By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
Holden Grounds dealt, Ben Goodrich clutched up again and the Tigers escaped the Piney Woods with an emotional win on Friday night.
Grounds had 15 strikeouts and Goodrich had a two-out double in the top of the eighth, plating the only run of the game as the Tigers topped Nacogdoches in extra innings in a tightly contested matchup at Dragon Field.
Corsicana (17-4-1, 2-0) remained unbeaten in 16-4A. It took a total team effort against an unknown opponent in the Tigers' new district.
The Tigers had left eight men on base through seven innings when they finally broke through in the top of the eighth. Freshman Layton Wolver started the game-winning rally, drawing a one-out walk. He went to second on an uncontested steal, setting the inning up for the Tigers.
Brady Harlan, the Tigers' sophomore No. 3 hitter, drilled a single through the hole between shortstop and third base and third-base coach Heath Autrey held up the speedy Wolver coming around third with the ball quickly getting into the outfield.
The Tigers tried a safety squeeze to get their first run in, but Grounds' bunt went back to the pitcher and Wolver was an easy out at home for the second out, leaving runners at first and third.
Goodrich, who had a walkoff hit against Hutto in the Leander Tournament, worked the count to two strikes before ripping a ground ball just inside the third-base bag to easily score Harlan from second base for a 1-0 lead.
"Just be fair," Goodrich said he was thinking to himself after he connected with the ball.
Autrey elected to stay with Grounds for the eighth inning -- reliever Jeremy Fowler was ready to come in if the game was still tied.
Grounds, who got stronger as the game went on, got a fly ball to center fielder Zane Otten for the first out. The Dragons' No. 9 hitter Nate Harshbarger then hit a soft line drive into left field that looked like it would fall in for a hit. But Tigers left fielder Aaron Cantu made a spectacular sliding catch for the second out of the inning.
Grounds finished off the game with his 15th strikeout, punching out Dragons leadoff hitter Brigham Hill.
"I wanted to get in the game once we scored that run and close it out," Grounds said.
The Tigers leaned heavily on Grounds, who had to match the quality pitching of Dragons starter Pat Ledet -- who left the game in the fourth inning injured -- and reliever Hunter McClennan.
Grounds got out of a jam in the first inning with a runner at third and one out. He got strikeouts of Dakota Phillips and Ledet to end the inning.
Grounds had five consecutive strikeouts at one point and wasn't really threatened after that. He did give up a leadoff hit in the seventh inning, but Grounds' pitching and the Tigers' flawless defense behind him killed the Dragons' rally.
Setting up Goodrich's heroics in the eighth inning, giving the Tigers their 14th win in 15 games.
"This was a total team effort tonight," Autrey said.
Nacogdoches softball 11, Corsicana 1: The Tigers softball team lost at Nacogdoches on Friday night, 11-1, suffering their first district loss of the season. The Lady Dragons remained unbeaten at 3-0 in district. Corsicana is 2-1.
Corsicana 1, Nacogdoches 0 (8 innings)
Corsicana 000 000 01 - 7 6 0
Nacogdoches 000 000 00 - 0 3 0
WP -- Holden Grounds (7-0)
LP -- Hunter McClennan
Top hitters -- Corsicana: Ben Goodrich 1-4 (2B, RBI), Brady Harlan 1-4 (run); Nacogdoches: Brigham Hill 1-3 (2B).
Records -- Corsicana 17-4-1, 2-0.