LUBBOCK — Speed made the difference in deciding the winner of Friday’s opener between Sweetwater and Andrews in their Region I-3A quarterfinal baseball series at Lubbock Christian University’s Hays Field.
With the score tied 3-3, Andrews’ Jeremy Boone singled to start the seventh inning and moved to third following a walk and a balk. Gunnar Rogers then hit a pop fly that barely reached the outfield grass and was caught by Sweetwater’s shortstop, Dylan Bennett, for the first out. But Boone was able to tag up at third and race home with what proved to be the winning run in a 4-3 victory after Sweetwater went down in order in its final at bat.
Andrews’ pitcher, Christian Marquez, went the distance and gave up just four hits. He also had the biggest hit in the game, a two-run triple to give Andrews a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning.
But Sweetwater rallied to tie it by scoring all three of its runs in the bottom of the frame. J.P. Poe walked and Dylan Bennett singled, and both scored on a two-RBI Greg Aiken double. Sean Morrow then doubled to score Aiken and tie the game at 3. However, after that Sweetwater was retired in order. The Mustangs’ only baserunner after its three-run third was Aiken, who reached on an error but was erased by a double play in the sixth inning.
Aiken also had Sweetwater’s other hit, an infield single in the first inning.
It was hardly surprising to see Friday’s game decided by one run. Back in March when they played twice in six days, Andrews had rallied to pull out a 5-4 win only to have Sweetwater respond on its home field with a 7-6 victory.
Sweetwater’s Game 1 starter, Stephen May, allowed just seven hits before he was replaced in the seventh inning. However, he was tagged with the loss.
Cole Maxwell got the last three outs in relief.
Andrews drew first blood Friday in the second when Jase Hammack drew a leadoff walk and came home on Ryan Peralta’s double for a 1-0 lead. Sweetwater had a runner get thrown out on the bases two times in the first three innings.