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Sports

October 23, 2013

Texarkana's dilemma over the World Series

BOSTON — Michael Wacha is a 22-year-old Cardinals right-handed starter who was the MVP of the National League Championship Series and will start Game 2 of the World Series tomorrow.

Will Middlebrooks is the 25-year-old struggling Red Sox third baseman who lost his starting job before Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

But while one is flying high and the other isn’t, both are the pride of Texarkana, Texas where they grew up.

“He’s a good buddy,” Wacha said about Middlebrooks. “We’ve been tight throughout the postseason, wishing each other luck. It’s pretty crazy back there at home right now. They don’t know who to root for. But they know at least one World Series ring is coming back.”

Game 1 of the World Series is at 8:07 p.m. here at Fenway Park today. Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester will oppose St. Louis Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright.

Middlebrooks remembers first seeing Wacha play back in Little League.

“We grew up on separate sides of town but there’s really no side of town in Texarkana,” Middlebrooks said.

The two played at rival high schools and Patriots backup QB Ryan Mallett — one of Middlebrooks’ best friends — attended the third high school in town.

“There was a big high school, which was Mallett’s and two middle-sized 3A schools and we were both at the 3A schools,” Middlebrooks said about he and Wacha. Middlebrooks played on the same American Legion team with Wacha for two years (Wacha’s freshman and sophomore years and Middlebrooks’ junior and senior years).

“He’s always been a good pitcher,” Middlebrooks said. “He was always a guy who utilized all three pitches. It seemed like he never threw balls in the middle of the plate. He still does that now. He throws 95 but if you look at the pitch zone when he’s throwing it’s all the bottom of the zone. It’s pretty fun to watch.

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