MANSFIELD — With a week off due to statewide testing, the Indians and Wolves were forced to wait a few minutes longer Friday evening on the baseball diamond.
Last year, the two ballclubs had to relocate their Mansfield showdown when a sinkhole consumed a large portion of the outfield. While this year's mishap was not an act of Mother Nature, a problem with the lights postponed the eventual 8-1 Waxahachie win.
The Indians entered the game ranked No. 8 in the Txhighschoolbaseball.com 5A poll and in a three-way tie for the first seed in District 10-5A. A Mansfield Lake Ridge loss to Legacy on Tuesday knocked the Eagles out of the original four-way tie.
Jackson Leath (5-1, 2.65 ERA) picked up the win on the bump but was not near as sharp as his last time out. Even still, the senior righty tossed six innings of four-hit baseball. He allowed one earned run and struck out eight Timberview with just one walk.
Cory Woodhouse closed out the ballgame with one strikeout in the non-save situation.
As a team, (15-4, 4-1) Waxahachie batters accounted for 13 hits off of five (8-9-1, 1-4) Mansfield Timberview pitchers.
Ryan Allen led the way with four RBIs and was one of four Indians with two hits on the evening — Peyton Graham, Joey Trevino and Trey Thompson. Graham slugged the lone Indian double, while Trevin Robinson and Alec Sanchez each had a three-bagger.
"The positive from early in game was that we executed a safety squeeze. We worked really hard this week on bunting and small ball. And we executed that. No doubt," said Indian head coach Tracy Wood. "The negative to the pre-black out was that we talked all week about our approach at the plate and we were not very good early in the game. I was a little disappointed in that. We also did make a few errors that we normally don't make."
After the lights had completely gone out in Mansfield, centerfielder Tres Thomas tripled over the head of Alec Sanchez in the right-center field gap. The Indian centerfielder promptly informed the field umpire that he could not see the ball off of the bat, as the sun crept further behind the row of two-story homes beyond the fence in left field.
The game then entered a brief 20-minute break in the action while someone employed by Mansfield ISD attempted to master the art of the "on" position.
With the lights — both sets — on, play resumed with no outs, Thomas on third base and the Indians clinging to a one-run lead. The Wolves nearly tied the ballgame at two with a suicide squeeze but the home plate umpire ruled the Timberview batter stepped on the plate in the process of laying the bunt down the third-base line.
A pair of soft line drives to Tyler Navarro at third base and Ryan Allen at first stranded Thomas at third to end the Timberview half of the third inning.
Waxahachie scratched a run in the top of the fifth inning after Sanchez sent a 2-2 fastball to the deepest part of the park — a 90-degree corner in straightaway centerfield. The hit was the first of several well-stuck baseball by the Indians but the first not tracked down by Thomas in centerfield, which Wood said should come as no surprise.
"Their little centerfielder it's a really good player, he's a great player. He has been making those kind of plays since he was a freshman," Wood said. "Their whole team is scrappy and they don't come into a game knowing who is supposed to win or lose. They are going to play and they are scrappy. They are going to beat some people just like they did against Midlothian. This was a good win for us, though."
Sanchez scored a few pitches later on a passed ball when Zach Cobb spun a curveball into the dirt and it scooted away from the Timberview catcher.
The 3-1 Indian lead grew to 4-1 when Allen singled home Trevin Robinson in the sixth inning. Waxahachie then tacked on four runs in the top of the seventh courtesy of singles by Isaiah Alcala and Allen and a wild pitch.
"When we finally got it going and started swinging at fastballs the results were there. I just want to be as good as we can be," Wood said. "Win, lose or draw, I just want us to execute and be as good as we can be. Sometimes it's a little frustrating because I'm a little upbeat and a little intense and their personalities don't always match that and sometimes that can frustrate you. But as long as they are playing and hooked up that's OK."
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith