Squeeze Bunt Sends Carlisle to Extra-Inning Win Over Weimar + Class A State Championship Game
ROUND ROCK -- Despite entering Wednesday's Class A semifinal with just 24 at-bats on the season, Carlisle sophomore Justin McMurtry knew he may be called upon with the game on the line.
He was ready.
McMurtry's suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the eighth sent top-ranked Carlisle past Weimar 7-6 and into Thursday's morning state championship game.
“There’s this old saying: bide your time," McMurtry said. "You never know, you might get in that situation where you can win the game.”
Carlisle (28-1), which trailed 4-0 in the first inning, will play for its first state title at 9 a.m. against Stamford, which handled Trenton 9-4 in the day's first semifinal.
“It’s a huge relief," said Carlisle coach Wesley Colley, whose team was eliminated in the state semifinals a season ago. "We were here last year and we blew a three-run lead. I hate to keep bringing that up, but it’s stuck in these kids’ minds the whole year. Even though they’ve never talked about it, it’s stuck in their minds. We just felt like we let one slip away from us right there, and they thought about it all year long. They jumped up 4-0 in the first inning and our kids never wavered; I was a little nervous myself and I think any coach (would be).”
Ben Goss, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI on the day, led off the eighth with a single to left field. Clay Allphin was hit by a pitch, and Caleb Colley bunted for a base hit to load the bases with nobody out for the pinch-hitter McMurtry.
McMurtry took Weimar reliever John Blaha's first two pitches for balls, before dropping a bunt down the first-base line. The ball seemed to be heading foul when Weimar first baseman Drew Billeck grabbed it in fair territory. The throw to home was late, as Goss slid in for the game-winning run.
"Just a clutch bunt right there, well-placed with a force at third," Coach Colley said. "I thought he did a good job, I’m happy for him, proud of him. The kid was battling for a spot early in the year. This is his first year to play for us, he’s a sophomore. I can’t say enough about him, he’s a good ballplayer; he just hasn’t had a chance because we’ve got so many good ballplayers ahead of him."
Shadow Sanders (7-0) worked three innings of relief to grab the win on the mound. The lefty inherited a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the sixth with Carlisle clinging to a 6-5 lead. Sanders kept the Indians ahead by getting consecutive fly-outs to right and a grounder to second.
“That was probably the inning of the season," Coach Colley said. "They were at the bottom of their lineup, which was a good thing too. He pitched good, he came in and bowed his neck.”
Weimar, however, responded with the game-tying run in the top of the seventh -- the first earned run allowed all season by Sanders. Seth Helmcamp led off with a single, moved to second on a Justin Rosenauer sacrifice bunt and reached third on a groundout to second.
Clay Kansteiner, who was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, then singled through the left side to tie it up.
"They can flat-out hit, but our kids just never gave up," Coach Colley said. "I told them that they’re going to have to earn it and they’re going to have to make the plays."
It was a rough beginning for Carlisle senior pitcher Gunner Baker, who allowed four runs to score before recording an out in the top of the first. Baker, who had allowed just one earned run in 96 innings entering Wednesday, gave up five runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked three.
Alex Delgado and John Blaha had RBI singles, and Kansteiner stoked a two-run triple to give Weimar (21-15-1) a stunning 4-0 lead.
"He’s never pitched at 12 o’clock in the afternoon before, and I’m not trying to make excuses for him," Coach Colley said of Baker. "He just seemed to be fatigued and just didn’t have … the velocity wasn’t there and his focus was not totally there. We’re going to talk to him and try to figure it out. He did the best he could I think.”
Carlisle got on the board in the bottom of the first on a Clay Allphin RBI single, but Helmcamp's run-scoring single in the second gave Weimar a 5-1 lead before the Indians began the chip away.
Caleb Colley's RBI groundout in the fourth cut the Weimar lead to 5-2 before the Indians took the lead with four runs in the fifth, thanks in part to three errors. Sanders and Goss each had RBI-hits, while the other two scored on errors by the Weimar catcher and first baseman.
“I don’t wanna do this tomorrow," Coach Colley said. "Tomorrow we’re going to get after it. We just got to get to hitting the ball a little more consistently, and our defense is going to continue to play.”
Carlisle 7, Weimar 6 (8 innings)
Class A Semifinal
Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Weimar 410 000 10 -- 6 9 2
Carlisle 100 140 01 -- 7 9 2
Weimar: Justin Rosenauer, John Blaha (5) and Alex Delgado. Carlisle: Gunner Baker, Shadow Sanders (6) and Clay Allphin.
WP -- Sanders (7-0).
LP -- Blaha (8-2).
2B -- Weimar: Delgado, Clay Kansteiner.
3B -- Weimar: Kansteiner. Carlisle: Sanders.
Records -- Weimar: 21-15-1. Carlisle: 28-1.
Attendance -- 843.