Waxahachie senior Kyle McLeroy carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth in Saturday’s area playoff game at Sherman before finishing with a one-hitter as the Indians rode the back of No. 17 to a sweep of the Bearcats with a 2-0 win.
McLeroy out pitched Sherman’s Kyle Crick, a TCU signee who is expected by many to be taken in the first couple of rounds in the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft in June.
“Kyle absolutely out-pitched their big leaguer. Kyle McLeroy was the best pitcher on the field,” Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood said. “I thought Kyle was hooked up even before we started. He really thrives on challenges and he knew he was facing a future big league guy. He totally understood we were in the exact same situation a game before with him on the mound and we did not get it done. He was not going to let that happen again.”
Suffering a loss in the first round of the playoffs after walking the first three batters he faced against Pflugerville Hendrickson, McLeroy walked the opening batter Saturday before finding his groove and dominating the Bearcats the rest of the way.
“They’re the better team; they outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” Sherman coach Art Senato told the Herald Democrat. “(McLeroy) throws all his pitches for strikes. He gets ahead in the count, and does everything you need to do to be successful. We didn’t make adjustments. We couldn’t get anything going today, and he deserves all the credit. You just have to tip your hat to him.”
McLeroy went the distance for Waxahachie pitching seven innings, striking out nine and walking four as the Indians advance to play Hallsville in the regional quarterfinals Thursday in Canton.
“We played really good defense and Kyle threw really well. I thought he dominated them pretty good. He walked the lead off batter the first couple of innings but we turned a double play to get out of one inning that was really big,” Wood said.
Scoreless after two, Waxahachie gave McLeroy some room to work with in the third inning as the Indians plated two runs using patience at the plate and a little small ball.
McLeroy walked with one away before Cameron Phillips was hit by a pitch. Sophomore David Martinelli singled in the first run of the inning as Phillips advanced to third with one away.
David Villarreal, also a sophomore, sent a fly ball to the outfield that was deep enough to score Phillips from third and give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
“We did not mash the ball by no means, we did take some pitches like we planned on doing. We got some guys on with walks, ran the bases good and we got plenty of guys in scoring position before the big hits by Martinelli and Paco,” Wood said.
Waxahachie finished the game with five hits as McLeroy was 2-for-3, Martinelli was 2-for-4 and Cody Brown was 1-for-3.
Sherman (24-11) threatened in the sixth as No. 2 hole hitter Gus Daniel doubled to right to end McLeroy’s no-hit bid. It was only the second time all game Sherman had a runner reach second. McLeroy walked the following batter before inducing a 4-6-3 double play ball to get out of the inning.
In the seventh McLeroy set Sherman down in order to make sure the Indians played another day.
“Somebody’s got to lose,” Senato said. “(Waxahachie) got people on base and moved people over, and got key hits when they needed them. We got people on base in both games, but never got the key hit. They outplayed us in every aspect. That’s why it was a sweep.”
Crick (7-2) pitched six innings, allowed two hits, walked five and struck out eight for Sherman but on Saturday’s afternoon at Veteran Field it was McLeroy (6-5) who stole the show.
The Indians (26-12) open the regional quarterfinal series with Hallsville (26-7) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Canton before playing game two at 7:30 p.m. Friday. If a game three is needed it will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Hallsville defeated Waxahachie’s district foe Forney in three games to advance to the regional quarterfinals.
Waxahachie defeated Sherman 9-2 Friday at Richards Park in game one of the series behind the pitching of Nick Moore. In two games the Indians held Sherman to five hits.