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MARBLE FALLS — About 30 minutes after the Marble Falls High School baseball team completed the bi-district series sweep of Austin LBJ on May 4, the Mustangs turned their attention to the next round of the playoffs.And to the San Antonio Alamo Heights Mules.

It’s the same team that knocked the Mustangs (23-7) out of the playoffs last season in a sweep, 4-3 and 10-0.

But it’s a different season.

For starters, the Mules reached the playoffs with an 8-6 record in District 27-4A as the fourth-place team. Last season, they were the runners-up.

By contrast, the Mustangs are the District 25-4A runners-up and had secured a playoff spot with two weeks left in the regular season. In 2012, Marble Falls needed to win out late in the season to grab that fourth-place spot.

Both squads boast of pitching staffs that keep opponents bats in check.

Heights has two starting pitchers with ERAs under 2.00: Cameron Mineo (8-2) at 1.58 and James Nittoli (6-3-1) at 1.48. Mineo has 75 strikeouts on the season; Nittoli has 53. The third pitcher is Tyler Freed (4-2) with an ERA of 3.74 and 10 strikeouts.

Offensively, the Mules are led by Blake Klumpp with 25 RBIs and Kalen Brockwell with 18 RBIs.

With more than 80 at-bats, Cole Bailey and Scott Uhl have batting averages of .325 and .354.

Mustangs head coach J.T. Blair said he was familiar with the Mules’ personnel.

“I know they’re a good-looking team,” he said. “They play solid defense, and they’re well-coached.”

The Mustangs emptied their arsenal against LBJ in completing the sweep.

Game 1 on May 3 couldn’t have gone better. Marble Falls scored a run in the first inning and responded in the bottom of the third when the Jaguars tied the contest.

The Mustangs scored three in that inning, one in the fourth and four in the fifth for a 9-1 win.

Defensively, Cole Ridgely (12-2-1) led the Mustangs from the mound, striking out 15 of the 26 batters he faced.

Game 2 was much tighter, but it didn’t start that way. Marble Falls scored a run in the first inning and two in the third and two in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.

But the Jaguars came back in the fourth, plating four runs behind two hits, four walks and one batter who was hit by a pitch.

Marble Falls used four pitchers during the game. But Ridgely took over in the seventh, retiring all three batters he faced, closing the game with a strikeout.

Though Game 2 was closer than he would have liked, Blair said he thought his players benefitted from having a two-week break before the start of the playoffs. But, the Mustang skipper admitted the downtime may have contributed to some Marble Falls missteps.

“I think we knocked some rust off in this series,” he said. “But I really think we can play better than we did.”

And he looked forward to facing Alamo Heights and to the challenge the Mules pose.

“They’re a perennial playoff team,” he said, “just like what we want to be.”

Tune in to KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune starting 7 p.m. May 10 to listen live to the series.


Best-of-three format: Game 1 at 7 p.m. May 10 at Scearce Field, 2101 Mustang Drive in Marble Falls; Game 2 at 2 p.m. May 11 at San Antonio Alamo Heights, 150 E. Fair Oaks Place in San Antonio; Game 3 (if necessary) 30 minutes after Game 2 ends at Heights