Thrice is nice

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Matt Rudis delivered Madisonville’s third no-hitter of the season on Friday during the team’s 3-0 home victory over Athens.

“I just try to go out there and be as dominant as I can during every start,” said Rudis, who is the common denominator in all three Mustang no-hitters this year. “I can’t do anything without my teammates behind me and we’ll be okay if we all play the way we did tonight.”

In the first two team no-hitters, Rudis left after the fifth and sixth innings. On Friday, he threw less than 70 pitches on his way to a masterpiece. He allowed just two baserunners to reach via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. In nearly 32 innings pitched this season, Rudis has allowed a total of 5 hits.

“I’ve never had a pitcher as dominant as Matt,” said Madisonville baseball coach Keith Sitton. “He has a legitimate shot to no-hit every team he faces. It’s so gratifying to see the success he has achieved. He may be the hardest worker I’ve ever coached and his humility and desire for our team to be successful is a testament to his character.”

Rudis helped his own cause on Friday with an RBI and Sam Bennett also drove home a run. The Mustangs were able to take advantage of three Hornet errors late in the game to build adequate insurance. Athens put the first of their two baserunners on third, but weren't able to bring him home.

Things didn't go quite as smoothly when the Mustangs hosted Center for a non-district matchup on Saturday. The Roughriders tagged Madisonville pitching for 8 runs in the top of the first alone and would never look back.

The 16-10 loss to Center broke a six-game winning streak for the Mustangs and was easily the most runs surrendered so far this season. After the opening inning, however, the Roughriders posted just one earned run. All told, only six of their 15 total runs were charged to Madisonville pitching thanks to seven errors in the field.

Despite the loss, it was one of the better offensive showings this season for the Mustangs. After opening the game down 13-0, Madisonville posted seven unanswered runs in the second and third innings to ultimately avoid the mercy rule. Ben Phillips, Sam Bennett, Matt Rudis and Kasey Williamson all recorded two RBIs apiece in Saturday’s loss.

“The most important thing for us now is to not get complacent or overconfident with our abilities,” said Sitton. “It’s imperative that we maintain the same approach that helped us achieve our gains and try not to do too much because of the successes we’ve had.”

Madisonville looked to stay perfect in district with a road matchup in Mexia on Tuesday and will return home on Friday to host Palestine. This season’s senior night was originally scheduled for Friday, but will now take place on April 27 against West.

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