Mustangs end playoff drought, grab outright lead with 10-5 win

MONAHANS — For the first time since 2004, Sweetwater’s baseball team is in the Class 3A playoffs.But wait, there’s more.After Tuesday’s 10-5 win at Monahans — coupled with Snyder’s 7-4 victory over Wylie — the Mustangs find themselves all alone atop District 4-3A.But it took a late rally for Sweetwater (7-1) to defeat Monahans, which had taken a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth and was just three outs from an upset victory.Instead, the Mustangs — starting with James Clift’s leadoff solo homer — came up with six runs to defeat the Loboes. After Clift’s homer, Sean Morrow made it 8-5 with a bases-loaded double that scored three runs. Also, Kaleb Hoover had an RBI triple and stole home for the final run.The win sets up a huge game with Wylie this Saturday at Sweetwater that may decide the 4-3A champion.If the Mustangs win Saturday, they will clinch the title. A Wylie win creates a tie, but the Bulldogs would own the tiebreaker because they would have defeated Sweetwater twice.Cole Maxwell, who rep-laced J.P. Poe on the mound in the sixth inning, allowed the Loboes’ first two batters to reach in the seventh but worked out of trouble by retiring the final three batters for the victory.Clift, Hoover, Morrow and Stephen May all had two hits for Sweetwater, which out-hit Monahans 11-10 as the Mustangs improved their overall record to 15-11.Sweetwater led 1-0, 2-1 and 4-3 in Friday’s game only to see Monahans fight back each time. The Loboes tied it 1-1 in the second, then took leads of 3-2 and 5-4 until Sweetwater’s big six-run seventh finally decided it. Sweetwater had at least one hit in every inning.After Clift’s home run, Sweetwater loaded the bases as Dylan Bennett and May singled and Greg Aiken walked before Morrow’s double scored them all. In the second inning, Hoover gave Sweetwater a 1-0 lead when he doubled, was sacrificed to third and scored on a passed ball.Sweetwater made it 2-1 in the fourth when Aiken walked, moved to third after a single and fielder’s choice and stole home. May led off Sweetwater’s sixth inning with a walk and he scored on Aiken’s triple to tie it 3-3. Sweetwater then took a 4-3 lead after Morrow reached on an error and Hoover laid down a squeeze bunt to score Aiken.Maxwell entered in the sixth after Jackson Scharf’s leadoff double, but surrendered two more hits as Monahans regained a 5-4 lead. But he settled down from there and had three strikeouts to get the win.Sweetwater still has two games left, both at home, before starting the playoffs. After facing Wylie, Sweet-water hosts Snyder in its final game on April 26.