There won’t be any mystery when Corsicana’s Tigers meet Midlothian in the 5A Region Championship Series this week at Dallas Baptist University.
The two teams that have fought their way to the region final know each other well.
Both survived the brutal District 14-5A race,, which was considered by many to be the most competitive in Texas, and both have battled their way through three rounds of playoffs to become part of the Elite Eight field of 5A teams left in the state of Texas.
Both teams won in the Region II Semifinals last week at DBU, where they begin a best-of-three series Friday afternoon.
Game 1 was scheduled for Wednesday night, but the weather washed the game out, and the two schools scrambled to reset the schedule early Wednesday.
Game 1 is now set for 1 p.m. on Friday with Game 2 to follow 30 minutes later.
If a Game 3 is needed the two district rivals will meet back at DBU at 1 p.m. Saturday to find out which team will advance to next week’s UIL state tournament in Round Rock.
Corsicana hasn’t been this far in the playoffs since the 1958 team played for the state title, but the Tigers are more concerned with Midlothian’s pitching staff than history right now.
Tigers (27-10) and Panthers (26-13) split their two district games, both winning on their home turf.
The Panthers won at Midlothian 3-1 on April 16 and the Tigers won two days later at Price Field when they scored eight runs in the first two innings in a 9-2 victory.
The Panthers’ ace Caden Hawkins, a tough lefthander, made life miserable for the Tigers in Midlothian, where he went the seven-inning distance and threw a four-hitter, striking out 10 Tigers without walking anyone.
Hawkins has been on fire and hasn’t lost a game since February.
The only Tiger who gave him trouble in April was Devan Lindsey, who got three of the Tigers’ four hits, going 3-for-3 and scoring a run. Caden Rash had the other hit, and Kolby Kinkade drove in Corsicana’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to close the score to 3-1.
Micah Burke pitched well in the loss, giving up three runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Nathan Humphrey led the Panthers at the plate that night, going 2-for-3. He scored a run and drove in a run.
The Tigers beat Midlothian starter Jackson Quinn, who was knocked out with no outs in the second inning at Price.
The Tigers scored three runs in the first and had a big five-run second inning. Quinn allowed three hits and two walks and all five runners scored. He didn’t strike out anyone in his short stint.
Caden Copeland pitched three innings in relief and gave up four runs on six hits, including a home run off the bat of Lindsey, who doubled and homered in the game, and also pithed in relief that night.
Kinkade started the game at Price and shut out the Panthers over four innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three and walking one.
Lindsey threw the final three innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three.
Miguel Leuvano, who went 0-for-3 against Hawkins, went 3-for-3, stole two bases and scored twice in the win, and Hunter Autrey drove in two runs. Burke went 2-for-3, with an RBI and Ty Nolen went 2-for-3 with an RBI, and Blake Hoffman drove in a run that night.
The Tigers took second place (8-4) behind Cleburne and Midlothian was fourth (7-5), but the Panthers knocked off two district champs, sweeping Forney and taking a best-of-three series from Cleburne in the playoffs. And then they swept Wylie East last week.
Nothing matters now but Friday and the ultimate rematch...