With its playoff hopes on the brink of extinction, Sweetwater’s baseball team finally found the winning formula against Brownwood here Friday.
Playing the first game of a season-ending three-game homestand at Newman Park, the Mustangs (2-4) held off the Lions 4-3 to end a three-game skid and keep their postseason chances alive in District 5-3A.
Both of Sweetwater’s wins in district play have come against Brownwood, which saw its record drop to 2-4. The teams are chasing the the final two playoff spots along with Snyder (3-3) and Big Spring (3-4). Wylie (6-1), the only team with a winning record, clinched the district title on Friday.
Sweetwater now faces a must-win final week of the season in its bid to reach the playoffs. The Mustangs host Snyder on Tuesday, and then finish here Friday against Big Spring.
Sweetwater jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Brownwood in a first inning that saw the Lions lose starting pitcher Seth Owen to an injury after facing just two batters. Ryan Linebaugh ripped a two-out triple to score Greg Aiken, who reached on an error, and Linebaugh scored on Sean Morrow’s RBI single.
The lead held up until the fourth inning, when Brownwood tied it 2-2 by scoring a pair of unearned runs, beginning with a two-out throwing error that was followed by Colten Guidry’s RBI single. But Sweetwater regained the lead with a run in its half of the inning.
James Clift tripled with one out and his courtesy runner, Bray Amos, scored to make it 3-2 after Cole Maxwell’s RBI grounder.
The Lions weren’t finished, however.
The visitors tied it again, 3-3, by scoring a run in the sixth inning with the help of an error, passed ball, balk and fielder’s choice plus a two-out single by Guidry.
Two walks then loaded the bases, but Clift was able to avoid further trouble by getting a ground ball out to end the inning. Sweetwater then went ahead to stay in the bottom of the sixth.
Aiken led off with a single, went to third on an error and scored on Morrow’s RBI single. Clift, the winning pitcher, allowed just four hits and one earned run before Kaleb Hoover pitched the final inning.