By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
Xavien Thompson could very well have saved the Waxahachie Indians’ playoff dreams Saturday afternoon.
With the Indians clinging to a 5-3 lead and the basepaths full of DeSoto Eagles, the senior centerfielder watched as a sacrifice flyout plated a run to cut the Waxahachie lead to one run, 5-4. The fly ball reeled in by Justin Smith in right field did record the second out of the top of the seventh, however.
The out was ultimately followed by a DeSoto single, double and walk to load the bases.
That’s when Thompson entered the chat.
In a favorable 1-0 count, DeSoto sophomore Pablo Flores laced what should’ve been a go-ahead single into the left-centerfield gap — Thompson had other plans.
Thompson glided to his right to make a highlight-reel catch at a full horizontal extension to snag the third out and seal the one-run Waxahachie victory.
The catch not only earned Thompson the designation as the Waxahachie Glass Corporation Player of the Game, but it also kept the Indians in the thick of the District 11-6A playoff race.
Waxahachie (21-8, 8-4 in 11-6A) currently sits one game back of district-leading (15-10-1, 9-3) Mansfield. The Tribe is also tied with Waco Midway and Duncanville for the final three district playoff spots.
Mansfield Lake Ridge now sits one game back of the top four, despite boasting an 18-7 overall record (7-4 in 11-6A).
Anthony Mata (2-1, 2.25 ERA) picked up the win for the Indians on the turf field at the high school Saturday in a game that was initially planned for Friday at Paul Richards Park. The senior tossed 4.2 innings in relief of Jared Thomas. He struck out six, walked two and allowed just two runs (one earned) on 59 pitches.
“What we have to mention is Mata coming in and shutting the door for us,” Waxahachie head baseball coach Tracy Wood told KBEC Sports. “He threw strikes and is a guy we definitely have to talk about for sure.”
Thomas struck out four in his two innings of work.
Waxahachie has now won four of its past five district games, with the lone loss coming in a 3-1 decision against Mansfield on April 17.
The Indians return to action Tuesday for Senior Night festivities at Paul Richards Park. Waxahachie is slated to face Mansfield Lake Ridge at 7 p.m., with the senior recognition to follow.
“We need to win that,” said Wood, noting the Indians could go from second to out of the playoff picture with two games to play.
The Indians previously defeated the Eagles, 2-0, on April 1 in Mansfield.
All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith