WACO – The Waxahachie Indian baseball team doesn’t turn away from a challenge. It finds a way to beat it.
The squad found a way to win its first three games of its final tournament of the year in Waco without using its ace pitcher on the mound.
Waxahachie beat Burleson Centennial 7-1 thanks to a strong effort from Marshall Herron on the mound.
The team then beat A&M Consolidated 4-3 after a great start from David Martinelli and an amazing final play by senior outfield Trent Armstrong to seal the victory.
Waxahachie then beat the host school, Waco Midway, 3-1 with a great comeback in its final at bat.
“We just find a way to win,” Waxahachie coach Tracy Wood said. “It’s not always going to be pretty, but we’re going to gut it out and win games like this.”
The Indians finished its run in the tournament Saturday afternoon against Tyler Lee. To see how the team faired, pick up Tuesday’s Waxahachie Daily Light, or visit www.waxahachietx.com.
All four of the teams they faced in this tournament won at least one playoff series last year and are primed to do the same this season.
The Indians (11-3, 1-0 in 15-4A) will continue district play Tuesday afternoon when they visit Lancaster at noon. Waxahachie will then host Mansfield Legacy (6-7-2, 1-0 in 15-4A) at 7 p.m. Friday.
Waxahachie 7, Burleson Centennial 1
Thanks to a 90-pitch, complete-game effort by Herron and a four-run fifth inning, the Indians were able to coast past the Spartans.
Herron allowed just one unearned run and scattered nine hits while striking out a pair to get the win. Sammy Ernst and David Villarreal each had a pair of hits. Villarreal’s was the biggest blast of the game as his first solo home run of the season put the Indians up 3-1 in the fourth inning.
“I just got a pitch I liked and put a good swing on it,” Villarreal said. “I think we’re all starting to feel pretty good at the plate right now and making the most of our chances.”
While Ernst had a pair of hits, it was his one-out walk in the second that really got things going for Waxahachie. Evan Jones and Kyle Wood each drew walks right after him to load the bases for catcher Tyler Johnson.
The sophomore backstop was looking for his first big hit on the varsity team and got it with a single to left field to score Ernst and Jones.
Armstrong got the big inning started in the fifth by getting hit by a pitch. He then stole second. Ernst then singled on a shallow fly to center to get runners on the corners.
A single by Jones brought in Armstrong and moved Ernst to third.
Wood then dropped a bunt single, which allowed Ernst to score and move Jones to second. Jones and Wood took second and third on a passed ball to get two more runners in scoring position for Martinelli. The senior batting leader then ripped a single to right to score Jones. Wood scored when John Castellanos stepped into the box next and singled up the middle to make it 7-1.
Waxahachie 4, A&M Consolidated 3
Waxahachie only mustered three hits, but the Indians made them count as they barely squeaked past the Tigers.
The Indians took a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth thanks to a rally started by Martinelli. He ripped a single to center then was lifted for courtesy runner Shane Landers. Castellanos dropped a sacrifice bunt to move Landers to second.
Villarreal followed with a single to right to get runners on the corners with one out. Herron then dropped a squeeze bunt to get Landers home from third.
That lead seemed like it would be enough, but the Tigers started a rally in the bottom of the seventh and final inning.
Consolidated loaded the bases with two singles and a walk. With two outs, a ball was ripped to left field, allowing one run to easily score.
The Tigers tried to tie it up and the second run was gunned down at the plate on a strike from Armstrong to sophomore catcher Taylor Bright.
“I just came up firing and was just able to beat him,” Armstrong said. “I knew that if he scored we would be tied up and I wanted to walk it off from the outfield.”
You don’t see the walk-off throw out from left field often, but that’s just what happened as the game ended on that strike from 150 feet away.
Armstrong scored a run during the Indians’ three-run second inning. With one out, Engelhardt drew a walk then
Armstrong was hit by a pitch. Ernst then walked to load the bases for Jacob Loose. A fielder’s choice at second forced Ernst out, but allowed Engelhardt to score to tie the game at one and keep runners on the corners. Bright walked to load the bases, but they wouldn’t stay that way for long as Martinelli brought in Loose and Armstrong with a line drive single to left to make it 3-1.
Waxahachie 3, Waco Midway 1
The Indians waited until their last at bat to get anything going against the host school.
Waxahachie was limited to just one hit in the first six innings, but another timely single by Martinelli allowed the team to pull out a fourth-straight win.
The winning rally started with a one-out walk by Ernst. Jones then looped a single into shallow centerfield to move Ernst all the way to third.
Then the Indians executed another squeeze perfectly as Armstrong dropped one right on the first base line to score Ernst. Armstrong beat a throw to first to keep two runners on. Landers checked into the game to run for Jones and he and Armstrong used a double steal to get into scoring position. Engelhardt drew an intentional walk to load the bases. After a strike out for the second out, Martinelli ripped a two-strike, two-out, two-run single to right to score Landers and Armstrong to seal the victory for Waxahachie.
Kolton Smith was perfect in relief to get his first save of the year.