JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls High School baseball team had its best finish in district play in almost a decade.
The Mustangs (21-7, 13-5 in district play) are the District 25-4A runner-up. The 2004 team was the district champion.
Marble Falls ended the regular season with a two-game losing skid, falling to Leander in back-to-back games.
The latest was a 6-3 loss to the Lions in Game 3 of a three-game series April 20. The Lions won 9-2 in Game 2 on April 19 to tie the series after the Mustangs won 5-4 in Game 1 on April 16.
Had Marble Falls won one of the final two games against Leander, the Mustangs would have taken the series and been co-district champions with Dripping Springs.
Going into the final series, the Mustangs knew they had to win two games to capture the district title outright. But that changed when the Tigers ended the season on a four-game winning streak, including a sweep of Cedar Park the previous week.
But since Marble Falls was unable to win another game, and the Tigers won all three of theirs, Dripping Springs sits alone as the district champion.
“We learned that we have to come ready to play every game, especially in our district,” Mustangs head coach J.T. Blair said. “We had a couple of chances to light it up, and it just didn’t happen for us.
“Give our kids the credit for being in that situation,” Blair added. “Dripping Springs deserves credit for finishing strong.”
In Game 3 against Leander, the Mustangs had a 3-1 lead until the seventh inning. Senior Mike Richardson recorded “a big hit,” Blair said, to give Marble Falls the lead.
But in the seventh inning, Leander scored three runs with one out.
“(Leander) hit the ball,” Blair said. “They hit the ball better than we did, they got timely hits. Our guys were ready to go. Give them credit, they beat our best.”
Marble Falls senior pitcher Cole Ridgely (9-2-1) was credited with the loss.
The Lions had a bye week before facing Marble Falls and scouted the Mustangs during the series against Dripping Springs. Since the Mustangs’ district bye was in the first week of district play, they didn’t have a break for six weeks.
Marble Falls is preparing for the playoff series against either Austin Crockett or Austin LBJ. By all indications, the Mustangs won’t start their playoff run until May 2. District 26-4A still has one more district game left and won’t play until April 26 because of benchmark testing.