WAXAHACHIE — During Tuesday's district opening loss to Mansfield Summit High School, the Lady Indians were on the brink of finding their stride in the most critical part of the 2017 softball regular season.
Despite falling short against the Lady Jaguars, Waxahachie left their home district opener with one in the win column.
Behind the brilliant arm of Lillian Graham and heavy hitting, Waxahachie shutout Red Oak High School 14-0 in four innings Friday night at Lady Indian Field.
With the victory, the (1-1) Lady Indians are neck and neck in the District 10-5A standings with Ellis County rival Midlothian High School, which beat Mansfield Timberview High School 13-7 on Tuesday night at Lady Wold Field.
Waxahachie's Graham, who forced a fielder's choice and a pickoff of Kaylee McCutcheon at first base on her 76th pitch, outdueled both Maegan Fullerton (2.1 IP) and Lindsey Barrientez (1.2 IP). Graham allowed zero runs and only four hits while the Red Oak duo gave up 14 hits and committed 12 errors.
The four Lady Hawk hits came from Alex Rodriguez (2-for-2), Taniece Tyson (1-for-2) and Mackenzie Fullerton (1-for-2). The other eight batters went hitless in 17 at-bats. Five of those appearances at the plate came via Graham strikeouts.
While Kaylie Burdine, who drove in four runs with a single in the second and a double in the third, went 3-for-3 at the plate and helped the Lady Indians burn up the basepaths, Sharrika Levingston sparked the fire. Levingston's two-out double in the first inning that scored Chelsea Catlett began a four-inning and 14-run barrage.
Catlett, Levingston, Graham and Hannah Rash and Addy Redd each had multiple hits during the game.
Burdine, Graham, Levingston, and Rash had doubles, Levingston tripled for the third time in three games and Redd hit her third home run of the season and first in district play.
Waxahachie's biggest inning — an eight-inning third — was powered a single by Rash, a double by Burdine, a walk by Redd, a single by Chelsey Catlett and Levingston's triple.
Fullerton, who was credited with Red Oak's loss, threw 78 pitches in two and third innings and allowed 11 runs, 12 hits. She struck out one and walked one batter.
The (0-2) Lady Hawks will face Mansfield Lake Ridge High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lady Hawk Field. The Lady Eagles are 2-0 in the district after back-to-back wins against Lancaster and Mansfield Summit.
Waxahachie will face staff ace Shelby Noah, home run leader Georgia Capell and the Lady Panthers at 7 p.m. Tuesday at MHS Lady Panther Field. Noah threw 130 pitches and struck out seven batters in seven innings and Capell hit a triple and crushed a home run over the center field fence.
The Lady Indians are in a four-way tie for second place with Midlothian, Mansfield Summit, Mansfield Timberview.
Marcus S. Marion can be reached for story idea submissions or concerns at (469) 517-1456. Follow him on Twitter at @MarcusMarionWNI.