In close games, and in close district races, the “what-ifs” always spring to mind — but the Waxahachie Indians have little time to fret over Friday night’s outcome at Richards Park.
The Indians rallied to knot the score at 3-all in the bottom of the sixth inning and the game stayed tied after seven complete. In the top of the eighth, the Mansfield Tigers scored two runs, and held off the hard-charging Tribe for a 5-3 win to split the District 11-6A home-and-home series.
WHS outhit the Tigers 8-5, but two errors in the pivotal eighth inning resulted in the two Mansfield runs. Still, the Indians had one last chance to pull the game out of the fire as they loaded the bases with one out on a Nash Nicholas walk, a Jared Thomas single and a Bryce Marquardt walk.
But Mansfield reliever Ryan Rauss came on and ended the game with two strikeouts, one swinging and one looking.
Thomas finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a double and a run scored. On the mound, Thomas lasted six innings and struck out 10, but had to leave the game with a pitch count of 105.
After the Indians tied it up in the bottom of the sixth on Jacob Cruz’s single that brought home courtesy runner Westin Herrell, reliever Kash Thorne inherited the game and pitched a scoreless seventh, but suffered the hard-luck loss without giving up a hit.
Mansfield broke on top 2-0 in the top of the first on a two-run double by Josh Cortez, but the Indians got the runs right back in the home half as Thomas doubled and scored on a wild pitch and Kelley Jenkins successfully executed a squeeze bunt to score Marquardt.
The Tigers nosed ahead again in the second inning, and the score remained 3-2 until the sixth.
The two teams had flip-flopped home sites after Tuesday night’s thunderstorms left Richards Park unplayable. The Tribe traveled to Mansfield on Wednesday and came away with a 4-3 victory.
The Indians (8-10-1, 5-5) were scheduled to travel to Waco High on Tuesday night to start their penultimate district home-and-home series. They will host the Lions next Friday night at Richards Park.