Baseball Playoffs: Hughes Springs, Carlisle back in action tonight
May 22, 2013 at 7 p.m.
Sitting at the top of their respective classes, Hughes Springs and Carlisle kick off the fourth round of the baseball playoffs tonight.
Hughes Springs, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, takes on Grandview, while Carlisle, top-ranked in Class A, takes on West Sabine in the regional semifinal round.
Harleton enters its series tonight against Douglass. Whitehouse, fresh off a two-game sweep of former district rival Hallsville, stands as the last 4A team left in East Texas.
Here's a look at all the action coming up this weekend:
<strong>Class 2A, Region II: Hughes Springs vs. Grandview</strong>
The series: Game one: 7:30 p.m., tonight, UT Tyler; Game two: 7:30 p.m., Friday at Sunnyvale; Game three: 4 p.m., Saturday at McKinney North (if needed).
Players to watch: Hughes Springs: Zach Bassham ... Cody Hawkins ... Chad McKinney ... Dylan Moore ... Trent Shelton ... Eric Berryhill
He said it: Hughes Springs head coach Kent Craig: "The team is really competing hard and their experience in the postseason is showing so far. We gave up a three-run home run this past week to tie the game up and a younger, less-experience team might have panicked but we just went back and scored more runs … Grandview has quality pitching and some speed. They do some stuff on the base pads and will try to put pressure on us that way … We've got to play good defense and pitch well, they can't do any of the tricky stuff on the bases if they can't get on."
How they got here: Top-ranked Hughes Springs has outscored opponents 30-9 after getting a first-round bye. The Mustangs knocked off Grand Saline, 11-0, before taking two from Edgewood, 10-7 and 9-2.
Up next: The winner will face either Gunter or Palmer in the regional finals.
<strong>Class A, Region III: Carlisle vs. West Sabine</strong>
The series: All games at Frank Morris Park in Lufkin. Game one: 7 p.m., tonight; Game two: 4 p.m., Saturday with game three to follow, if needed.
Players to watch: Carlisle: Gunner Baker (.487, 57 RBIs, 30-of-31 stolen bases; 12-0, 0.00 ERA, 148 strikeouts in 67.1 innings pitched) … Ben Goss (.455, 54 RBIs) … Zach Brightwell (.453, 42 RBIs, 50 runs scored; 6-1, 0.83 ERA, 62 strikeouts, 4 walks in 33.2 innings pitched) … Caleb Colley (.418, 35 RBIs, 29-of-30 stolen bases) … Shadow Sanders (.366, 26 RBIs, 34 walks; 5-0, 0.00 ERA, 71 strikeouts)
He said it: Carlisle head coach Wesley Colley: "I feel like we've been able to keep our focus really well. In the long season that baseball gives you, you've got to keep your team fresh and focused. This is a mature bunch of kids, they've got a lot of playoff experience and I think that has been beneficial to us … We feel really confident going into this week against West Sabine and I feel good about the opportunity to get past them to go to the regional final again … They've got a lot of athleticism, speed on the base pads. They have four or five what I call 'track kids' that can really run but we've got an experienced pitching staff and catcher that can hold them. The main thing is to keep them off the base pads."
How they got here: No. 1 Carlisle has allowed one run in three games in the postseason. The Indians topped McLeod, 12-0, to open the playoffs and completed the sweep with a 16-1 win. Carlisle then beat Simms Bowie, 10-0, in a one-game format in the regional quarterfinals.
Up next: Winner will get either Harleton or Douglass in the regional finals.
<strong>Harleton vs. Douglass</strong>
The series: All games at Driller Park in Kilgore. Game one: 6:30 p.m., tonight; Game two: 5 p.m., Friday (game three to follow, if needed)
Players to watch: Harleton: Steven Crump (.600, home run, six RBIs; 3-0, 21 strikeouts, three walks in 14 innings pitched in the postseason) … Taylor Henson (1-0, 14 strikeouts, one walk in 12 innings) … Brooks Lloyd (.600, nine runs scored, .733 on-base percentage) … Ty Howeth (.333) … Jack Underwood (.333, five RBIs) … Matt Burke (.400, home run, seven RBIs)
He said it: Harleton head coach Jackie Lloyd: "They've handled everything business-like and maturely. They expect to win and sometimes you've got to have that attitude to get that done. I've been really proud of them, they've played smart, executed and done the things it takes for us to win … I think we were a little frightened in the first round (against Martins Mill), they had a good pitcher that kept us off balance. Having a 4-3, extra-inning game was a wake-up call for them I think, they realized it wasn't going to be as easy as maybe they thought … Douglass is a very athletic team and they've got a number of pitchers, they're going to be tough to beat. They pushed Carlisle to the very end last year in the regional finals so they've been there, they've got experience. It's going to be a battle … We've got the experience here too and that's showing so far."
How they got here: After getting by Martins Mill, 4-3, in extra innings to open the playoffs, Harleton rolled to a two-game sweep over Sulphur Bluff, outscoring the Bears 27-1.
<strong>Class 4A, Region II: Whitehouse vs. Prosper</strong>
The series: All games at Paul Richards Field in Waxahachie. Game one: 7 p.m., tonight; Game two: 7 p.m. Friday; Game three: 2 p.m., Saturday (if needed).
Players to watch: Whitehouse: Ryan Cheatham (12-0) … Patrick Mahomes (7-1 off the mound), Aaron Clemons, Derek Clemons and Jared Raabe had RBIs in the Wildcats' 8-2 series-clinching win over Hallsville in the regional quarterfinals
How they got here: Whitehouse has swept all three opponents they have faced in the playoffs. The Wildcats beat Red Oak, Sulphur Springs and Hallsville, taking two-of-three in each round.
(Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)