Bulldogs defeat SW in opener

Ron Howell
Sports Editor

ABILENE — Three unearned runs on two second-inning errors led to a 5-2 Burkburnett win Thursday over Sweetwater — and a 1-0 lead in their best-of-3 bi-district playoff series.
That means the Mustangs must win twice today to keep their season alive. The series resumes at 4 p.m. at Iowa Park. If Sweetwater wins Game 2, the third game will begin about 30 minutes following the end of Game 2.
Sweetwater pulled within 3-2 in its half of the second inning on a two-RBI single by Tony Heredia, but that was it despite threats in the third and sixth innings.
The loss spoiled a solid pitching performance from Mason Maxwell, who gave up just four hits in seven innings. Only one of the five Bulldog runs — due to six Mustang errors in the game — was earned.
Even when Sweetwater scored twice in the second inning, the Mustangs were not unscathed.
Maxwell led off the inning with a double, but Tyler Warner’s grounder to third base deflected to the shortstop, who then threw out Maxwell’s courtesy runner Reece Palafox at third.
But after Warner reached on a fielder’s choice, his courtesy runner, Justen Gomez, and Tristan Longoria both scored on the single by Heredia.
Burkburnett made it 4-2 in the fifth on a walk, stolen base, ground ball out and sac fly, and in the seventh the Bulldogs got their final run on a walk and triple by Kody Bigford.
Sweetwater left runners at first and second in the third inning, and in the sixth had runners at second and third with one out only to leave them stranded.
Maxwell doubled twice and went 3-for-3 for Sweetwater, whose only other hits were singles by Heredia and Ky Hoover in the second
“Too many errors,” said coach Roland Herrera.
“We’ve got to play better ball the next two or we’re done. I want to keep playing and not hang it up.”

Pictured: Sweetwater's Tristan Longoria slides across home plate for the Mustangs' second run in Thursday's Game 1 playoff loss to Burkburnett.
Photo by Ron Howell