Douglass Takes Advantage of Carlisle’s Wildness on the Mound to Capture Game 1
KILGORE -- The Douglass Indians didn't see very many pitches to hit. Then again, they didn't need to.
Top-ranked Douglass benefitted from 10 walks and three hit batsmen and rolled to a 7-0 win over defending state champion Carlisle in Game 1 of their Class A Region III championship series Thursday at Driller Park.
The series resumes with Game 2 at 2 p.m. Saturday from Lufkin's Morris Frank Park. If a third game is necessary, it would immediately follow.
"You always want to take that early series lead to take a little bit of pressure off the team," said Douglass coach Eugene Lafitte. "Our guys are focused. If we were turning around and playing Game 2 right now, we're ready to go right now."
Sophomore left-hander Grant Holland limited Carlisle to just two hits in his second consecutive complete-game shutout of the playoffs. He walked one and struck out one, needing just 69 pitches to finish his seven innings.
"Hat's off to (Holland)," Lafitte said. "I can't say enough about the sophomore; he's done it all year and he's still doing it now. The only time he got in trouble is when he walked a guy and he wound up at third. That's his M.O.; he throws strikes, he throws four pitches and spots it up. Just a tremendous job going against the No. 4 team in the state. I'm glad we're going to have him two more years."
It was a different story for Carlisle (23-4) pitching, which allowed just four singles but had trouble locating the strike zone throughout.
"We had (10 walks) and two hits and we were lucky we didn't get beat worse than 7-0," said Carlisle coach Wesley Colley. "The good thing is we learned from that and we've got to correct it. And we've got our pitching basically coming back Saturday, so I'm excited about that part. We're going to turn it around and be just fine."
Douglass (30-1) scored three runs in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead. Douglass did not record a hit in the frame, but drew five walks from Carlisle staff ace Zach Brightwell, who also hit a batter in the inning.
"We take what's given to us," Lafitte said. "If we see something we're going to be able to hit we're going to be swinging. But our guys know the flow of the game. There's times to be aggressive at the plate and there's times not to be aggressive. Our guys have learned to understand the flow of the game and take that approach."
With a steady rain pouring down, which eventually led to a 25-minute delay in the bottom of the fourth, Brightwell struggled mightily with his command.
With one out in the third, Holland drew a walk, Matthew Wallace was hit by a pitch and Kolten Rhoudes followed with another walk to load the bases. Bryce Westbrook then hit a sacrifice fly to center for the game's first lead, and that was followed by consecutive bases-loaded walks to Hunter Lee and Trenton Carrigan.
"He struggled a little bit with it," said Colley of Brightwell pitching through the rain. "You can't blame it on the conditions; both teams were playing under the same conditions, so I'm not going to sit here and blame it on the conditions. There's a lot of baseball left."
Douglass added three more runs in the fifth for a 6-0 lead. Logan Ammons and Wallace had RBI singles, while Holland knocked in a run on a fielder's choice in the inning. Carrigan produced a fielder's choice RBI in the sixth for the game's final run.
"They're not going to give up," Lafitte said of Carlisle. "I guarantee you Brightwell will be on the mound Saturday. He threw (62 pitches today) and our guys have got to be ready to go again Saturday."
Douglass 7, Carlisle 0
Class A Region III Championship Series -- Game 1
At Driller Park, Kilgore
Carlisle 000 000 0 -- 0 2 1
Douglass 003 031 x -- 7 4 0
Pitchers and catchers
- Carlisle: Zach Brightwell, Kolton Heim (4), Garren Smith (6) and Justin McMurtry.
- Douglass: Grant Holland and Brandon Stanfield.
WP -- Holland.
LP -- Brightwell.