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Carlisle comes back to claim 10-6 playoff victory

By Rick Kretzschmar rickk@news-journal.com
May 23, 2012 at 11 p.m.

LUFKIN - Carlisle's baseball team figured out how to handle a rare deficit on Wednesday. The Indians ran away from their problem.

The running came on the basepaths in an attack move against Dallardsville Big Sandy in the pivotal third inning, and it produced six runs in Carlisle's 10-6 victory in a Class A Region III playoff at Morris Frank Park's Garrison Field. Caleb Colley, Zach Brightwell and Gunner Baker each had a theft in the third inning, and appropriately each Indian would score a run.

Carlisle finished with six stolen bases. This combined with the team's ability to draw 11 walks made up for a light hitting night as the Indians had just four hits.

"We will always be aggressive with our running," Carlisle head coach Wesley Colley said. "We were going to be aggressive especially since we knew coming in it would be a close game."

Carlisle (24-2), ranked No. 7 in the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association's Class A state poll, advances to the region final round for the second straight year and third time since 2007. The Indians will face either Cayuga or Douglass, which play in the other semifinal on Saturday at UT Tyler, in the Region III final.

The first inning was also pivotal for Carlisle as the starting pitchers, Baker and Ryan Hendrix, struggled with control in the first inning.

Zach Bernard and Avery Cherry led off the game with a walk each and both eventually scored on Baker wild pitches with the bases loaded. Adam Duff drew a bases-loaded walk later in the frame to give Big Sandy a 3-0 lead in the middle of the first inning. Baker had four walks and four strikeouts in the top of the first, with Austin Celestine reaching base on a third strike because Baker's pitch was wild.

Carlisle struck back to even the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the first inning. After Shadow Sanders and Brightwell drew walks from Hendrix, Baker hit a RBI single to right. Clay Allphin drove Brightwell home with a bases-loaded walk then Baker came home on a Hunter Martin sacrifice fly to center.

After the first inning, Baker (13-0) settled down to remain perfect this season. In six innings Baker allowed just two hits while recording 12 strikeouts, with at least one in every inning he pitched. It was game of extremes for Baker as he also had nine walks and made three errors while throwing 130 pitches.

"After the first inning, I just took a deep breath," Baker said. "As a team, this was the first time all year we got punched in the mouth in the first inning and got behind like that.

"I think we rallied by staying up and playing Carlisle baseball."

Carlisle took a 4-3 lead in the second inning when Ty Baker walked, went to third on a Brightwell single and Big Sandy error and scoring on a Hendrix wild pitch. Big Sandy (23-8) tied the game in the third when Austin Celestine came home on a Gunner Baker throwing error, but Carlisle's third-inning explosion would be started by a RBI triple to right-center by Martin.

Brightwell retired three batters in order to finish off the win for Carlisle. Hendrix (6-1) took the loss, allowing all 10 runs over his three innings of work, which included nine walks. Zach Bernard pitched three hitless innings for Big Sandy.

Allphin led off the third inning with a walk and scored on Martin's triple. Caleb Colley followed Martin with a walk, then stole second. On Colley's steal, Big Sandy second baseman Jason Ashen could not grip catcher Bernard's throw, allowing Martin to score. Colley scored on a Shadow Sanders single to center.

Sanders moved to second on a fielder's choice, advanced on a Bernard fielding error and scored on a Hendrix wild pitch.

Brightwell followed with a walk, stole second and scored on an Ashen error. Gunner Baker was intentionally walked, then he stole second and scored on a throwing error .



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