By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
The Killeen Mets have been in must-win territory since late into Monday night.
They lost a 13-inning marathon to the Killeen Braves — a game that ended well past midnight — to find themselves having to claw their way out from the loser’s bracket. That even included a rare morning game at the Texas Teen-Age Baseball Sophomore District 5 tournament at the Davis Athletic Complex. The Mets beat the Copperas Cove Phillies 13-2 Wednesday morning to reach the bracket finals, and then beat the previously undefeated Braves 15-5 to force a winner-take-all “if” game.
And behind their tall first baseman, C.J. Bobbitt, the Mets put away the Braves a second straight time (20-7) to take the district championship and earn a trip to the state tournament in Hillsboro in two weeks.
“We knew we had to fight all the way through the loser’s bracket to come back and we did that,” said Mets coach Joe Ramos Sr. “The team has got perseverance. They never let up and this is the kind of team that’s shown us that they can win from the bottom up.
“This team got down a couple time, but they never quit.”
The left-handed hitting Bobbitt, after managing just an infield single in the first win over the Braves, more than made up for it in the finale. He sent a 2-2 pitch over the left-field wall in the second inning, helping the Mets stretch their lead to 12-7.
Then during an eight-run fourth, Bobbitt put another over the fence, clearing the base for a game-climaxing grand slam.
“Bobbitt has been struggling all year to get the ball out to the outfield,” Ramos said. “He made a bet with (coach) Joey (Ramos Jr.), my son. He said, ‘Coach, if I hit two home runs tonight, are you going to buy me some Air Jordans?’
“So he’s getting some brand-new Air Jordans.”
Bobbitt was one of five different Mets to score twice, while Jonathan Ibarra, Landon Persick and Justin Marin each came around three times.
The Mets reached the “if” game with a five-inning, run-rule win that started as a back-and-forth affair.
The Braves, up 5-2 at one point, first saw their lead vanish by the end of the second inning. Mets starter Stephen Shaw then found his grove, striking out seven — including the side in the third inning.
Thirteen Mets went up to the plate in the third, with the first nine all reaching and scoring.