COLLEGE STATION – Take note Hendrickson, Michael Bosch can hit.
With the game knotted up at four with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning and a runner on second base Waxahachie senior Michael Bosch tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt to move the go-ahead run to third. Pflugerville Hendrickson had other ideas.
Hendrickson ace Will Birge forced Bosch to miss two bunt attempts in the bottom of Thursday’s Class 4A bi-district playoff game at A&M Consolidated’s Tiger Field before Bosch stepped back in the box and prepared to swing away.
“They made a mistake, they made a big mistake,” Waxahachie coach Tracy Wood said. “We are trying to get a guy over to third with one out but we don’t do our job and get the bunt down. But what’s positive about that is Bosch did not get down or pout. Instead he stayed hooked up and got us a big hit. They don’t get much better than that right there.”
Bosch hammered a Birge pitch deep into left-center field to drive pinch-runner Alec Johnson across the plate and give the Waxahachie Indians a 5-4 walk-off win in game one of the best of three bi-district series.
“After I missed the two bunts I knew I had to get the ball in play somehow to move the runner,” Bosch said. “Once coach told me to stay back and block the pull side I knew he was coming with a cutter or a slider. I stayed back and drove the ball. I was really surprised with the contact I made because every time he threw me a cutter or slider I did not get the bat on the ball. But this time I stayed back and made magic.”
Once Bosch settled in at second base and Johnson crossed the plate the Indians stormed out of the dugout to celebrate the win that puts them one step closer to advancing to the area playoffs to face Sherman.
“To get this game out of the way and come back Saturday with Kyle (McLeroy) on the mound knowing that he is going to carry us on his back to get the win is a great feeling,” Bosch said.
Using a bit of strategy and showing faith in his deep pitching staff Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood decided to go with a combination of pitchers Thursday for game one instead of throwing his ace Kyle McLeroy.
The decision paid off as Cameron Phillips, Ryan Cawthon and Trent Armstrong combined to hold Hendrickson to two earned runs on 12 hits saving McLeroy and Nick Moore for decisive games on Saturday.
With the 1-0 lead in the series the Indians will travel back to A&M Consolidated on Saturday for game two. McLeroy is expected to get the ball for the Indians in the 2 p.m. start. If a game three is needed Moore will be on the mound and the game would begin around 5 p.m.
While Bosch’s double sealed the win it was a total team effort for the Indians to outplay the District 16-4A champion Hawks.
“We nearly emptied our bench today and everyone played a big part in our win. Ryan Cawthon has not hit in awhile and came up with a big hit tonight,” Wood said. “We talked about the grind of the playoffs and enjoying this one for just a little while. We have to come back and win game two now.”
Waxahachie (23-11) jumped on the board quick after Phillips worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the first.
Bosch tripled to lead off the bottom of the first before Seth Sims singled to right to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. McLeroy followed with a single before a bunt by Phillips put Waxahachie up 2-0.
A fielding error by Hendrickson’s short stop on a ball hit by Andrew Smith put Waxahachie on top 3-0 after the first inning of play.
Hendrickson (20-11) broke through against Phillips in the top of the third with two outs with a little bit of luck. A line drive to second bounced off the second baseman’s glove with two away in the inning before Hendrickson pushed across two unearned runs.
The Hawks tied the game at three in the top of the fifth off Cawthon but Waxahachie responded in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead on a double to center off the bat of Phillips.
Armstrong came in looking for a save in the top of the seventh inning but Hendrickson scraped across a run on three hits to tie the game before the sophomore pitcher struck out Hendrickson’s lead off hitter with a man on third to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh and the game nearing the two-and-a-half hour mark Cawthon led off with a double to deep left field before being replaced on the bases by Johnson.
Next up was Bosch, who made the three-hour trip back to Waxahachie a nice one for the Indians.
Waxahachie finished the game with eight hits and two errors while Hendrickson had 12 hits and two errors.
Waxahachie pitchers combined for nine strikeouts with Phillips striking out seven in three innings. Armstrong picked up the win while Cawthon went three innings, struck out one, allowed four hits and one earned run.
“The thing that stuck out to me was that they got most of their runs with two outs, but our guys worked out of some jams. We threw some guys that have not thrown in a while. Cameron has not started a game in a while, Ryan has not thrown for a while and Trent has not got to pitch much at all this season. It was kind of the plan that we were going to go with that order and we did it and got a W out of it,” Wood said.
Hendrickson left 12 runners on base, Waxahachie four, while the Hawks’ bottom half of the order carried the team.
The Hendrickson No. 6-9 hitters were a combined 9-of-14 with all four RBI while the No. 1-5 hitters were shut down by Waxahachie pitching and held to a 3-for-18 performance with six strikeouts.
Conversely, Waxahachie’s No. 1-4 hitters were 7-of-11 (.636) with four RBI and two walks. Bosch, McLeroy and Phillips were each 2-for-3 with an extra base hit each while Sims was 1-for-2 with a walk. Phillips drove in two runs from the clean-up spot in the lineup.