April 23, 2014

Sweetwater’s James Clift takes a lead at first base while being held by Snyder first baseman Logan Tate in Tues-day’s game. Clift finished with two hits and also got a pitching save as Sweetwater won the game, 4-2. (Photo by Ron Howell)

SNYDER — After getting the go-ahead hit in his team’s 4-2 win over Snyder on Tuesday that finally clinched a playoff berth, Sweetwater third baseman Tyler Beasley summed up the difficulty of the Mus-tangs’ postseason quest for the past five weeks.
“It’s been a long, hard journey,” he said. “But we got there.”
Tuesday’s win — capped by a three-run seventh that broke a 1-1 tie — sends Sweetwater (5-5 in District 4-3A, 18-8 overall) to the playoffs for the second straight year, while Snyder (4-6, 14-11) was eliminated. First, though, the Mustangs will face Monahans (5-5) in a tiebreaker to determine the No. 3 and No. 4 teams from District 4-3A.
Snyder led 1-0 until Greg Aiken’s two-out double scored Quentin Wetsel from third base to tie it in the fifth inning. J.P. Poe then set Snyder down in order in the fifth and sixth to set the stage for the winning rally.
Dylan Bennett’s single, followed by an intentional walk to Aiken, brought Beasley to the plate and he singled in Bennett to make it 2-1.
Two more runs scored on a double by James Clift for a 4-1 advantage before the inning was over.
But the win wasn’t secure until the seventh. Poe was replaced in favor of Clift when Snyder’s Christian Fletcher drew a leadoff walk. Although Fletcher’s courtesy runner, Will McGinnis, would eventually score on a wild pitch, Clift retired all three batters he faced to save the win for Poe (6-2) — who allowed just two hits and struck out four.
Sweetwater had 11 hits, but was unable to score off Snyder’s Francisco Alonso until the fifth. Coach Roland Herrera said he wasn’t par-ticularly worried, however.
“I know when you hit the ball, it’s going to fall in eventually,” he said. “We pecked and pecked away, then got big hits from Greg and Tyler who came through when we needed it. We knew this was going to be a tough fight between two good teams and someone had to lose. But the last week we’ve had good practices so I knew we would play well.”
Bennett finished the night 3-for-3, while Clift and Poe had two hits apiece and Aiken, Beasley, Kaleb Hoover and Scott Warner one. The only run Poe gave up came in the third when an error scored Snyder’s Colby Diggs, who singled.

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