KELLER — After whitewashing Brownwood 12-0 less than 24 hours before the start of Game 2, Waxahachie’s baseball team fell into what head coach Matt Webb referred to as, “the perfect storm.”
Missed opportunity and mistakes by the Indians and an eye-popping defensive display coupled with off-speed pitching by Brownwood led the Lions to a doubleheader sweep Friday at Keller Central High School, 9-3 and 4-1, and into the Area Round of the state playoffs, where it will face Hillcrest.
“When you have a doubleheader Game 2 is always the momentum game and they got the momentum,” Webb said. “We had a chance to get it back early in Game 3, but we missed some chances and you have to give (Brownwood) all the credit, they played really well. They pitched well, hit well and took advantage of their opportunities.”
Mistakes plagued the Indians from the very beginning as they committed four errors in Friday’s first game, three of which were in third and fifth innings when the Lions scored eight of their nine runs.
It was another error in Game 3 that opened the door for Brownwood’s four-run third inning that allowed the Lions to take control.
“When they got opportunities they cashed in,” Webb said. “I’m not going to fault our guys, we had a good season and we’re extremely disappointed but that’s how baseball goes sometimes.”
While it had been a month since the Indians played on back-to-back days, Brownwood was only a week removed from having to play a Friday night game and then a tie-breaker last Saturday.
Lion head coach Scotty Nichols said having that experience paid off.
“I’m sure it played a greater part than we know, we knew it was like to come in the day after a tough loss and have to come away with a win,” Nichols said. “Who knew after the shellacking we took (Thursday) it was going to end like this.”
Brownwood grabbed the momentum early in Game 2 with an RBI triple by Shelby Miller in the first inning.
Miller's triple was the Lions second hit of the game, matching their total from the night before.
Things continued to go the Lions’ way in the third when Parker Taylor reached on an error with one out. Two batters later Miller homered to left field, giving Brownwood a 4-0 lead.
Taylor opened the fifth by reaching on another error, which opened the gate for the Lions to score five runs on five singles and a walk as the Lions’ advantage grew to 9-0.
Waxahachie found some offense in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run home run by Boomer Collins, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Brownwood overcome as Brownwood took the 9-3 win.
The Indians had several of chances to get its offense rolling earlier in the game, but left a runner at third in the second and the bases loaded in the fourth and sixth innings.
In the third and decisive game of the series, Collins took the mound for Waxahachie while Brownwood turned to Garrett Goodwin, who the Indians scored six runs off of in Game 1.
Collins breezed through the first two innings allowing only a leadoff double in the second.
Goodwin on the other hand struggled to find the strike zone as he four and hit another batter.
Waxahachie, however, failed to capitalize, leaving all five runners on base.
“Their pitching beat our offense,” Webb said. “We never put anything together and when they put five guys on in the first two inning and we couldn’t do anything, that was a big turning point.”
Brownwood finally broke through for the first runs of the game in the third inning.
With one out, Jason Maldonado reached on an error and the Lions made the most of the opportunity as the next five hitters reached base, giving Brownwood a 4-0 lead.
Collins kept Waxahachie within striking distance with his bat as he led off the fifth inning with a home run to left field that cut the Lions’ lead to 4-1.
Drew Harrison doubled two batters later, but was stranded at second. The Indians’ final threat ended in the top of the seventh when the game ended with two runners on.
Webb said the Indians struggled against Brownwood’s off-speed pitchers, each of which threw complete games and combined to allow just six hits after Waxahachie tallied 11 the night before.
“We had a hard time making adjustments,” he said. “We kind of walked into the perfect storm. We hit the ball hard, but they made some great plays. A great defense is frustrating for the players, but for the fans it’s fun to watch.”
Brownwood’s defense had a lot to do with the Indians stranding a lot runners as the Lions had a diving catch in center field, running catch in deep left field that led to a double play, a pair of stops just over the bag at second base and a jumping catch of a line drive at third.
The Lions’ defense helped Goodwin and Mason Ellis, who pitched the first game, get out of jams throughout the day.
“It just feels like everything was going our way,” Nichols said. “We got a great game from our senior in the first game today and I thought we’d change it up and let Garrett throw that third game.
“We knew we couldn’t throw Waxahachie a bunch of fastballs because they’ll hit it to the fence every time. We got some good pitching and great defense and that’s what got us through.”
The Indians’ season ends at 21-10 after finishing third in District 15-4A.
Brownwood 9, Waxahachie 3
Brownwood 103 050 0 — 9 11 0
Waxahachie 000 000 3 — 3 3 4
WP — Mason Ellis. LP — Marshall Davis. 2B — W: Drew Harrison. 3B — B: Shelby Miller. HR — B: Shelby Miller; W: Boomer Collins.
Records — Brownwood 17-11; Waxahachie 21-9.
Brownwood 4, Waxahachie 1
Waxahachie 000 010 0 — 1 3 2
Brownwood 004 000 x — 4 6 2
WP — Garrett Goodwin. LP — Boomer Collins. 2B — B: Shelby Miller, Tanner Vaughn. HR — W: Boomer Collins.
Records — Brownwood 18-11; Waxahachie 21-10.