Mineral Wells rallies from four down for 8-5 victory over Lions, district split

Derrick Stuckly Brownwood Bulletin derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Brownwood second baseman Cole Fowler (background) slaps a tag on Mineral Wells’ Frank Johnson (8), who was attempting to steal, during the Lions’ 8-5 home loss Wednesday night.

The roles were reversed as the second half of District 6-4A baseball action started Wednesday night.

After the Brownwood Lions chalked up a 4-2 road victory over the Mineral Wells Rams to open league play on March 24, the favor was returned at Morris Southall Field as the Rams charged back from four runs down for an 8-5 victory, splitting the district series.

Mineral Wells (7-9, 2-3) — which moved into a tie for third place with the Lions with the victory — scored five runs in the top of the fourth inning to turn a three-run deficit into a two-run advantage. The go-ahead hit in the frame was a three-run home run by Tristan Seargeant, which turned out to be the difference in the contest.

Brownwood (10-10, 2-3) — which lost consecutive games for the first time since starting the season with an 0-6 record — jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning.

Carson Cloy drew a leadoff walk against Mineral Wells starter Cameron Bullock, who didn’t make it out of the second inning. Pablo Salazar laid down a bunt and an errant throw put two runners on base with no outs. Rawlings Rios was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases.

Hayden Day stepped to the plate, and a wild pitch during his at-bat allowed Cloy to race home with the first run. Day then drilled a two-RBI double to deep center field, plating Salazar and Rios to extend the lead to 3-0. Connor Howard, running for Day, later scored on a two-out RBI infield single by starting pitcher Kory Owen.

Mineral Wells wasted no time cutting the Lions’ lead in half as the Rams struck for a pair of runs in the top of the second against Owen.

A one-out walk by Bullock, followed by a Tanner Newsom sacrifice, set the stage for a two-out RBI single by James Gonzales. McCain Mason then drew a walk and Bob Boudreau capped the scoring in the frame with an RBI single to right.

With runners on the corners, Day threw out Boudreau, attempting to steal second, to end the second.

The Lions scored their final run in the bottom of the third, increasing the margin to three runs, 5-2.

Tristan Chesser led off with a single, Trent Carlton reached on an error and Owen walked to load the bases. Blaine Hughes, running for Chesser, scored on a dropped third strike with the bases loaded, but Mineral Wells reliever Chris Ortiz retired the next two batters on strikeouts to end the Lions’ threat.

Mineral Wells’ offense then erupted in the top of the fourth as Gonzales reached on a single to right, which was misplayed and resulted in a base runner on third with no outs. An RBI single from Boudreau with one down brought the Rams within 5-3. With two outs, Mason drew a walk to extend the inning, and ball four got away at the plate, permitting Boudreau to trim the deficit to 5-4.

Seargeant was the next batter, and after his swing the Lions were staring at a 7-5 deficit.

Mineral Wells tacked on an insurance run in the fifth as Newsom reached on a leadoff error and scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Mason.

The Lions put two runners on with one out in the sixth and Ortiz again recorded two strikeouts to end the threat.

Then in the seventh, Chesser and Carlton walked against Braxton Allen — the third Mineral Wells pitcher of the night — who then reeled off three straight strikeouts to end the contest.

Brownwood will visit first-place Abilene Wylie at 4:30 p.m. Friday.