Indians clinch with walk-off victory
Game-winner scores from 2nd base on mishandled double play
The playoff-bound Waxahachie Indians found themselves tied with Mansfield Lake Ridge headed into the bottom of the seventh inning after leading throughout Tuesday night’s game, but found a way to pull out a huge victory in walk-off fashion.
As Lake Ridge tried to turn a double play to end the inning and force extra innings, Anthony Mata beat out the relay throw and Xavien Thompson scored all the way from second base for the game-winner as the Indians (21-8, 9-4) pulled out a thrilling 5-4 win at Richards Park to clinch a postseason berth.
Mata and Thompson are two of the Tribe’s seniors who were honored after the game, which was the last home game of the regular season.
After Lake Ridge had scored two runs in the top of the seventh to knot the score, Thompson led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and advanced to second on Jacob Cruz’s groundout.
Then after Jared Thomas was intentionally walked, Mata grounded back to the Lake Ridge pitcher, who threw to second to force Thomas. But the throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag and was then mishandled, and Thompson kept running as he rounded third and slid headfirst into home for the winning run.
Mata finished the night 2-for-4 with four of the team’s RBI. Thomas was 2-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI and a run scored, and was also hit by a pitch to reach base.
After entering with the bases loaded and conceding a game-tying two-run double, Casey Kelly pitched the final out in the seventh and got the win in relief of lefty Thomas, who was strong through the first five innings before tiring in the sixth. Thomas scattered seven singles and struck out eight, walking three before reaching his pitch count limit.
After a scoreless first two innings, the Indians broke the ice in the bottom of the third as Thomas singled home Kelly from second and Mata followed with a bloop single to left, scoring Cruz and Thomas for a 3-0 lead.
Mata delivered again in the fourth when he lined a single center to bring in Thompson and make it 4-0. But the Eagles (18-9, 7-6) mounted a rally, scoring two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to pull even.
The Indians’ trip to Waco Midway for their final regular-season game has been postponed to Monday with the site to be determined, WHS announced Friday afternoon. The bi-district round of the Class 6A Region II playoffs will be next week and the Indians’ seeding will depend on the outcome of this game and other games in the district.