It took 15 years before Sweetwater’s softball program finally got back into the playoffs in 2012.
On Friday, the Lady Mus-tangs claimed their second straight postseason berth with a 6-5 win over Big Spring in a game players on both teams may remember 15 years from now.
Sweetwater jumped out to a 4-0 lead after four innings, only to see the visiting Lady Steers battle back and tie it 5-5 by scoring twice in the top of the seventh.
But the Lady Mustangs (20-11 overall) won in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the inning as they improved to 6-2 in District 4-3A and stayed within a game of first-place Snyder with two games left in the regular season. Snyder (7-1) beat Monahans 12-2 on Friday.
Jerren Villa led off with a single, then moved to second when Keyli Turner was safe on an error and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Cierra Knox.
Kendra Crosson, the No. 9 hitter, then hit a flyball to shallow left field that was caught by Big Spring’s shortstop for the second out. However, she was unable to stay on her feet while making the catch, allowing Villa to come home with the winning run.
While the game’s finish was exciting enough, the most memorable moment came earlier. After cutting Sweetwater’s lead to 4-2 in the fifth, Big Spring appeared to have tied the game at 4-4 in the sixth on a two-run homer by McKenzie Roberts. However, the second run was denied and it became a 4-3 game instead because the umpire said Roberts had been assisted by her teammates in crossing the plate and she was called out.
Sweetwater was able to keep a one-run advantage and get out of the inning without further damage, even though Big Spring put runners at second and third after Roberts was called out at home.
Sweetwater then scored in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-3 lead and there was some controversy on that as well.
Knox, who led off the inning with a single, was initially called out at third base after Morgan Gomez reached on a fielder’s choice after laying down a bunt. But she was allowed to stay at third after a successful appeal, and scored on an RBI infield single by Suede Shirley two batters later.
But Big Spring finally completed its comeback in the top of the seventh. A single, ground ball out and another single cut the lead to 5-4. Another groundball out put the Lady Steers down to their last chance, but Mercedes Ruiz delivered a two-out RBI double to tie the game.
However, Sweetwater had the last laugh in a game that had more ups and downs than a Six Flags over Texas roller coaster.
Both Crosson twins came up big offensively. In addition to her walk-off sac fly, Kendra stroked a two-run homer that made it 4-0 in the fourth inning, while Kelsi was 3-for-4 and drove in the first run with a first-inning single.
Maty Montgomery went the distance for the pitching win, allowing nine hits and striking out five. She had a no-hitter until the fourth.
Sweetwater plays the district’s two last-place teams to end the regular season, as it goes to Monahans on Tuesday and hosts Wylie this Saturday in the finale.