SHS softball and baseball will get to extend seasons

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

The Sweetwater softball team begins the playoffs this week and the baseball team starts its second season the first weekend in May.
It is the seventh consecutive season Sweetwater has made the playoffs in baseball, and the softball team has made it in seven of the past eight seasons.
At press time, the Lady Mustangs were waiting to learn who their bi-district opponent from 6-4A will be. Sweetwater, the No. 3 seed from 5-4A, faces the No. 2 seed out of 6-4A when it starts the playoffs and the team is hoping to make it further than last year when it lost in bi-district to Graham in a best-of-3 series at Hawley. Details will come early this week.
There are signs the Lady Mustangs may be ready to make a longer playoff run, based on the results of their last two games. They ended district play with a 4-3 loss to Big Spring, the No. 12-ranked team this year in Class 4A which went 8-0 in District 5-4A, and won 16-4 at Lubbock Christian in a non-district game that ended after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule. In the latter, a 12-run third inning keyed the victory.
The Lady Mustangs have several players with previous playoff experience to help the team win a first-round series. The last bi-district title was in 2015. Sweetwater lost in the first round to Graham the last two years.
Reaching the playoffs seemed a long shot challenge for the baseball team after the team lost quite a few of its top players to graduation following the 2018 season.
But things are looking up for the Mustangs now as the current players have sewed up a playoff spot once again with one game remaining in District 5-4A after a 15-8 win at Lake View, thanks to an 11-run sixth inning after trailing 5-1 on Thursday.
Sweetwater (2-5) defeated Lake View in both of the teams’ district games. The other win came March 29 in a 10-2 Mustang victory and if the teams both finish 2-6, Sweetwater has the tiebreaker with its two victories.
After an 0-3 stretch where the team never exceeded two runs, the Mustangs had a season-high total on Thursday. They will end the regular season on the road Tuesday as they face Greenwood (4-3). Big Spring (6-1) won the district championship, meanwhile, as the Steers rallied from an early 4-0 deficit Thursday for a 10-5 victory over Snyder (5-3). Snyder will go to the playoffs as the No. 2 seed with Greenwood and Sweetwater claiming the other two berths.
The 11-run sixth inning for the Mustangs was their biggest of the year. It came after the team squandered a number of scoring chances earlier in the game.
“In the sixth we had a lot of quality at bats and timely hitting,” head coach Chad Copeland said of his team. “I think we had three double plays defensively and a caught stealing that really helped not only keep our pitch count down but change momentum.”
The Mustangs, who will be the No. 4 seed, will face the No. 1 team from 6-4A in their bi-district playoff.