By Raymond Linex II
Corsicana Daily Sun
It was one of those rivalry games where most things needed to go right for you. A 3-2 pitch. A ball in the gap. A play at the plate.
Just enough went right for Waxahachie, and the Indians left Ennis with a 6-3 win over the Tigers, taking a 1-0 lead in the Region II-4A bi-district series.
Game 2 is Friday night in Waxahachie, as the Indians moved to 24-7, and the Tigers fell to 25-7.
The third inning was the big difference, as the Indians plated four runs on three hits and a leadoff walk, including a two-run Sammy Ernst home run off Tigers’ starter Trevor Nolen. Nolen walked nine-hole hitter Trent Armstrong, then gave up a single, but after a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, he looked like he’d get out of the inning.
But Waxahachie starting pitcher Marshall Herron, the four-hole hitter, battled with a 3-2 count, fouling off two pitches, then singling to drive in two runs.
Ernst followed by lofting a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall to make it 5-1.
Staked to a four-run lead, Herron came out and promptly gave up back-to-back-to-back singles to Brady Harlan, Holden Grounds and Hunter Denbow, the last of which cut the lead to 5-2. Zane Otten then worked a four-pitch walk to load the bases, and a Bobby Lopez fielder’s choice made it 5-3.
It was as close as the Tigers would get, though, as Nolen grounded into an inning-ending double play.
In the fourth, Nolen looked prime for a 1-2-3, low-pitch inning, but Trent Armstrong showed his speed from the bottom of the lineup and legged out an infield single. He stole second, and barreled for home on a single to right field from David Martinelli.
It was a very close play at the plate as Harlan fired a strike from right on a play that probably shouldn’t have been close, given Armstrong’s speed. But Armstrong was called safe, giving the Indians a 6-3 lead, but perhaps more importantly denying the Tigers likely momentum after a splendid play that was all for naught.
Nolen, who went five innings, gave up six runs, all earned, and got a popup to end the inning. He went three-up, three-down in the fifth, and Aaron Cantu in the sixth and Grounds in the seventh pitched 1-2-3 innings.
But the Tigers just couldn’t find any offense down the stretch. Harlan took a two-out walk in the seventh off Martinelli, who relieved Herron after six solid innings. It was the only base runner the Tigers managed in the final three innings.
All six of Waxahachie’s runs came with two outs. In the first, David Villareal singled, and was pinch-ran for. It paid off for the Indians, as Herron doubled to right-center for a 1-0 lead.
But the Tigers answered, as Layton Wolver led off with a 35-foot single down the third base line. He scored two batters later on a one-out double by Grounds off the right field wall.
Waxahachie 6, Corsicana 3
Waxahachie 104 100 0 – 6 8 1
Corsicana 102 000 0 – 3 6 0
WP –Marshall Herron
LP – Tyler Nolen
Top Hitters – W: David Martinelli 2-4 (RBI), Marshall Herron 2-3 (2B, 3 RBIs), Sammy Ernst 1-3 (HR, 2 RBIs). C: Layton Wolver 1-4 (SB, run), Brady Harlan 1-3 (run, BB), Holden Grounds 2-4 (RBI, run), Hunter Denbow 1-3 (RBI), Zach Rash 1-3.
Records – Waxahachie 24-7, Corsicana 25-7.
Waxahachie leads series, 1-0.
Game 2, 7 p.m. Friday, at Richards Park, Waxahachie.
Game 3, if necessary, 1 p.m. Saturday, at Price Field, Corsicana.