Indians rally for extra-inning win
Kelly goes full 8 innings; dropped third strike gives Tribe new life
DUNCANVILLE — Waxahachie senior righthander Casey Kelly was sharp for seven innings on Tuesday night. As it turned out, he was asked to be sharp for eight.
Fortunately, Kelly’s pitch count was low enough that he was able to give the Indians one extra inning, and Kelly shut down the Duncanville Panthers in the bottom of the eighth to preserve a crucial 4-2 come-from-behind victory that greatly boosted the Tribe’s postseason hopes.
After a dropped third strike in the top of the seventh inning let WHS knot the score, a line-drive single by late-game substitute Landon Davis with two out in the top of the eighth scored Xavien Thompson from second base to put WHS in the lead to stay, and the Indians added insurance with Kelly drawing a bases-loaded walk, forcing home Jacob Cruz from third.
Kelly pitched around a one-out walk to retire the Panthers in the home half of the inning and lock down the win.
Kelly finished with a complete-game four-hitter, striking out five and walking two, and threw exactly 100 pitches, 64 for strikes. Only one of the two runs charged to him was earned.
Freshman Joel Jurkash finished 2-for-3 as the Indians (18-7, 6-3) managed six hits.
After leading off the game with Thompson’s line-drive home run to right, the Indians allowed a single tally in each of the second and fourth innings. They still trailed 2-1 heading into the top of the seventh.
But Jurkash led off with a single to right and was lifted for pinch runner Landon Davis, who advanced to second on a Jaxon Crow sac bunt. Davis moved up to third on a Kelly groundout and scored on a dropped third strike with Cade Davis batting, tying the game at 2-all.
The Panthers threatened to walk it off in the bottom of the seventh by getting a runner to third, but Kelly induced a grounder to first baseman Jared Thomas for the unassisted third out and the game went into extras.
The Indians were scheduled to travel to first-place Mansfield High on Friday night to end a three-game district road swing. They will make their long-awaited return to the friendly confines of Richards Park on Tuesday against Waco High, with first pitch set for 7 p.m.
The Tribe will also host DeSoto on April 23 and Mansfield Lake Ridge on April 27 before ending the regular season April 30 at Waco Midway.
The 11-6A baseball race appears headed for a freight-train finish, and it goes without saying that every game is vital.
Mansfield leads the district with a 7-2 record, with Waxahachie and Midway one game back and Lake Ridge, Waco and Duncanville all tied for fourth at 5-4 with five games to go headed into Friday night’s action. DeSoto and Cedar Hill (both 1-8) bring up the rear.