striking out) – we are going to be OK.”
Tincher hit the first batter of the game but settled in and struck out two batters in the top of the first inning to keep the Cougars scoreless.
In the bottom of the inning, Rams’ lead-off hitter Brandon Martinez reached second base on an error and scored when the next batter, Colby Kissinger, slashed a double to left-centerfield.
Kissinger crossed the plate a batter later after a line-drive double to right-centerfield off the bat of Tincher as MWHS led 2-0.
Western Hills did not put a ball in play in the following two innings as Tincher used a mixture of fast balls and curve balls to frustrate the Cougar batters.
The Rams extended their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Varsity newcomer Bob Boudreau drew a walk and ended up on third base after a single from Martinez.
Boudreau scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Kissinger.
Meanwhile, Tincher kept up his intensity, striking out a pair of batters in the sixth while retiring the side in order.
In the bottom of the sixth, back-to-back two-out singles by Paden Patino and McCain Mason followed by a walk from Boudreau loaded the bases.
But Western Hills got out of the inning when Dan Reay Turk’s hard-hit ground ball was fielded by the Cougars’ shortstop who made the put out.
Tincher kept the ball low in the seventh inning as he retired the side in order, all on ground-ball outs.
Also collecting a hit for the Rams was Aaron Wheeler with a single in the fourth inning.
Tincher strikes out 12, allows one hit in Rams’ 3-0 win over Western Hills
By TONY EIERDAM
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