By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (April 12, 2016) — Freshman shortstop Derek Gifford unloaded a walk-off single to centerfield to end a wild 6-4A battle with Stephenville (11-11-1, 2-3) beating Mineral Wells, 7-6, Tuesday night.
Bradley Morrison singled to begin the bottom of the seventh and moved all the way to third when Cody Storrs bunted into an errant throw by Mineral Wells that put him on second.
Gifford came out swinging at the first pitch and drove it over the infield into the James T. Young outfield grass. Nolan Carroll – courtesy runner for Morrison – trotted home from third with the winning run that pushes Stephenville back to an even .500 mark for the year.
Getting to the bottom of the seventh was as much an adventure as scoring the winning run was. And it’s something Stephenville.
Caleb Gibbons battled his way through two errors and three unearned runs by striking out 10 Mineral Wells batters over the first six innings, but Gibbons was left with no decision when Mineral Wells scored two unearned runs against Morrison in the seventh.
Morrison had the Rams down to their final strike when a dropped pop up to shallow right allowed two runs to score, forcing to Stephenville to bat in the bottom of the seventh.
Mineral Wells jumped ahead 1-0 and maintained that lead until the bottom of the third, when a couple errors and a wild pitch brought in the tying run before a single by Storrs gave Stephenville the lead for good.
The Jackets weren’t done either, with Cole Harmon belting a single to right that got past the defense for a two-base error that brought in both runners. Harmon scored moments later and Stephenville led, 5-1.
A couple errors and an unfortunate grounder that caused Gibbons to lose his balance led to three runs for Mineral Wells in the top of the fifth, but Stephenville salvaged a narrow lead when Gifford fielded a grounder and connected with Webber for a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Playoff seeding is all up in the air thanks to the Stephenville victory, giving the Jackets a season split with Mineral Wells. Stephenville visits No. 1 Abilene Wylie at 4:30 p.m. Friday before crucial home contests against Graham and Brownwood t conclude the regular season. Stephenville won in 10 innings at Graham but lost at Brownwood in the first half of district play.