GARLAND - Sweetwaterâ€™s Senior League (ages 15-16) all-stars had more runs, hits and baserunners on Thursday than they did in their opening win the previous day at the Texas West Section 2 tournament.
Unfortunately, there was little clutch hitting, and not nearly enough outstanding pitching and defense this time around as Waco Southern handed Sweetwater its first loss, 15-4, at the South Garland Little League complex.
District 5 champion Sweetwater must now regroup quickly to keep its sectional title hopes alive. It will get a rematch with Dallas Wylie - a team Sweetwater defeated 3-2 on Wednesday - in the losers bracket final at 7:30 p.m. today. If Sweetwater wins again, it will get a rematch with Waco Southern in the championship game of the double-elimination tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Southern out-hit Sweetwater just 11-9, but took advantage of 11 walks, two hit batters and a balk while scoring at least one run in every inning. Sweetwater threatened in every inning but the seventh, but stranded 14 runners and left the bases loaded twice.
Southern expanded its lead from 4-0 to 9-0 with a five-run fourth inning until Sweetwater finally pushed across a tally in the bottom of the frame on Ryan Linebaughâ€™s bases-loaded grounder that scored Mike McCoy. Southern came back to score a run in the fifth and two in the sixth for a 12-1 lead, but Sweetwater kept the game going with three runs in its half of the sixth.
Greg Aiken and Sean Morrow had RBI singles, and Dylan Bennett drew a bases-loaded walk that narrowed the deficit to 12-4. But Sweetwater was unable to get any closer.
Aiken finished with three hits, including a double, while Morrow and Willie Norman had two hits and Cole Maxwell and Shawn Campbell one. Norman, Linebaugh and Aiken scored the other runs.
Sweetwater used five pitchers. Kaleb Hoover started and went two innings before being replaced by Brandon Howell, Aiken, Stephen May and Maxwell on the mound.