The Madisonville Mustangs baseball team split a pair of district contests this week with a loss to Rusk on the road last Tuesday and a run-rule victory over Mexia at MHS on Friday.
Rusk starting pitcher J.D. Thompson kept the Mustangs off balance and off of the scoreboard with a complete-game shutout.
“(Thompson) did a great job of hitting his spots,” said Madisonville Coach Adam Borgfeld. “He had good velocity and kept us guessing with his off-speed pitches. Any time you face a left-hander in high school it is a different movement and tough for young hitters to overcome.”
Madisonville had their best scoring chance of the night in the top of the first inning after a leadoff double from Brad Rudis. The Mustangs put runners on the corners with no one out but could not find a way to take the lead.
“If we jumped on them in the first inning with the opportunities we had, things might have been different,” said Borgfeld. “Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way.”
Brandon Larson got the start for the Mustangs and held the Eagles to four hits in five innings. Despite two impressive plays in the outfield from Colby Sheppard and Jordan Baker, Madisonville’s defense committed a few key mistakes to set up Rusk’s scoring opportunities.
Larson was officially charged with just two of the four Eagle runs before he was relieved by Max Allen in the sixth. After the Rudis double to leadoff the game, the Mustangs managed just two hits and fell 4-0.
Madisonville’s bats awakened with a vengeance on Friday when the team returned to MHS for their home district opener against Mexia. The Mustangs exploded for 11 runs in the third and fourth innings to bury the Black Cats 11-1 by run rule after the top of the fifth.
“We have done well when the lower part of our lineup hits the ball,” said Borgfeld. “That is what happened against Mexia. We got some timely hits at the bottom of the order and that made everything easier.”
The Mustangs were able to take advantage of six walks by Mexia pitching coupled with seven timely hits to deliver big results. Larson and Sheppard led the charge with three RBIs each and Cody Borgfeld added two more.
After surrendering a run in the top of the first, starter Brad Rudis eased in and cruised the rest of the way with a complete game victory in five innings.
“(Rudis) gets a lot stronger as the game goes on,” said Borgfeld. “You can see that in his pitch count. He threw around 20 pitches in the first inning and roughly 40 in the last four. I was pleased with his movement and command.”
Madisonville concluded the first stint of their district slate in Palestine on Tuesday against the Wildcats. They will take a break from their league schedule on Saturday with a matchup against Little Cypress-Mauriceville in Elkhart at 12:30 p.m.
Three of Madisonville’s first four district games took place away from MHS, meaning the Mustangs will host three in their second stint to conclude the season. Their next home game will come on Tuesday against Fairfield. The team will host Little League Appreciation Night on April 12 against Rusk at MHS.