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The 2011 season is just five games old. However, the Sweetwater varsity baseball team is already halfway to matching its win total for all of 2010.
Sweetwater (4-1) â€” which will be hosting its three-day Wood Bat Classic tournament starting Thursday at Newman Park â€” captured the championship at San Angelo Lake Viewâ€™s tournament before losing at San Angelo Central by a score of 10-4 on Monday.
At Lake Viewâ€™s tourna-ment, however, Sweetwater went 3-0 and dominated the competition, outscoring them 34-8. Sweetwater began its great tournament run last Thursday by defeating Crane 8-1, then routed Lake View 11-2 later that day to advance to Fridayâ€™s title game where it outscored Wall, 15-5.
Freshman Kaleb Hoover was the winning pitcher for the Mustangs in Thursdayâ€™s win over Crane. He allowed two hits â€” singles in the second and third innings â€” and had 11 strikeouts in seven innings. Hoover retired the last 13 batters in order, eight of them coming on strikeouts. Connor Stafford was 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBI for Sweetwater, which led just 3-1 until a four-run fifth.
Against Lake View, Staf-ford got the pitching win as he hurled a five-inning complete game and allowed just two hits, both singles, while striking out seven. Sweetwater broke the game open with a seven-run fifth inning in which Greg Aiken, Cameron Fox, Stafford, Austin Burt, Tanner Crain, Ryan Linebaugh and Kris Mayes all scored.
Against Wall, Larry Dan-iel pitched the first 4 1/3 innings to get the win with Kris Mayes coming in to throw the last 2 2/3 in relief. They combined to allow just five hits and three earned runs while issuing a total of 10 strikeouts.
Sweetwaterâ€™s big inning this time was the second, when the Mustangs scored nine runs in staking Daniel to an early 12-1 lead. Sweet-water added three more runs and finished with 13 hits, led by a 4-for-4 game by Ryan Linebaugh with three RBI. Cameron Fox and Tanner Crain scored three runs apiece and Stafford and Parker Scott two, with Mayes, Aiken, Linebaugh, Sterling Reeves and Brett Rivera also scoring runs.
Mayes pitched the first 4 2/3 innings until running into trouble against Class 5A Central, which scored the last nine runs Monday after trailing 4-1. Mayes gave up seven hits, including a go-ahead triple in the fifth, and struck out six before being replaced by Linebaugh. Of Centralâ€™s first seven runs, only two were earned.
Stafford collected two of Sweetwaterâ€™s seven hits and Mayes, Reeves and Willie Norman had RBI. The Mus-led used a three-run second to go up 3-0 on a single by Crain, plus walks to Fox, Sean Morrow and Mayes and a Lake View error. In the fourth, Reeves doubled and scored on Normanâ€™s single to make it 4-1.
But a five-run fifth put Central ahead 7-4 and chased Mayes, and the Bobcats added three more runs in the sixth inning before the game was called because of darkness.
Sweetwater will play a total of six games at its annual Wood Bat Classic that starts with seven games on Thursday. Sweetwater will play Post at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, followed by two games Friday â€” against Lamesa at 4:30 p.m. and Ozona at 8:30 p.m. â€” and games against Post, Slaton and Clyde on Saturday.