More Mustang magic?

May 10, 2013

SURPRISING PLAYOFF HEROES: Sweetwater players Gabriel Melendez (shown) and Bray Amos, who are normally reserves, got to start and played key roles in last week’s bi-district playoff win over Fabens. Melendez had two hits and Amos scored the winning run in the team’s Game 3 victory over the Wildcats. (Photo by Ron Howell)

Getting to the playoffs and then beating Fabens in bi-district last weekend was, for Sweetwater’s players, the culmination of a dream they’ve had since their first Little League game.
But now there’s more to come, starting today when the Mustangs (17-14) begin their best-of-3 area series with Pampa at 7:30 p.m. at Lubbock Christian Uni-versity’s Hays Field.
“I talked to some of these guys when they were 9 and 10 years old about setting a goal of going to the playoffs when they were in high school,” said head coach Roland Herrera. “We defi-nitely don’t want to stop.
“But we’re going to take it one game at a time and one series at a time,” he continued. “Whoever beats us will be a better team.
“I think we’ve been well prepared for where we are right now with our pre-district schedule and our district. Fabens gave us three good games, but I think these guys are capable of going as far as we want to.”
Game 2 is scheduled to begin at noon Saturday, also at LCU, with Game 3 to fol-low afterward if needed.
“I think (beating Fabens) gave our guys more confi-dence,” Herrera said. “The last game (a 7-6 Sweetwater win) was a see-saw battle. After they tied it, I heard several times in the dugout kids say, ‘Hey guys, we’ve got to come back. When that happens, you know you’re on the right track.”
Sweetwater will be facing a well-rested Pampa team. The Harvesters (13-12) are just now starting the playoffs, getting a first-round bye after winning the Dist-trict 1-3A title. Herrera said he doesn’t know that much about Pampa, even though the teams have faced each other this season. Sweetwa-ter won 6-2 when the teams met at the Wood Bat Classic back in early March.
“(Pampa) is a scrappy bunch,” he said. “They get after it on defense. Both of us are happy to be here. Their coach said they hadn’t won a district champion-ship in seven or eight years, and we haven’t been to the playoffs in nine years.”
Whoever wins this weekend will play either Andrews — a team Sweetwater faced twice during the regular season and split a pair of one-run games with — or Presidio in the Region I-3A quarterfinals next week.
According to Herrera, the Mustangs will start James Clift (7-2, 3.03 ERA) on the mound tonight, with Sweet-water’s Game 2 starter still undecided. The rest of the Mustangs’ lineup will prob-ably include Sean Morrow at catcher, Greg Aiken at first base, J.P. Poe at second base, Dylan Bennett at shortstop, Cole Maxwell at third base, Shawn Campbell in left field, Kaleb Hoover in center field and Stephen May in right field.

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