COLLEGE STATION – Adversity cripples some of the best teams but the Waxahachie Indians thrive on it.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three bi-district playoff series with Pflugerville Hendrickson with a 5-4 walk-off win Thursday the Indians needed just one more victory to sweep the series and prepare for Sherman in the area round.
Hendrickson fought back in game two Saturday at Tiger Field on the campus of A&M Consolidated and won 6-5, setting up a must win situation for the Indians Saturday afternoon.
Backed into a corner like they have been for the last month the Indians responded with their best game of the series and defeated the District 16-4A champ Hawks 9-0 to advance to the area round of the Class 4A playoffs.
“We were just trying to play our hearts out to go to the next round. We have a lot of seniors and we just do not want to see our last game end,” Waxahachie senior catch Chase Rudolph said. “I knew we could do our job if we played like we know we can play.”
Hendrickson (23-12) took a 5-0 lead in game two as Waxahachie pitcher Kyle McLeroy walked the bases loaded before an error pushed across a run. Hendrickson pushed across another run in the third to take a 6-0 lead before Waxahachie battled back.
Waxahachie (24-11) scored three in the fifth and two in the seventh but could not complete the rally forcing a pivotal game three.
Senior Nick Moore took the mound for the Indians in game three and turned in the best pitching performance of the three-game series for either team.
“Everything went really well. The defense was playing well, we were hitting the ball and I was throwing strikes,” Moore said. “It was a high-pressure situation but I was ready and we all went out there and did our job.”
Moore held the Hawks to four hits over seven innings while striking out two. He did not allow a walk in the game and only one runner reached second base.
While Moore was in control on the mound the Waxahachie offense went to work with a series-high 12 hits.
Scoreless after the first three innings Waxahachie pushed across five runs in the bottom of the fourth and four in the bottom of the fifth to take the 9-0 lead.
Cody Brown drove in Cameron Phillips for the Indians’ first run of the game before Rudolph pushed across two to put Waxahachie up 3-0. Michael Bosch walked to load the bases before Seth Sims doubled to right scoring two and giving Waxahachie a 5-0 lead.
A single by David Villarreal scored the first run of the fifth before Brown tripled in a run and pinch hitters Andrew Smith and Dillion Yates drove in runs to force Hendrickson’s second pitching change.
“I am glad we won the series, I am proud of our guys,”Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood said. “We were resilient again and came back but I just wish we would have been a little bit more mentally hooked up to start that first game. You are going to pay for those things down the road as the teams get better. I am disappointed with that but I am happy we won the series and move on to round two.”
Senior third baseman Brown was 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBI to lead the Waxahachie offense while Rudolph was 2-for-2 with two RBI. Sims was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
In the game two loss the Indians out hit Hendrickson 9-5 as David Martinelli was 2-for-3 with two doubles and McLeroy was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
During the series five different pitchers saw playoff action for the Indians while the offense totaled 26 hits in three games.
Round two will pit the Indians against Sherman in a best-of-three series that starts Friday in Waxahachie. The Indians will host Sherman at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Richards Park for game one while game two will be Saturday in Sherman at 2 p.m. If a game three is needed it will be played 30 minutes after game two in Sherman.