The days of a cupcake opening series for the Waxahachie baseball club are gone, at least until the next reclassification. Waxahachie needed stellar outings on the bump and a few clutch hits to sweep Dallas Skyline and win the first 6A bi-district title in program history this week.
Waxahachie took the opener, 8-4, at Paul Richards Park on Thursday and the hung tough for a 4-3 victory in the series finale Friday afternoon at Skyline.
The Indians entered the postseason as the second seed out of District 7-6A, while Skyline was the third seed from District 8-6A.
A seven-run first inning was all Casey Kelly and Christian Gonzales needed for a playoff-opening 8-4 win Thursday evening against Dallas Skyline at Richards Park in Waxahachie.
Aaron Tesei got the scoring party started with a seven-pitch walk and promptly stole second base. He then scored on a Campbell Sullivan double to left-center field.
But the biggest shot of the inning came three pitches after Peyton Graham popped out to the catcher.
Sitting in an 0-2 count, Sage Hampton connected for his first home run of the season. The one-out shot to left-center field plated Sullivan and put the Indians on top 3-0.
Back-to-back singles off of the bats of Anthony Mata and BG Winn were followed by a Xavian Thompson walk, DJ Hollywood single and two-run Connor Watson double to for a 7-0 Waxahachie lead.
"I thought early we played really well. I thought we came out with a great approach and swung the bat, banged a few balls off the wall and then got a little complacent there toward the end," Waxahachie head baseball coach Tracy Wood said after the game. The Indians scored just once more in the ball game, which came in the bottom of the third inning that began with a Thompson single. He later moved to third on a double by Hollywood and scored on a fielder's choice put into play by Watson.
"We were taking called third [strikes] and not swinging at fastballs, so we have to fix that," Wood continued. "But, early in the game, I thought we swung it really well and I was really happy with the way we got after it right there."
Casey Kelly earned the win for the Tribe after allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits. He also struck out nine.
Christian Gonzales worked a clean seventh inning and struck out two.
"I think Casey was [pitching] up a little bit early, but I thought he settled in and got the ball down in the zone," Wood said. "Christian came in there and closed it out for us and did a good job. That's one. We are playing a series so we will have to go up there tomorrow and win another one. We have to take it one at a time."
The Raiders made things interesting late in game two of the bi-district championship Friday evening at Skyline High School. Thankfully for the Indians, a fourth-inning Jordan Fay sacrifice bunt to score BG Winn proved to be the difference.
Mata led the way for the Indians at the plate. He finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and one run scored.
Mata also scored the first run of the ball game on a fielder's choice off of the bat of DJ Hollywood in the top of the third inning. Hollywood and Winn also scored in the inning on Skyline errors.
Aaron Tesei, Campbell Sullivan, BG Winn, Hollywood and Fay collected the Indians hits.
Skyline added one run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Both teams recorded seven hits in the ballgame.
Jordy Fay tossed 5.1 innings of three-run baseball. He allowed all three earned runs on seven hits and three walks while also striking out three.
Graham earned the save with 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball. The University of Oklahoma-signee struck out three.
Emilio Trevino, a senior signed with Brookhaven College, took a hard-luck complete-game loss for Skyline. He struck out seven, walked none and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits.
Trevino also recorded a double and RBI for the Raiders, finishing 2-for-4 at the dish.
The Indians will face the winner of Flower Mound Marcus and Byron Nelson in the 6A Region I area championship at a date, time and location to be determined. The series was not completed as of press time.
Fred Phipps/Daily Light contributed to this report.