ROUND ROCK — To reach their first state championship game, the top-ranked Carlisle Indians needed extra innings after the past two rounds came down to pitching gems by Gunner Baker and Shadow Sanders.
On Wednesday morning at Dell Diamond, it was more of the same.
It took one extra inning and another squeeze bunt from Justin McMurtry, who scored Ben Goss with the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give Carlisle a 7-6 win over Weimar in the Class 1A baseball semifinals.
"I knew what I had to do and we needed me to keep the ball down," McMurtry said. "The coaches have had a lot of confidence in me all season and when they called for me, I was ready and just glad I could help the team and do my part."
Sanders, who had a key RBI double to add to his Fox Sports Southwest Player of the Game honors, shut down a Weimar rally in the sixth inning after relieving Baker in a troublesome spot with the bases loaded and no outs.
A crafty left-hander, Sanders got two ground outs and forced a pop-up to end a huge Wildcats push and keep the game tied 6-6.
"Gunner had thrown a lot of pitches on a hot day, and I was just glad the coaches had the faith in me to come in at the time," Sanders said about his relief call to the mound. "I just focused on the mitt, and keeping the ball down … and try not to slip and give them anything to drive. And Clay (Allphin) did a great job behind the plate all game."
Carlisle head coach Wes Colley was ecstatic after the narrow win.
"These kids are just resilient and fighters …" Colley said. "We practice different situations each day that we knew one day would pay off, and bunting the ball and small ball, and that's what won it again for us today. And I could not be prouder of these kids and the coaches.
"The fan support has just been unbelievable all year, and the kids don't know what give up means on this team, and we get to play for it all (against Stamford at 9 a.m. Thursday at Dell Diamond)."
Weimar starter Justin Rosenhauer handcuffed the Indians through four innings — leading 5-2 — before Sanders ripped a two-run triple to put the Indians on top 6-5 in the fifth. That shot highlighted a four-run rally to match Weimar's four-spot from the top of the first, and it also drove Rosenhauer from the mound.
The Tigers jumped on Carlisle in the opening frame; the big blast a two-run triple from hot-hitting Clay Kansteiner
The fleet-footed Zach Brightwell, Carlisle's No. 3 pitcher, was solid in the field with four catches and two assists from right field, reaching on an error and a walk to score two runs.
Tribe third sacker, Ben Goss, was another key at the plate for the Indians as he went 3 for 4 with one RBI and one run scored.
Gunner Baker helped his mound cause, going 1 for 2 at the plate with one RBI and two runs scored, while Colton Heim added the other run for the Tribe.
Baker struck out six Wildcats and walked three while scattering seven hits in his six innings pitched. Sanders earned the win in relief to improve to 7-0 on the hill. Sanders struck out the side in the top of the seventh.
Carlisle (28-1) lost in the state semifinals last season, 5-4, to Fayetteville, the eventual 2012 state champion.
Class 1A State Semifinals
Dell Diamond, Round Rock
Carlisle 7, Weimar 6 (8)
Weimar 410 000 10 — 6 9 2
Carlisle 100 140 01 — 7 9 2
Justin Rosenauer, John Blaha (5), and Alex Delgado. Gunner Baker, Shadow Sanders (6) and Clay Allphin. W – Sanders. L - Blaha. 2B – W: Clay Kansteiner, Delgado. 3B - W: Kansteiner. C: Sanders. SB – W: Seth Helmcamp. C: Zach Brightwell 2. SAC – W: Rosenauer, Todd Heger. Delgado. C: Allphin, Ty Baker. CS - W: Seth Helmcamp, Greyson Ulrich. C: Dylan Sanders.
RECORDS – Carlisle 28-1. Weimar 21-15-1.
NEXT UP – Carlisle vs. Stamford, 9 a.m. Thursday, Dell Diamond, Round Rock.