BIG SPRING â€” When taking on Monahans, the Sweetwater High School baseball team has been a bit schizophrenic this season.
Theyâ€™ve been really good â€” except for the two times when they were, well, any-thing but that.
Sweetwater and Mona-hans met for the fourth time on Friday night in a District 4-3A third-place tiebreaker at Big Springâ€™s Steer Park. It was also their second meet-ing in 10 days, the first being a 15-1 Sweetwater victory in five innings on April 15.
It was completely differ-ent for Sweetwater on Fri-day, as Monahans grabbed an early 4-0 lead en route to a 7-2 win that secured the No. 3 berth for the Loboes.
Sweetwater â€” which had lost 7-3 in the teamsâ€™ first 4-3A game â€” will take the No. 4 seed into the playoffs. The Mustangs will face Pecos, the District 3-3A champion, in the bi-district round in a best-of-3 series next weekend.
Sweetwater had just six hits on Friday, eight fewer than in its big win vs. Mona-hans 10 days earlier.
The Loboes almost equal-led that total in the top of the first inning, when they jumped out to a 4-0 lead on five hits. They padded it with three fourth-inning tallies. Sweetwater, on the other hand, managed just single runs in the second and sixth.
The Mustangsâ€™ first run cut Monahansâ€™ lead to 4-1, but that was as close as they got after the Loboesâ€™ three-run fourth.
In the sixth inning, Sweet-water cut it 7-2 when Greg Aiken and Tyler Beasley hit consecutive doubles. But a double play by the Loboes â€” who also turned one to end the fifth inning â€” helped to minimize the damage.
In the seventh, two-out hits by Dylan Bennett and Stephen May gave Sweetwa-ter fans some home with Aiken â€” who doubled twice Friday â€” at the plate.
But Bennett was thrown out trying to steal third, kil-ling a promising rally and preserving the Loboesâ€™ vic-tory.
Sweetwater got its first run in the second when Aiken led off the inning with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by James Clift.
Despite walking five batters in just three innings, Monahans starter Justin Tavarez got the win. He gave up just one hit. May, who also pitched three innings, was charged with the loss.
Clift pitched the last three innings for Sweetwater after getting a save in a 4-2 win Tuesday over Snyder, which put the Mustangs in the playoffs for the second year in a row and also elim-inated the Tigers.