ARLINGTON – Although scrimmages and non-district games count for very little, Monday’s final non-district game for the Waxahachie Indians against Ellis County rival Midlothian at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington had the feel of a must win.
Waxahachie edged the Panthers 2-1 in scrimmage action in Midlothian on Feb. 19 and the Panthers rallied back to nip the Indians 3-2 in tournament action at Richards Park March 4.
The rubber match between the two Monday pitted Nick Moore on the mound for the Indians and Kyler Brown on the mound for Midlothian in a game Waxahachie won by two, 3-1.
“We got the bumper game. They beat us by one at our place and now we are ahead in run total,” Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood said with a grin. “Playing at the Ballpark is a great experience for our kids. Not a lot of people get to play here and we are glad we get to keep doing it. I thought Nick threw really well again and we got a few big hits when we had to have them.”
Waxahachie (12-5, 1-0) got its first big hit in the bottom of the first inning as with two on sophomore David Martinelli tripled off the 407 sign in right center to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
The two runs were more than enough for Moore as the senior southpaw shined once again on the mound at the “hitter’s park.”
A complete game winner last season against Grapevine, Moore pitched five innings against Midlothian and held the Panthers to three hits while striking out three.
“We played really well, it was fun,” Moore said. “I did well. Coach Miller was calling really good pitches and Chase (Rudolph) and I were on the same page the whole time so it worked out well. It was really nice to finish Midlothian off for the last time we played them.”
Midlothian pushed across an unearned run in the third as Blaine Blackburn singled to short with one away before scoring on an error with two outs.
David Villarreal doubled leading off the bottom of the fourth inning before Martinelli singled to right. With Seth Sims at the plate a passed ball allowed Villarreal to score the game’s final run.
“They are a good team and we kind of have a little rivalry between them. It’s all classy and stuff but it means a lot to get this win,” Martinelli said.
Ryan Cawthon pitched two scoreless innings in relief for the Indians, striking out two and allowing two hits while Midlothian used four pitchers in the game.
“We just kind of drug through the day. We really didn’t seem like we could get anything going, put some hits together,” Midlothian head coach Ray Hydes said. “Their kid did a good job on the mound. We knew we were going to work a bunch of our hitters and our pitchers, we were going to work everybody into the lineup, that was our goal when we come to play here. We tried to get everybody into the ball game, which is tough. We didn’t want to leave anybody out.
“We’ve just got some work to do. I think we’re on the very fringe, we could be pretty good. We’ve just got to find a way to get over that hump. Right now we don’t seem to understand what that takes.”
Both teams batted 10 players through the lineup and made several substitutions to let everyone get a chance to play on the Big League field. Midlothian out hit Waxahachie 5-3 but left four runners on base including two in the seventh inning.
With non-district games now an afterthought the Indians return to District 15-4A action tonight in Red Oak.
“The big deal is we have got to turn around and play a district ballgame Tuesday. We have played eight games in six days and have to be ready to play at Red Oak Tuesday,” Wood said.
“I am glad to be done with non-district. When the season starts you want scrimmages to be over and tournaments to start so you can play a lot. By this time of the year you want to be done with that so you are not playing as much and you can get a rotation set pitching wise and get ready for district.”
Three-year starter Kyle McLeroy is expected to take the mound for the Indians tonight in Red Oak.
The senior lefty allowed just one hit last Tuesday in the district opener against Terrell in Waxahachie’s 11-1 win. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.