The Madisonville baseball team (13-8-1, 5-1) picked up a pair of district wins last week including a 2-1 victory over Rusk on Friday at MHS that came down to the final play and allowed the Mustangs to move into a first place tie with the Eagles.
“These are the kind of teams we are going to see in the playoffs,” said Coach Adam Borgfeld. “My emotions were pretty high all night because it was such a big game. I wanted the younger kids to feel this type of excitement and understand what it is like to win a close one like this. To win this kind of game is one of the best feelings in the world.”
Leading 2-1 in the top of the seventh, starting pitcher Brad Rudis was looking to polish off a complete-game win for the Mustangs. A leadoff walk had reached third base with two outs and a Rudis curveball was blocked by catcher Cody Borgfeld and rolled to his left, but not far enough.
Rusk’s Bryce Leonard took off for home plate, but the freshman catcher was able to pounce on the loose ball and tag him out for the win.
“Having my son back there is of course special,” said Coach Borgfeld, father of Cody Borgfeld. “He told me later that he got nervous for a second when (Coach Anthony Campbell) called for the curveball, but he did a good job of blocking it and kept it nearby. I was mainly surprised that their kid took off and ran.”
Rudis ensured his complete-game victory, allowing one unearned run on six hits and striking out four. He also assisted his own cause on the offensive side with a solo homerun in the bottom of the third inning to give Madisonville a 1-0 lead.
“I thought (Brad) had a real good command of all of his pitches,” said Borgfeld. “We had a few mistakes in the fourth inning, but it could have been a lot worse than it was. It could have been detrimental but our guys came out of it with a tie and that says a lot about them.”
The only Rusk run of the night came in the top of the fourth inning, but the Eagles missed out on a chance for much more after loading the bases with no one out.
The difference would prove to be a pair of Madisonville doubles in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rudis doubled to put a runner in scoring position and Danny Young followed suit with two outs to give the Mustangs a 2-1 lead and ultimately the crucial victory.
Last Tuesday, Madisonville’s offense had no trouble crossing the plate with 13 runs in their first three at-bats to pick up a win over Fairfield by run rule after five innings. The Mustangs scored four runs in the first and third innings along with five in the second as starting pitcher Brandon Larson cruised to a shutout win.
“(Larson) pitched an exceptional game,” said Borgfeld. “He averaged about 10 pitches per inning and would have been ready to go on Friday if we needed him. I thought he was on target all night and he hit his spots well. We came out hitting the ball and made them work by putting the ball in play.”
Larson also logged a double at the plate and contributed three RBIs to tie for the team lead. Kody Nye also gave the Mustangs three RBIs off of a three-run homerun in the bottom of the second that made it 9-0.
Colby Sheppard and Jordan Baker each recorded two RBIs and Max Allen added another.
The Mustangs traveled to Mexia on Tuesday in hopes of improving their district record to 6-1. Their final district matchup of the regular season will be against Palestine on Friday at MHS, which is also Senior Night.
If Madisonville and Rusk remain deadlocked for the top spot in district at the conclusion of the regular season, they will likely play one more matchup against each other to decide who finishes first. District tiebreakers can be settled by coin toss, but there must be a matchup if at least one coach wants it.
“The top spot is too important to be determined by a coin flip, even if both sides make the playoffs anyway,” said Borgfeld. “But our goals are not yet achieved. The games we have this week are just as important as Friday was and we cannot have a letdown or what we have worked for will be null and void.”