The Madisonville pitching staff has now tossed two no-hitters this season, with Matt Rudis starting each of the games and Kasey Williamson and Bryce Bennett nailing down the final inning.
“No hitters are so rare and so special,” said Madisonville baseball coach Keith Sitton. “To throw two in consecutive weeks is almost unheard of. The fact that there were multiple pitchers involved makes it that much more difficult.”
Rudis also allowed just one hit through five innings on Monday in Palestine to give the Mustangs a 3-0 start in district play. The no hitter occurred in the district opener against Athens last Tuesday before they took down Mexia at home on Friday. All told, Mustang pitching incredibly surrendered just four hits this week.
“I’ve never been associated with a team that has this many quality arms,” said Sitton. “We can send multiple guys to the mound with the expectation to command multiple pitches in the zone. Combine that with a quality defense and it takes a lot of pressure off of our bats. We feel if we score two, we have a great chance.”
That number seems to be getting smaller and smaller. A few weeks ago, Sittion said three or four runs would usually suffice. But as district play gets under way, it seems unlikely for an opponent to get multiple hits off of Mustang pitching, let alone a run or two.
The offense, however, was anything but a weak spot for Madisonville last week. While Rudis and Bennett cruised through their hitless outings last Tuesday, Mustang batters crossed the plate early and often for an 8-0 win.
Matt Rudis was responsible for a pair of RBIs along with Will Hudson. Hudson also recorded a pair of hits, as did Corey Shuck. Zach Poe, Brad Rudis and Williamson also drove home a run apiece.
The Mustangs established early who was going to be in control for their district home opener on Friday. Ben Phillips drove home five runs on three hits, which included a three-run homerun to left in the second inning. Madisonville’s five-run second set the tone for a 12-2, mercy-rule victory in six innings over Mexia.
Poe added four RBIs of his own against Mexia to lead the team. Sam Bennett drove home two and Williaomson drove home one.
The perfect week was decided on Monday with an 8-0 win over Palestine on the road, which was highlighted by another dominant performance on the bump from Matt Rudis. The offense brought home a pair early while Rudis cruised and added six more in their final three at-bats. Poe led the way again with three RBIs.
“Anytime we put up runs early it can take some pressure off of the pitchers,” said Sitton. “Right now, our confidence is extremely high. Our bats have really come around of late and we’re starting to put some complete performances together.”
The Mustangs now have an overall record of 13-6 to match their perfect mark in district. They will take a short break from district with a Thursday matchup on the road against Navasota and will return home to host Fairfield on Tuesday.
“It’s imperative to start fast in district if your goal is to win a championship,” said Sitton. “It’s a credit to our kids that they can raise their level of play at the right time.”
The Varsity team isn’t the only baseball squad experiencing success this season. The JV Blue team is 12-2 this year and also undefeated to start district.