Carlisle + Douglass Play for Class A Region III Baseball Title for Second Consecutive Season
The Carlisle an Douglass baseball teams may feel a bit of deja vu this week.
For the second consecutive season, Carlisle (26-1) and Douglass (20-4) play for the Class A Region III baseball championship. The teams play a one-game playoff for a state tournament berth at 7 p.m. Thursday at SFA's Jaycees Field in Nacogdoches.
A year ago, Carlisle beat Douglass 4-3 to earn the trip to Round Rock.
"Our guys are excited to be playing Carlisle in the regional finals again this year, but at the same time, it is a different team and it is a different year," said Douglass coach Eugene Lafitte. "Even though we lost four starters from last year's team, we know what is ahead of us and we know what we must do to be successful."
Both teams enter the fifth round having won tough regional semifinal series.
Top-ranked Carlisle beat West Sabine 3-0 and 2-1 (eight innings) after outscoring its first two playoff opponents 38-1 in three games. Douglass needed three games to subdue Harleton after beating the Wildcats 5-0 in Game 1. Harleton won the second game 2-1 before Douglass' four-run seventh inning propelled the Indians to a 10-8 Game 3 victory.
Both coaches said the close series should help them this week.
"West Sabine played us hard and we ultimately overcame adversity," said Carlisle coach Wesley Colley. "The resulting win helped us stay focused. ... My kids are playing very loose and feel no pressure. We have a lot of experience and are ready for the challenge."
Carlisle will likely pitch Gunner Baker in Game 1. Baker has a career record of 51-4 and a 0.00 earned run average in 2013.
Lafitte knows Baker presents a huge challenge, but that's expected when you're playing in the fifth round.
"Gunner is a good pitcher, but I think any pitcher or pitchers that are pitching in the regional finals is solid to have made it this far," Lafitte said. "With that, we will take our normal approach at the plate and not change anything that we do."
Colley said Carlisle has to play smart Thursday to get back to the the state tournament.
"We have to execute at the plate and not leave runners on base," Colley said. "We can't walk batters. We must make them earn their way on."
Class A Region III
Douglass Indians (20-4)
Carlisle Indians (26-1)
One-game playoff: 7 p.m. Thursday (May 30), SFA's Jaycees Field, Nacogdoches
How they got here
- Bi-district: bye (District 21-A champion)
- Area: def. Evadale 2-0 in series (15-5, 9-8)
- Regional quarterfinal: def. Lovelady 11-1 in one-game playoff
- Regional semifinal: def. Harleton 2-1 in series (W 5-0, L 2-1, W 10-8)
- Bi-district: bye (District 20-A champion)
- Area: def. McLeod 2-0 in series (12-0, 16-1)
- Regional quarterfinal: def. Simms Bowie 10-0 in one-game playoff
- Regional semifinal: def. West Sabine 2-0 in series (3-0, 2-1)
Did you know?
- Douglass and Harleton were tied 6-6 through six innings of the Indians' 10-8 Game 3 victory this past Saturday at Kilgore's Driller Park.
- Carlisle and Douglass met in last year's regional final with Carlisle prevailing 4-3 to earn the state tournament berth.
- Carlisle's only loss of the season was a 4-3 playoff warmup game against White Oak, a Class 2A team that finished the season 24-4-1.
- Carlisle endured an hour-long third-inning rain delay in its 2-1 Game 2 win against West Sabine this past Saturday at Lufkin's Morris Frank Park.
- Carlisle won that Game 2 despite losing 3-hole hitter/center fielder Gunner Baker and first-base coach Rocky Baker in the first inning after both were ejected for arguing a called third strike.
- Winner advances to UIL Class A state tournament at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.