By any statistical measure, the Cleburne baseball team has a deep offense. Five starters sport batting averages above .300, four have 10 stolen bases or more, and five hitters have notched 16 or more RBIs.
"That's what people have told us," Cleburne coach Ross Taylor said. "Some other people that have scouted us in a series say, 'You can't relax because nobody's carrying you.'
Game 1: 7:30 tonight, Cleburne
Game 2: 2 p.m. Saturday, Midway
Game 3: 30 minutes after Game 2, if necessary
Records: Cleburne 27-9; Waco Midway 28-9
Notable: Cleburne's Cooper Walls had two brothers who played on the Yellow Jackets' 2004 state tournament team.... Both schools have graduation ceremonies on Friday, leading to the Thursday-Saturday split.... Cleburne freshmen Neil Adcock and Tyler Fowler have combined for seven game-winning hits.... Since dropping the first game of the playoffs, Waco Midway has won eight consecutive games by a combined score of 58-15.
"One game, this guy's having a big game and then you go the next night and a different player steps up and the guy from the night before doesn't do anything. We've been that way all year long. Different people stepped up at different points."
Nick Woodall, the District 7-4A offensive MVP, made a big dent in the regional semifinal against Wichita Falls Rider, hitting a double and triple to drive in four of the series' six runs.
Even so, the winning run in the first game of the series was driven in by Neil Adcock, the freshman right fielder who hits ninth in the lineup -- his fourth game-winning hit of the season.
"It's not like one guy's carried us RBI-wise," said Taylor, whose team takes on Waco Midway in a best-of-three Class 4A Region I final series starting tonight. "Nick is obviously the leader, but he had a lot of those in the playoffs. During district, Tyler Fowler was our RBI leader."
In the playoffs, three seniors have started to heat up, bringing even more threats to the table.
"Since the playoffs have started, German Hernandez, Max Reynolds and Cooper Walls have hit a little bit better," Taylor said.
Hernandez and Walls are four-year starters, and both are committed to go to junior college next season, at Frank Phillips and Navarro, respectively.
The dynamic is unlike any previous Yellow Jackets team -- not even the 2004 team that went to the state tournament and featured Dillon Gee, who now pitches for the New York Mets.
"In '04 we had definite guys that we knew those were our guys," Taylor said.
"In the middle of our order we had Dillon Gee, Joseph Oleksak and Russell Young were all .400 all year."
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