Sherman thought it would have an advantage against Waxahachie in game one of the area playoffs by starting left-handed pitcher Tyler Liss against the Indians’ lineup that trotted out five left handed batters.
Waxahachie’s left-handed batters were 6-of-11 against Liss before chasing him out of the game after four innings as the Indians rode the offspeed pitches of senior lefty Nick Moore to a 9-2 win Friday in front of a near capacity crowd at Richards Park.
“That was crazy, it was so much fun. That is why we play here. That is what you grow up in this town looking forward to and to go out and actually live that dream was the most amazing thing ever,” Moore said.
With the full support of the home crowd that spilled over into the Indians bullpen down the first base line the Indians put the pressure on Liss early with two hits in the first inning and two more in the second before taking a 1-0 lead after two.
Sherman tied the game at one with a solo home run in the third by Blake Liss before the Indians scored four in the bottom of the fourth to give Moore a 5-1 lead to work with.
“The wind blowing in my face really helped out a lot giving more sink on my ball. Coach Miller calling good pitches and everybody behind me making good plays helped put together a great game,” Moore said.
Moore pitched a complete game for the win. He threw a career high 111 pitches while striking out eight, walking one and hitting two.
“Nick was solid. When you throw as many breaking balls and change ups that we throw with him and you walk one guy, that is money right there,” Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood said. “That is hard to hit, I don’t care who you are. It is hard to set back and keep setting back, you just can’t do it. Nick did what he has been doing all year long.”
Moore improved to 6-5 on the season with the win and is 2-0 in the postseason. He dropped his season ERA to 1.78 and his playoff ERA to 1.00 in 14 innings pitched.
“Nick was outstanding. He has had one bad game this whole year. He has been everything you could ask for from a pitcher, especially from the left side. He is on his game,” three-year varsity starter Cody Brown said.
While Moore was retiring Sherman with ease the Waxahachie offense pounded out 13 hits against three Sherman pitchers to record their second double-digit hitting game in the postseason.
Brown led the offensive push for the Indians with his second 3-for-3 performance in a row. The senior third baseman is hitting .583 this postseason and scored two runs Friday.
“I am reading it out of the hand, that is all there is to it. I am putting my hip and hands on the ball at the same time just getting up there thinking nothing but window,” Brown said.
Liss was 7-1 for Sherman entering the game tied for the team lead but could not catch a break against the hot hitting Indians. He allowed eight hits and five runs before being chased after 81 pitches. His replacements did not fare much better against the Waxahachie bats.
“We swung the bat tonight, we did. We hit some balls hard, got some big base hits and out hit them 13-5. We know from last week it is not over but I feel good about it,” Wood said.
As a whole the five Waxahachie left-handed batters were 11-of-18 (.611) against Sherman and showed that they can hit pitching from any side.
“I tell coach Miller a lot that I do not adhere to the matchups a whole lot. We are not big leaguers and I think the best hitters are still the best hitters. I don’t care what side he hits, right side or left side. The key to the whole thing is we swung the bat well tonight and Nick gave us a chance on the mound,” Wood said.
With the game tied at one in the bottom of the fourth David Villarreal doubled off the center field wall to kick start the four-run inning for the Indians. Brown walked before Chase Rudolph moved the runners in to scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.
Ryan Cawthon singled in a run before Michael Bosch knocked in another to put Waxahachie ahead 4-1. After a ground out Kyle McLeroy singled to center for the inning’s final run.
Waxahachie continued to hit the ball well in the fifth as David Martinelli led off with a double to left-center field on the first pitch he saw from Sherman right-handed pitcher Ryan McBride.
Villarreal singled before Brown drove across Martinelli with a single to left. Cawthon pushed across the seventh run with a sacrifice fly to center before walks by Bosch and Seth Sims loaded the bases for McLeroy.
Sherman made another pitching change after McBride threw eight consecutive balls and turned to righty Carter McMillan.
McLeroy doubled down the left field line to push across two runs before a Waxahachie runner was thrown out at home plate. McLeroy finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI to improve his postseason performance to a .571 average with eight hits and five RBI in four games.
The series shifted to Sherman on Saturday.