Keller back in chase with win over co-leader Ridge

04/14/2014 1:04 PM

04/14/2014 1:05 PM

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.

•  Timber Creek has its work cut out as well in the competitive district. The Falcons will face Richland and Northwest this week. Last week, they lost to Central, 2-1.

Nick O’Brien has been a force on the mound for Timber Creek, while Carlos Reyes has been a leading hitter.

•  Fossil Ridge, which will take on Central and Haltom this week, will have its second meeting with Carroll next Tuesday.

The Panthers have been able to benefit from Erik Key’s strong performances.

•  For Central, the Chargers will try to build on the confidence from the Timber Creek win as they have their game with Fossil Ridge and then Richland on Friday.

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