Indians remain safe in baseball playoffs

Photo Credit: Kirk Holt | Waxahachie Daily Light

WHS holds off Tyler Legacy in Game 3, will meet Rockwall in one-gamer Thursday

TYLER — For just a second, it looked like the magic carpet ride for the Waxahachie Indians was about to end as host Tyler Legacy forced a rubber game with a Game 2 decision and then took a 3-0 lead in the deciding Game 3 of their area-round series on Saturday afternoon at Mike Carter Field.

But thanks to a yeoman mound effort by senior Lucas Ferguson and a huge fourth inning, the Indians keep flying deeper into the postseason.

Overcoming a three-run top of the first inning by the Red Raiders, the Indians (16-12-1) answered with a five-run bottom of the fourth and held on for a 5-3 victory to punch their ticket to the Class 6A Region II quarterfinals.

It’s the deepest advance for the Tribe in Texas’ highest classification yet, and the deepest for the WHS baseball program since 2017’s 31-win district championship season.

As a bonus, WHS skipper Tracy Wood won the coin toss with Rockwall and will get his wish of a one-game playoff, with senior lefthanded ace Jared Thomas fully rested following his three-hit, 13-strikeout win in Friday’s Game 1 at Richards Park. The Indians and Yellowjackets will meet at North Forney on Thursday night at 7 p.m.

In Saturday’s Game 3, Ferguson took his lumps early as Legacy (formerly known as Tyler Lee) took a three-run lead in the first inning on an RBI single followed by a two-run double.

But the Tribe finally broke through in the fourth, all with two out. Jaxson Crow singled in a pair of runs to get the Indians on the board, and a passed ball allowed Garret Bruce to score to tie the game. After Thomas was intentionally walked to load the bases, Jacob Cruz delivered a two-run single to give the Indians the lead.

Ferguson went six innings and allowed only the initial three runs on three hits, striking out eight. Ferguson left the game because of his pitch count after six innings, but Cade Sims pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the save.

In Friday’s Game 1 at Richards Park, Thomas’ string of hitless innings came to an end on the second at-bat of the game, but the University of Texas signee was plenty effective regardless.

The Indians took a 1-0 edge on a Zach Pearrow grounder that was booted at second, scoring Cruz. Legacy tied it in the second on a walk, a groundout and a single, but WHS again used an error in the field to score Cruz, this time on an outfield miscue off a line drive by Caleb Perry that put the Indians up for good.

The Tribe added two insurance runs in the sixth with an RBI single by Crow and an RBI double by Thomas.

The scene shifted to Tyler’s Mike Carter Field on Saturday, but this time the Red Raiders assembled one big inning — the bottom of the second — to erase an early 3-0 Indian lead in a 7-4 Legacy win that extended the series.

Cruz finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored; Pearrow added a triple, walked twice and scored; and Thomas had a double and scored twice for the Indians.

Kash Thorne pitched an inning-plus, Sims threw two frames and Beck Sullivan worked the final three innings as the Indians eyed Game 3 and a hopeful series-clinching victory that was achieved.