By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Jose Olvedo lined a seventh-inning single into left field Saturday afternoon to continue the historic run for Life Waxahachie in the 4A baseball playoffs.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and Mustangs on first and second, Olvedo singled home Julian Keys to break a 5-5 tie with the No. 1 (27-8) Celina Bobcats. It was the second hit of the game for Olvedo, who reached base three times in game three of the three-game 4A Region II area championship.
His shot also resulted in a 6-5 walk-off and series-clinching win on the Mustangs’ home field — continuing their incredible and record-setting season.
Life Waxahachie, which began its baseball program in 2010, had never won a playoff game prior to an 11-0 bi-district victory on Thursday, May 6 against Dallas Pinkston.
“[It] was a great day for the Mustang baseball program,” recalled Life Waxahachie head baseball coach Dustin Robinson following the victory. The Mustang baseball program had previously reached the postseason just twice before. “These young men have been working extremely hard throughout the year to get to this point. They committed at the beginning of the year that they were going to be remembered as the most successful team in program history. With this win, they have accomplished that.”
The Mustangs weren’t satisfied with the lone playoff win, either.
Celina took the opening game of the 4A Region II area championship, 9-5, this past Friday afternoon. The Mustangs quickly regrouped to steal game two, 2-1, later that evening with a seventh-inning run via a Bobcat error.
Ethan Starks (1-2, 3.23 ERA) picked up the win on the mound in the contest, tossing a complete-game gem. He struck out seven, scattered two hits and allowed the lone Celina run (unearned) in the bottom of the first inning.
Starks has a team-best 71 strikeouts over 43.1 IP on the season. The senior also leads the Mustangs with two home runs, 32 runs scored and a .455-batting average. One of his round-trippers was the first-ever for a Mustang at Mustang Park, which opened in April 2019.
Mustang Park was also the site for game three of Saturday afternoon’s 4A area championship.
Celina wasted no time plating a pair of one-out runs in the top of the first inning.
Life Waxahachie knotted the game at 2-all after Dominic Ortiz and Olvedo drew a pair of second-inning walks. Ortiz eventually scored on a passed ball, while Olvedo scored when Starks was hit by a pitch.
The Bobcats plated two more runs in the third and another in the seventh off of Ortiz, who eventually tossed a seven-inning complete game with three strikeouts, one walk and seven hits allowed. Four of the five runs he allowed were unearned.
The final run scored by Celina came via a DJ Dell’Anno home run on a 1-2 count. The long ball to left-center field led off the final frame and tied the game at five.
Prior to the blast, Life Waxahachie had previously plated a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Mustangs quickly found themselves down to their final out before a trip to extra innings.
Julian Keys then worked an impressive nine-pitch walk. He moved to second base when Ortiz singled into right field.
With a Mustang in scoring position, the stage was set for Olvedo to be the hero. He could either send Life Waxahachie into the third round of the 4A playoffs or extra innings.
Olvedo delivered on the fourth pitch of his at-bat. He was mobbed by teammates between first base and the pitcher’s mound just after Keys slid into home for the 6-5 area championship win.
The Mustangs advanced to face (16-11) Melissa in the 4A Region II quarterfinals. The Cardinals swept Alvarado 12-0 and 9-0 in the area round this past week.
Game one of the three-game set will be at 5 p.m. Friday, with game two slated for noon Saturday and game three to follow (if necessary). All games will be played at Irving MacArthur High School.
All photos by Kirk Holt/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith