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Life Waxahachie won the 10-4A baseball championship in 12 innings on Friday. Photo courtesy Steve Patterson/Moving Pictures

WALK-OFF CHAMPS! Life Waxahachie outlasts state-ranked Kennedale in 12 innings

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

WAXAHACHIE — A 12-inning walk-off thriller secured the Life Waxahachie Mustangs a sweep of state-ranked Kennedale on Friday night. It also won Life Waxahachie head baseball coach Dustin Robinson and his program a District 10-4A championship. 

Ritter Carson delivered the swing to plate the game-winning run, so a tip of the hat is certainly deserved in his direction. But without discrediting his effort, Friday night’s heroics came from atop the pitching rubber in tandem fashion.

Courtesy Steve Patterson/Moving Pictures

Jeshuah Naut (6-0, 2.07 ERA) and Jagger Hurst (W, 2-0, 0.00 ERA) combined for eight innings of no-hit baseball between the 4th and 11th innings against (21-5, 7-3) No. 14 Kennedale. They allowed just 4 base runners during that stretch, 3 of which came via walk and 1 on a Mustang fielding error. 

Kennedale scored 3 runs in the top of the 1st inning on 3 hits (2 2B) and a walk. Naut quickly recovered to allow just 1 hit over his next 6 innings of work. He struck out 9 and walked 2 over his masterful 7.0IP. 

Hurst continued the efforts, allowing just two walks and a 12th-inning single with 3 strikeouts and 2 walks over 5.0IP. He was credited with the win. 

Kennedale’s Hayden Swenson was equally as stellar on the mound, as the senior carried a shutout into the 6th inning. He struck out 9 Mustangs and walked 2 — but he ultimately gave up 3 earned runs with the game on the line.

A 2-out, full-count Carson walk was followed by an Addy Askew (.462 BA) single to left to breathe a little life into the Mustang dugout in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jeremy Lester then scorched a double, his 5th of the season, to center to plate Carson for the first Mustang run. Two pitches later, Askew scored on a wild pitch to cut the Kennedale lead to 3-2 as the game flipped to the 7th inning.

Hurst sat the Wildcats down in order on 12 pitches to give the Mustangs an opportunity to tie the game or walk it off in the bottom half of the frame. 

Richard Tamayo reached safely on a one-out infield single and Shaun Malone followed with a single to right field. The Malone hit moved Tamayo to third base and set the table for Colton Blakley (.392 BA) to send an 0-2 offspeed pitch into centerfield, just deep enough to allow the Life Waxahachie right fielder to score on a sacrifice fly and knot the game at 3-all.

As oddly as it is to read, the game quickly rolled into the 12th inning with very little reason for pause inside either dugout. Hurst powered through the Kennedale lineup while the Wildcats’ only relief arm, Kelsen Martin matched him pitch for pitch. 

Malone and Blakley then walked to start the bottom of the 12th for the Mustangs. The two later stole second and third base, respectively, on a 1-1 ball in the dirt to Carson with one out. Malone was promptly erased from the basepath on the ensuing pitch in what went down in the books as an attempted steal of home. It allowed Blakley to advance to third.

Carson then became the hero, shooting the game-winning single into left field to plate Blakley and give the Mustangs the incredible 4-3 win and district title.

The victory was the 20th on the season for the Mustangs, who have now won 6-of-their-past-7 games by a combined 77-9. The lone loss was a 10-8 non-district road game against Troy on April 6. 

Life Waxahachie won the 10-4A baseball championship in 12 innings on Friday. Photo courtesy Steve Patterson/Moving Pictures

The Mustangs began the two-game district series against Kennedale with a 10-0 road win Tuesday, highlighted by a James Grace gem on the bump.

Grace (7-2, 1.09 ERA) struck out 12 and scattered 3 hits with 3 walks across his 7 complete innings. The effort was needed, too, as Life Waxahachie led just 3-0 through 5 innings.

The Mustangs poured the runs on in the sixth and seventh. Isaac Morales (2-3, RBI) tripled to score Kameron Bell and push the snowball down the hill. Tamayo and Blakley (2-3, 2 2B) each followed with a double, which allowed a Naut sacrifice bunt to move the Mustang lead to 7-0. Bell and Malone singled to score the final 3 runs in the 7th. 

UP NEXT

The Mustangs will await the final District 9-4A standings to know who they will face in the 4A bi-district round of the postseason. Currently, Fort Worth Dunbar, Carter-Riverside and Western Hills are separated by just two games with two games to play. 

For more photos from Friday’s 12-inning win, check out Moving Pictures on Facebook by click here! 

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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