CANTON – Coming off a one-hitter in the clinching game of the area playoffs Waxahachie senior left-hander Kyle McLeroy picked up Waxahachie’s first postseason no-hitter in the last 10 years as he held the normally hot bats of Hallsville hitless through five as the Indians rolled to a 10-0 run-rule victory in game two of the regional quarterfinal series Saturday.
McLeroy pitched five innings, struck out nine Bobcats and hit one batter leading off the second to face one batter over the minimum, just missing a perfect game.
“Kyle was pretty good today. It is hard to say that we are living with our pitching and defense when you put 10 runs on the board, but we knew coming in that their strength was hitting and our was pitching and I liked our chances,” Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood said. “Kyle had that rough outing against Pflugerville and I knew then we would not see another bad outing by him the entire playoffs. He understands what is on the line and I think you will see these type of performances out of him the rest of the way.”
Hallsville (26-9) entered the playoffs with a team batting average of .386 but was limited to four hits Thursday in game one of the series by lefty Nick Moore before McLeroy simply owned the game Saturday.
“The thing about it is, he no-hit a good team. People that just came to these two games don't realize Hallsville is a good hitting baseball team. They are sluggers and one of the best hitting teams we have faced all year,” Wood said.
McLeroy (7-5) had room to work with as the Indians pushed across five runs in the top of the first as McLeroy helped his own cause with a three-run home run over the scoreboard in the right field.
“I was just looking to drive the ball and got a first-pitch curve ball and swung at it,” McLeroy said.
His home run followed by a two-run single by battery-mate Chase Rudolph gave McLeroy the confidence to attack the zone and over-power the Bobcats.
Six of the 15 outs recorded in the no-hitter by Waxahachie came on weak contact by Hallsville as the longest ball hit was by lead-off hitter J.C. Daily on a fly to short stop in the bottom of the first.
That would be the only fly ball out recorded by the Indians the rest of the way as Hallsville grounded back to McLeroy three times and grounded out to the right side of the infield twice as McLeroy finished the game under 70 pitches.
“I had my best stuff I think,” McLeroy said. “I was just trying to throw strikes. I did pretty well. I did not walk anyone and I just tried throwing strikes and getting out of there. We had a pretty good game plan today. You think you would not get a no-hitter in the third round, but they hit the ball right to us and it happened. Motivation to get to state is pretty much the key.”
Since suffering a 6-5 loss to Henderickson in the second game of the bi-district playoffs McLeroy has allowed just one hit over 12 innings pitched. Overall he has allowed six hits this postseason with no team getting more than one hit an inning.
“I knew Kyle was going to have a good game today. He has pitched good throughout the season and I was hopping he was going to have as good a game as he did against Sherman. He did,” Rudolph said. “We are just throwing strikes and getting the big hits when we need to.”
Waxahachie (28-12) outhit Hallsville 14-5 in the series and scored runs in each of the first four innings in both games.
After the five-run first Saturday the Indians added one in the second on a single to left by senior Cameron Phillips before adding another in the third on a grounder to short by Seth Sims.
The Indians plated a run in the fourth on a single to right by Cody Brown before adding two in the fifth to reach the 10 runs needed for the run-rule to be in effect.
Pinch hitter Andrew Smith led off the top of the fifth with a single to center before Michael Bosch singled, forcing Hallsville to make its second pitching change of the day.
The change did not work for the Bobcats as the pitcher walked two batters to push across a run before being pulled in favor of Ronnie Gideon.
Pinch hitter Dillon Yates fought off several Gideon pitches before sending the ball to deep left allowing the 10th run of the game to score.
McLeroy struck out the first two batters he faced in the fifth before inducing a grounder to first to end the game.
Moments after a brief celebration of the win McLeroy went back to work and got his conditioning drills in by running from foul pole to foul pole as he has one goal in mind – a state championship.
Waxahachie's next stop on the road to Dell Diamond field in Round Rock will be the regional semifinals and a best-of-three series against Rockwall Heath starting Thursday in Rockwall.
Heath (35-6-1) defeated Dallas Hillcrest twice Saturday to advance to the regional semifinals with game one set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Rockwall. Game two will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday at Richards Park and if a game three is needed it will be played 30 minutes after game two in Waxahachie.