Wakeland is a complete baseball team, but make no mistake about it, its bread and butter has been its pitching staff and that was once again the case in its Class 5A Region 2 best-of-3 series against Corsicana.
The Wolverine arms once again put the clamps on their opponent, finishing off the sweep of the Tigers with a 2-1 victory on Friday at Duncanville High School.
Wakeland (33-10), making its deepest playoff run since advancing to the state semifinals in 2017, moves on to the regional finals where they were scheduled to take on Hallsville in a best-of-3 series.
That series is scheduled to get started at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Mike Carter Field in Tyler. Game 2 was slated for 8 p.m. Friday at Dallas Baptist University, with the third game, if necessary, at 2 p.m. Saturday back at DBU.
The Wolverines have now given up eight runs total in nine playoff games through the first four rounds.
Looking to finish off the sweep, Robert Fortenberry held Corsicana to just a run on two hits, while striking out nine, in five innings of work.
The Tigers’ Zane Petty was equal to the challenge, as he struck out seven in five scoreless frames.
Wakeland had its share of chances, putting runners on in each of the first five innings.
Dylan Snead led off the game with a single and Blake Morrow drew a one-out walk, but both were stranded.
A double play snuffed out a potential rally in the second, and then in the third, Dylan Snead doubled, Conor Linkfield walked and Preston Snead singled to load the bases, but they again came away empty.
The trend continued in their next two at-bats, as they were unable to do anything with a leadoff single from Keegan Daniels in the fourth and a two-out walk from Morrow in the fifth, but they broke through in the sixth.
Luke Robertson was hit by a pitch, Daniels singled and both runners moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Alex Cruz.
Addison Brown gave them the lead with a RBI single and they pushed it to 2-0 when Daniels raced home on a dropped third strike.
That would prove to be an important run, as Corsicana got on the board in the bottom of the frame.
Hunter Autrey and Adin Morehouse walked and Kolby Kinkade reached on a bunt single to load the bases.
Wakeland got one runner at the plate on a fielder’s choice, but Solomon James was able to cut the deficit in half with a sacrifice fly.
The Tigers reloaded the bases when Austin Pryor drew a free pass, but Blake Sedatole, who came on in relief, slammed the door from there.
It was still a one-run game going to the seventh, but Sedatole shook off an error behind him by striking out the side to close out the 2-1 win.
The Wolverines had enjoyed a far less stressful finish on Thursday in a 8-1 victory in the opener in a game moved late to Rockwall-Heath High School.
Though they gave up a run, the Wakeland staff combined on a no-hitter, as Luke Robertson sent the first five innings and Nathan June came on and struck out three in the final two frames to close it out.
That duo got plenty of support from the offense.
The Wolverines scratched across a run in the bottom of the second when Daniels walked, stole second and scored on a RBI double from Brown.
Corsicana scored its lone run in the top of the fourth inning. After having their first nine hitters set down in order, Miguel Luevano reached on an error and eventually scored on a passed ball to tie it at 1-1.
It would not stay deadlocked for long, as Wakeland put together a big rally in the bottom of the frame.
With one out, Nick Miller and Jason Young got things going with singles and Brown delivered his second RBI double to give them the lead.
Dylan Snead followed with a run-scoring base hit and Linkfield walked to load the bases. Morrow came through with the big blow with a two-run double and Preston Snead’s squeeze drove in another to make it 6-1.
The Wolverines tacked on two more in the fifth inning. Daniels and Miller were both hit by pitches and moved over on a bunt by Young. Both runners then scored when Corsicana was unable to handle a hot shot from Brown that made it 8-1 and that is the way it would stay until the end.