LINDALE -- State championship quarterback, high school football player of the year in the state of Texas, UTSA signee. Add clutch playoff pitcher to resume of Carthage senior Blake Bogenschutz.

Pressed to a Game 3 by West in their Class 3A area-round playoff series, Carthage coach Jim Goldman gave the ball to who else but Bogenschutz, a man who's become synonymous with winning throughout his high school career.

And just like every time before it seems, "Bogie" delivered.

Carthage's Kolby Blissett jumps to snag a ball against West in Game 2 of their Class 3A area playoff series Saturday in Lindale. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Bogenschutz struck out 11 and pitched shutout baseball into the seventh inning to carry the Bulldogs a 3-2 win in the decisive game against West on Saturday afternoon at Lindale ISD Baseball Complex.

"We had a Game 3 against West last year and I didn't do so good; I got taken out in the second (inning)," Bogenschutz said. "That's really come back to haunt me and I've been remembering that moment, taking it in, and I got the win today."

Carthage (23-7) will face Caldwell, which swept the Bulldogs' District 20-3A rival Center, next week in the Region III quarterfinals. West finished its season at 24-9.

Bogenschutz couldn't finish the game after walking consecutive hitters to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh. But Game 1 starter and staff ace William Rittenberry, after allowing a two-out, two-run single by West's Lane Willenborg, got Tristan Gonzalez to pop out to catcher Jack Morris to end it.

West pitcher Lane Willenborg delivers against Carthage during Game 2 of their Class 3A area round playoff series Saturday in Lindale. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

"In that last inning, he threw one fastball and I didn't see much on it," Goldman said of Bogenschutz. "He had a blister on the palm of his hand, and it was probably time to come get him. William came in and I'm glad I threw him last night. He came in and shut them down and I can't say enough good things about the way our guys fought and how hard they played. We got some timely hits and played really good defense and we had to play it."

Bogenschutz allowed the two runs on only one hit. He walked four and hit two batters, but made up for it by confounding the West lineup with a devastating curve ball. Of his 11 strikeouts, eight were looking.

"He's got a great 12-6 curve ball and it tumbles, and it's got good enough velocity on it," Goldman said. "He threw last year against Hallsville and they were undefeated at the time with Connor Reich (on the mound), and I think (Bogenschutz) struck out nine in a row at one point. It was a long time ago, but he had that 12-6 going then and he had it tonight."

Bogenschutz also had a hand in Carthage's first run of the game. After reaching on a fielder's choice in the top of the fourth and stealing second, he slid under the tag at third base on a Tyler Musgrove grounder to shortstop, which gave the Bulldogs runners at the corners with one out. Micah Templeton then dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt between the pitcher and first baseman, allowing Bogenschutz to score for a 1-0 lead.

Carthage added another run in the fifth on a wild pitch and gave Bogenschutz a much-needed insurance run in the seventh on Rittenberry's two-out RBI single to left field.

Carthage's Tyler Killen throws the ball to first for an out against West in Game 2 of their Class 3A area playoff series Saturday in Lindale. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

West stirred up trouble in the bottom half of the inning when Jordan Mattlage was hit by a pitch to lead off and Nick Kucera and Jordan Kucera drew one-out walks to load the bases and force Bogenschutz from the game.

Morris may have had the defensive play of the season one batter later when he hopped up to snag a weak chopper off the bat Kole Holocek and dove back to tag the plate just in time to beat the runner.

"He was cramping up," Goldman said of Morris. "He made the last out in the top of the seventh. I talked to the umpire and he said 'what do you want to do?' I said, 'Jack ain't coming out.' I can't tell you how happy I am and how tough-nosed these guys are. That's Carthage, man."

Game 3 was made necessary by a terrific pitching performance by Willenborg, who guided West to a series-evening 4-2 victory. The lefty allowed just two runs -- on Morris' two-run homer in the sixth -- on four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

West built a 4-0 lead after two innings against Carthage starter Cole Clinton. Griffin Paxton doubled home a run in the first, while Holocek, Willenborg and Tyler Pustejevsky had RBIs in the Trojans' three-run second.

"The kids are close and they're hard-nosed, they're tough kids," Goldman said. "To play a series there's going to be ups and downs. Now the kids get to move on, and it's going to be tough."

Carthage's K.J. Harkrider throws the ball to first baseman Blake Bogenschutz for an out against West in Game 2 of their Class 3A area playoff series Saturday in Lindale. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Carthage 3, West 2

Class 3A Region III Area Playoff Series -- Game 3

At Lindale ISD Baseball Complex

Carthage       000    110    1    --    3    4    0
West             000    000    2    --    2    2    0

Pitchers and catchers
  • Carthage: Blake Bogenschutz, William Rittenberry (7) and Jack Morris.
  • West: Preston Macik, Jackson Kucera (7) and Jordan Mattlage.

 

WP -- Bogenschutz.
LP -- Macik.
S -- Rittenberry.

--

West 4, Carthage 2

Class 3A Region III Area Playoff Series -- Game 2

At Lindale ISD Baseball Complex

Carthage       000    002    0    --    2    4    2
West             130    000    x    --    4    7    1

Pitchers and catchers
  • Carthage: Cole Clinton and Morris.
  • West: Lane Willenborg and Mattlage.

 

WP -- Willenborg.
LP -- Clinton.

 

Doubles
  • West: Griffin Paxton, Nick Kucera.

 

Home runs
  • Carthage: Morris (sixth inning, one on).