Zach Brightwell Pitches Carlisle Past Stamford For Indians’ First Baseball State Championship
ROUND ROCK -- Despite not pitching since the second round of the playoffs, Carlisle junior Zach Brightwell was the perfect man for the job Thursday.
He's an early riser.
The lack of work in recent weeks and the 9 a.m. start time didn't faze Brightwell, who tossed a complete-game three-hitter to lead Carlisle past Stamford 6-1 for the Indians' first-ever Class A state championship at Dell Diamond.
"He's a morning person, he gets up early before all the kids are ready," said Carlisle coach Wesley Colley. "He's the first one down from the hotel room. And that had a lot to do with how we started today."
Brightwell (7-1), the normal third starter for the Indians (29-1), struck out seven and walked two -- allowing just one unearned run in the fifth.
"All my pitches were working, and my defense was working behind me," Brightwell said. "Obviously, the offense was working as well. It all was perfect."
Colley said Brightwell had not pitched since throwing one inning of relief in Carlisle's two-game sweep of McLeod in the area round of the playoffs early last month.
"At first I was a little bit nervous, but after I got out there I was able to calm down and get focused and get in my rhythm," said Brightwell, who was voted the championship game Most Valuable Player.
Brightwell had plenty of offensive support with Carlisle's 12-hit attack. Caleb Colley was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two steals. Kolton Heim also had two hits and scored twice to go along with a fifth-inning RBI single that put the Indians ahead 4-1.
It was a far cry from Carlisle's extra-inning semifinal win on Wednesday in which the Indians trailed 4-0 in the first inning.
"It takes a little bit more pressure off of you, it's a lot easier with any ball club," Coach Colley said of playing with a lead. "But our kids are relaxed most of the time. We never pressed much yesterday even though I was a little shell-shocked."
Caleb Colley, son of the head coach, was in the middle of everything for Carlisle. He singled to lead off the second, moved to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout before giving the Indians a 1-0 lead after scoring on a wild pitch.
In the fifth, Colley singled with two outs, stole both second and third, then scored on Heim's RBI single.
"Caleb has been hot the last three or four weeks," Coach Colley said. "He just plays his butt off and I'm just so proud of him, as a parent and a coach. I'm very proud to have a son on a state championship team, and especially the way he played."
Carlisle took a 3-0 lead with two runs in the fourth. Heim, Jaylan Holland and Ty Baker all singled to load the bases with one out. Shadow Sanders then drew a walk to make it 2-0, and Holland came around with the second run of the inning on an error.
Stamford cut the deficit to 3-1 in the fifth on a throwing error by Brightwell, but the Indians increased their lead to four runs in the bottom half of the inning on Heim's single and a wild pitch.
Sanders scored the game's final run on another wild pitch in the sixth.
The rest was left to Brightwell, who retired Stamford in order in the seventh to seal the state championship for Carlisle.
"I can''t even explain it," Brightwell said when asked of his MVP performance. "Now that we've got (a state title), we've just got to stay focused again next year."
Carlisle 6, Stamford 1
Class A State Final
Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Stamford 000 010 0 -- 1 3 3
Carlisle 010 221 x -- 6 12 2
Stamford: Gus West, Ligon West (5), Kyle Barnett (6) and Austin Alvarado. Carlisle: Zach Brightwell and Clay Allphin.
WP -- Brightwell (7-1).
LP -- G. West (8-1).
2B -- Stamford: L. West, Dalton Mathis.
Records -- Stamford: 26-3. Carlisle: 29-1.
Attendance -- 912.