CANTON – Hallsville predicates its success on hitting the ball but Waxahachie’s success all season has come with pitching and Thursday in game one of the Class 4A regional quarterfinal best-of-three series the Indians showed that their style of play is tops with a 4-2 victory at Eagle Field.
Waxahachie senior Nick Moore held Hallsville to five hits in seven innings while allowing one earned run and striking out five to improve to 3-0 in the postseason and drop his season ERA to 1.70.
“Nick pitched his butt off. I tip my hat off to him. He does great every time he takes the mound,” Waxahachie sophomore short stop David Martinelli said. “Our pitching staff is unbelievable.”
Martinelli was the offensive player of the night as he connected on a first-pitch fastball from Hallsville pitcher Connor Reich in the top of the second inning sending it over the scoreboard and into Highway-243 to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
“He was throwing first pitch fastballs to most of the hitters so I was just sitting fastball and he gave me my pitch and I took advantage of it,” Martinelli said.
Martinelli’s fourth home run of the season gave Moore room to work on the mound but Hallsville answered back with two runs in the top of the third after an error was made on a routine double play ball and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases.
Hallsville clean-up hitter Blaise Warrick singled in a run before a sacrifice fly to center tied the game at two. The Bobcats attempted a squeeze bunt with one away and were tagged out at the plate before Moore ended Hallsville’s only threat of the night with a strike out.
“I thought Nick threw really well. I remember one ball that he got up, the base hit that scored a run one. Other than that, I thought he threw the ball really well,” Waxahachie head coach Tracy Wood said. “I expected this type of performance out of Nick. I know he is going to give up a hit here and there, you just don’t want it to be a big one when it happens. He is going to do a good job each time he takes the mound.”
Waxahachie (27-11) took the lead for good in the bottom of the third as Kyle McLeroy reached with one away before Cameron Phillips walked. McLeroy stole third and scored on a passed ball to put Waxahachie ahead 3-2.
Working with the lead, Moore retired the next 11 batters in a row while the Indian offense added an insurance run in the fourth.
Senior catch Chase Rudolph singled leading off the fourth and was replaced on the bases by Blake Gonzales. Gonzales stole second and two outs later scored on a single to center off the bat of Seth Sims to give Moore a two-run lead.
Hallsville (26-8) put two on with two outs in the top of the seventh but a routine fly to center ended the game and put the Indians one step closer to the regional semifinals.
“They can definitely hit the ball but I kept it low and my defense made a lot of plays behind me. David, Cody (Brown) and my outfield all the way around gave me a lot of help tonight,” Moore said. “I was mixing up speeds pretty well and when they were hitting balls hard it was right at people and that is how it works sometimes.”
Game two is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today as McLeroy is expected to take the mound for the Indians while Hallsville is expected to throw senior Tyler Green. If a game three is needed it will be played at 2 p.m. Saturday in Canton.
“Getting this first win is huge. We don’t want to ever go done 0-1 because that puts our backs against the wall. We would rather have control of the series and just take it,” Moore said.
Waxahachie has won four consecutive playoff games with Moore winning three of the four while Hallsville has experience bouncing back from tough losses.
“Now we have to go in to game two understanding that those guys can hit their way back into a ballgame. Forney beat them 17-2 on Saturday before Hallsville came back in game three to win the series so these guys know how to lose and come back and win,” Wood said.
Winner of the series plays the winner of the Dallas Hillcrest-Rockwall Heath series next weekend. Hillcrest won game one 3-1 Wednesday and game two is scheduled for tonight.