GREENWOOD — It’s not always easy and not always that pretty, but Sweetwater High School’s baseball team keeps finding ways to win.
The Mustangs, winners of 10 straight entering Tues-day’s District 4-3A opener at Greenwood, made it 11 in a row with a 7-6, nine-inning win. The game was ultimately decided when Greenwood’s rightfielder made a two-out error in the top of the ninth on a fly ball by Sweetwater’s James Clift that scored Tyler Beasley, who had singled and came around from first with the go-ahead run.
It became the winning run for the Mustangs (14-3) when J.P. Poe — Sweetwa-ter’s third pitcher of the game — picked up his ninth strikeout in just 4 2/3 in-nings to end the game after a two-out single by Green-wood’s Zach Redwine.
It was the only hit given up by Poe (3-1), who was brilliant in relief of Clift, who pitched the first 4 1/3, and Stephen May.
Sweetwater had also held leads of 2-0 and 6-2, only to see them disappear against the Rangers (14-7 overall) until Poe shut them down after entering with the game tied 6-6 in the fifth follow-ing a four-run rally. He got out of trouble by retiring the first two hitters he faced, then fanned eight of the next 15 batters for the win.
Poe’s sacrifice fly in the second inning and Clift’s RBI single in the third in-ning staked Sweetwater to a 2-0 lead until Greenwood tied it 2-2 by scoring a pair of runs in the fourth. The Mustangs quickly regained the lead, 6-2, by pushing across four runs in their half of the fifth, only to see the Rangers match it in the bottom of the frame. Isaiah McGee singled, stole second and third and scored on a single by Dylan Bennett to give Sweetwater a 3-2 lead and Beasley, who walked, scored on a wild pitch. May doubled to score Bennett and Greg Aiken and give the Mustangs a 6-2 lead.
After the game went to extra innings, Sweetwater almost took the lead in the eighth after Kaleb Hoover singled with one out, stole second and went to third on Poe’s sacrifice. But McGee was robbed of the go-ahead hit by outfielder Jordan Holmes, who made a nice running catch from center field to end the inning.