What a difference a week can make.
Waxahachie outfielder Sammy Ernst had a rough game in the field against Midlothian in the championship game of the Robert Dulin Tournament. The very next Saturday, in the championship of the Waco Midway Tournament, he was perfect in the field and had a clutch hit to seal the Indians’ 5-4 win against Tyler Lee.
“I was just glad to see them stick in my glove after last week,” Ernst said of flyballs in the outfield. “The team really had my back though and I was able to get over it and put that behind me.”
With the game tied at four in the top of the fifth and with two outs, Alex Engelhardt reached on a fielder’s choice. He then stole second to get the go ahead run into scoring position. That’s right where Ernst needed him to be as he drilled one into right field to score the eventual winning run.
“That was a big hit right there,” Waxahachie coach Tracy Wood said. “That’s just how this team is going right now. We make them interesting with some tough plays out in the field, but somebody has been coming up with a big hit lately to keep us in these ball games.”
The Indians won all four of its games in Waco and three of them in similar dramatic fashion. But the team says that is just helping them.
“I think we know now that we can play with anybody,” Ernst said. “We played a bunch of good teams down here and we have plenty of confidence now going ahead to district.”
Waxahachie scored three in the top of the fourth to break a 1-1 tie and those runs looked like they would be more than enough to get the win.
Trent Armstrong led off the fourth with an infield single then Engelhardt singled on the next pitch to put two runners on. Ernst drew a walk to load the bases. Two batters later, Taylor Bright came up to the plate with two outs and drew a bases loaded walk to score Armstrong.
David Martinelli came up to the plate with the bases still loaded and took a slow curve off his thigh facing an 0-2 count to bring Engelhardt around to score. Castellanos put another quarter in the merry-go-round as he battled through a seven-pitch at bat to draw a walk and score Ernst and make it 4-1 Waxahachie.
Three errors in the outfield in the bottom of the inning allowed Lee to tie the game at four and force Armstrong out of the game. Once Armstrong left after 59 pitches, Jacob Loose came to the mound to get out of the jam. He pitched two and a third scoreless innings, allowing just one walk, to earn the win.
Once Waxahachie had the lead, the team went to Kolton Smith to shut the door in the seventh and he threw a perfect inning to clinch the perfect week in Waco. The bullpen duo of Loose and Smith threw three and a third innings and only allowed one base runner to help seal the victory.
The Indians used small ball to perfection in the first inning to score their first run. Martinelli led off the game with a double to left field and Castellanos bunted him over to third. Two batters later, Marshall Herron ripped a single back up the middle to score Martinelli and get the Indains on the board first.
Waxahachie (12-3, 1-0 in 15-4A) will be back in action today when it plays Lancaster at noon on the road.
This game should be an easy win for the Indians as they run-ruled the Tigers twice last season.
But following that game, the competition gets tougher as the Mansfield Legacy Broncos (6-8, 1-0 in 15-4A) come to town at 7 p.m. Friday.
While the Broncos don’t have as impressive of an overall record as Waxahachie, they are expected to be a strong competiter for one of the four playoff teams in this district after they dropped from 5A to 4A this season.