SHALLOWATER -- The town is a shell of itself this week.

You're as likely to get caught behind a bicycle with training wheels as a Ford F-150 making your way up Avenue L from the main highway to Shallowater High School with spring break in full swing.

But just because most of the population has left for grandma's or the beach doesn't mean the skeleton crew is taking it easy. A lot of them are preparing to run the gauntlet this weekend with the goal of keeping a brilliant start to the baseball season going against larger competition.

"We've got a ways to go," Mustangs coach Steven Biera said. "We don't want to be maxed out right now. We've got some things we want to work on and things we want to fix, but we're getting close. I hope we're playing our best in district. District, especially toward the end of district, is where we want to play our best baseball."

Biera, breakout junior shortstop Hayden VanderRoest, some support staff and a visitor home for college were the only people in the clubhouse Monday morning. That's going to change soon, though.

The skipper decided to give his team Monday and Tuesday off. They'll reconvene for practice Wednesday ahead of one last non-district push.

Shallowater (9-1-3) will head to Snyder on Thursday for a two-team doubleheader against the host Tigers and Monahans. It will travel to Levelland on Friday and then hosts Lamesa on Saturday.

There's no real spring break for area baseball and softball players. If the wins keep stacking up, though, no one on the Mustangs roster will complain.

VanderRoest is batting .455 in 50 at-bats and has an on-base percentage of .520. He's driven in 16 runs and scored another 18 himself thanks in large part to eight extra base hits.

Four other players are batting above .400, and all of them have 37 or more plate appearances.

That's the kind of season it's been for the Class 3A competitor. Its lone loss came Saturday against Odessa High from the Class 6A level.

"It's just the team," VanderRoest said. "We're playing good as a team. Everyone's just clicking. We've gotten together good and are picking each other up. We're playing really good as a team. The loss was a tough one, but I think we're going to come back harder. Stronger."

Pitching has played its role as well. The staff is allowing 3.15 runs per game and only two earned runs per contest.

Three of four starters have ERAs under three, and the team has only faced five Class 3A or smaller opponents through its first 13 games.

One of those 3A games came against a Brock team which made it to the regional championship round last season. That game ended in a 6-6 tie.

Shallowater defeated defending Region I champion and state runner-up Wall, 8-3, on Friday.

"We've got to keep doing what we're doing," VanderRoest said. "It's awesome to be a Shallowater Mustang. (We grew up) seeing them go far in the playoffs and you just want to do better than the last year."

Lady Owls host Ralls in district play

First-year Ralls softball coach Breanna Guerrero doesn’t know what to expect when her squad squares off against Hale Center.

But that doesn’t change the Lady Rabbits approach to the contest.

It was business as usual for Ralls as it prepared for its District 2-2A game against the Lady Owls at noon on Tuesday on the road.

“We are just doing the normal stuff,” said Guerrero, whose team is 7-6-1 overall and 1-1 in district. “Hitting, fielding and working on cutting our errors down -- the normal stuff to prepare for an opponent that I haven’t seen before.”

With it still being early in the district slate, every team is still in the running for a playoff berth.

The Lady Rabbits have found success with a sound defense behind pitcher Kenley Yocom, but has battled from behind all season.

“For some reason, we love to come from behind,” Guerrero said. “We like the challenge I guess. We really do well most of the time making a comeback. “

That being said, Hale Center can swing the bat and even put up 22 runs in a win over Tulia.