Carthage Aims for State Quarterfinal Berth in Class 3A Region III Semifinal Baseball Playoff vs. Silsbee
Carthage's sweep of China Spring put the Bulldogs in the Class 3A baseball playoffs' fourth round for the first time since 2009, but they hope that's not as far as they go.
Carthage faces Silsbee at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in a one-game Class 3A Region III semifinal baseball playoff at Angelina College in Lufkin.
Carthage (29-7), which finished the regular season ranked No. 9 in 3A by Txhighschoolbaseball.com, has held its first three playoff opponents to six runs in seven games, outscoring Groesbeck, West, and China Spring 53-6.
But District 21-3A champion Silsbee (29-7), which outscored Columbia and Orangefield 29-15 in five games, has a strong top of the lineup, according to Carthage coach Jim Goldman.
"Their top four hitters are very formidable, and the guy batting fifth is a very good hitter," Goldman said. "Their first four or five are exceptional high school hitters, but they hit the ball well 1 through 9."
Carthage counters with two pitchers whose statistics suggest both are ace quality.
Senior right-hander JayDon Day has been the Bulldogs' No. 1 starter all season. Day enters the regional semifinal round 9-4 with a 1.49 earned run average, 76 strikeouts, and 13 walks in 79 2/3 innings.
Junior right-hander William Rittenberry has been equally impressive. Rittenberry is 9-1 with a 0.83 ERA, 68 strikeouts, and 11 walks in 59 1/3 innings.
Goldman said Silsbee No. 1 starter Tyler Powell, a right-hander, presents a tough challenge to Carthage's lineup. Powell pitched a complete-game five-hitter with seven strikeouts in Silsbee's 5-1 Game 1 win against Orangefield in the regional semifinal round, according to the Beaumont Enterprise.
"He throws very hard with some pretty good secondary pitches. A good, hard breaking ball and a good changeup, but his forte is his fastball," Goldman said. "He's got real good late movement. He's herky jerky and not as smooth, but his fastball explodes at the end and he's won a lot of games for them."
Thursday's game is Carthage's first one-game playoff of the 2013 postseason. The Bulldogs wanted a series, but lost the flip, Goldman said.
Nevertheless, he believes his team's comeback series win against West gives the Dawgs experience similar to a one-game setup.
"When we played West we we're down to a one-game series in regards to losses and we had to win two. When we won the state championship (in 2009) we were force dint two one-game (playoffs) because of the swine flu and flipping with Jasper," Goldman said. "As a coach it kinda gets nerve-racking, but I know their guys feel the same way. I know at the end of the day we've got a solid team. If we pitch and play better defense than they do, we've got a good chance of winning the ball game. There is no tomorrow. The loser is done, but for us you could say we've been there twice and we've won."
Class 3A Region III
No. 9 Carthage (29-7) vs. No. 15 Silsbee (29-7)
One-game playoff: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Angelina College, Lufkin
How they got here
- Bi-district: def. Groesbeck 2-0 in series (W 13-1, W 17-0)
- Area: def. West 2-1 in series (L 1-0, W 8-0, W 8-2)
- Regional quarterfinal: def. China Spring 2-0 in series (W 2-0, W 5-2)
- Bi-district: bye (District 21-3A champion)
- Area: def. Columbia 2-0 in series (W 3-1, W 12-5)
- Regional quarterfinal: def. Orangefield 2-1 in series (W 5-1, L 5-3, W 6-2)
Did you know?
- Carthage has outscored its first three playoff opponents 53-6 in seven games (6-1).
- Silsbee has outscored its first two playoff opponents 29-15 in five games (4-1).
- After an 8-4 start, Carthage has won 21 of its last 24 games.
- After a 6-3 start, Silsbee has won 23 of its last 27 games.
- Both teams played Lufkin Hudson twice -- Carthage split with Hudson (L 4-3, W 4-0), while Hudson swept Silsbee (8-6, 4-3).
- Winner faces Diboll or Huffman Hargrave in the Class 3A Region III final.