Mustangs are co-champs
The final night of the 2013 regular season Friday was an eventful one for Sweet-water’s baseball team.It began with hopes for an outright district championship — hopes that were dashed when the Mustangs were defeated 11-5 by Snyder at Sportsman’s Park.However, Sweetwater still claimed a piece of the Dis-trict 4-3A crown thanks to some help from Big Spring, which won 5-3 over Wylie. But the Bulldogs get the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye after beating Sweetwater in both head-to-head games.The Mustangs found out after Friday’s game where they’ll start their first postseason trip in nine years.Sweetwater (7-3 district, 15-13) plays Fabens — the No. 3 team in District 3-3A — in a best-of-3 bi-district playoff starting this Friday at Crane. Game 2 — and, if neces-sary, a third and deciding game — are Saturday, also in Crane. The times for each of the three playoff games are expected to be announced sometime on Monday.Thanks to Friday’s games, the final District 4-3A standings show amazing parity at the top. Big Spring (6-4) got the final playoff spot by beating Wylie — despite having the same district record as Snyder, which won its last four games but missed out because the Tigers lost both games with Big Spring in district play.Sweetwater had nine hits Friday against Snyder, but the Mustangs ended district play on a two-game losing streak because their offense couldn’t overcome another bad start. For the second straight game, the starting pitcher failed to last through the first three innings as Wylie jumped to a 7-1 lead to chase J.P. Poe after only 1 1/3.Sweetwater cut it to 7-3 in the bottom of the third, but got no closer as Snyder came back to build an 11-3 advantage before allowing two late runs. Sweetwater stranded nine runners, and also had four errors. The Mustangs began the game without two starters who were missing due to other commitments — infielder-pitcher James Clift and outfielder Kaleb Hoover, who did show up later. The Mustangs had their chances, but never got close enough to make things really interesting — as they had in their previous game against Wylie.Two seniors who played their final home game — Sean Morrow and Cole Maxwell — had two hits as did junior Dylan Bennett, and Morrow and Bennett doubled for the only extra-base hits. Morrow’s two hits both drove in runs for Sweetwater, and Greg Aiken and Poe also had RBIs.Stephen May came in to pitch the final 5 2/3 innings after Poe was lifted. All five of the team’s seniors — including Shawn Campbell, Ryan Linebaugh and Gabriel Melendez — played their final home game.