While Fossil Ridge is fighting for a district baseball title, Keller is fighting for its playoff life as the regular season heads into the final four games.
Keller knocked of Fossil Ridge, 5-4, last week to boost the Indians into a fourth-place tie with Timber Creek. Both teams stand at 5-5 in District 4-5A.
Keller had to stage a comeback by scoring two runs in the seventh inning before getting the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
The loss dropped Fossil Ridge into the 8-2 tie with Carroll for the top spot.
Keller goes into this week with Haltom and co-leader Carroll. One of Carroll’s losses was to Keller earlier in the season.
“It was definitely a comeback that we needed badly,” said Keller head coach Rob Stramp.
Being able to battle back for the win put Keller in the tie with the Falcons, who posted a win over Keller in their first meeting.
Stramp agreed the initial win over Carroll was big, as the Indians now have wins over both district-leading teams. The downside, though, are losses to Northwest twice, Timber Creek and Richland.
“We’ve put ourselves in a precarious situation,” Stramp said. “We need to round out our highs and lows. In the second half (of the district schedule) we’ve played better. We’ve been in three extra-inning in the second half and won two of them. We’re playing better baseball and giving ourselves a chance to win.”
After this week, Keller will control their own destiny, as they will face Timber Creek and third-place Richland (6-4).
“With three teams ahead of us, those are pretty important four games,” Stramp said.
Some of the second-half success has come on the strength of Hunter Seay out of the bullpen, Stramp said.
“He’s done a really good job and he’s been a big plus, a stabilizing force.”
Hitting has been trying to match the pitching. Stramp said good pitching is keeping the Indians close enough to have the hitters shine.
“Pitching gives hitters a chance to be heroes,” Stramp said.
Others have taken the hero role, including Carson Vanlandingham and Phil Young, who have had game-winning hits.
Nick O’Brien has been a force on the mound for Timber Creek, while Carlos Reyes has been a leading hitter.
The Panthers have been able to benefit from Erik Key’s strong performances.