NACOGDOCHES — A squeeze play in the bottom of the ninth inning earned the Carlisle Indians a 3-2 win over Douglass in a one-game playoff, and a return trip to the Class 1A state baseball tournament.
After a single and stolen base from shortstop Caleb Colley to start the bottom of the ninth inning, Ty Baker laid down a perfect bunt with the bases loaded for the win at Jaycees Field.
“We were getting set for exactly what we wanted to do,” Baker said of his game-winning bunt. “I focused on getting the ball down, not popping up and if I did my job, with Caleb at third, I knew we would win.”
For the second year in a row, Carlisle and Douglass met for the regional championship.
The top-ranked Indians led 2-0 before eighth-ranked Douglass rallied in the sixth inning to tie the game.
Zach Brightwell made a huge defensive play for some Carlisle momentum, throwing out a possible single to right with a gun to first base for a three-up, three-down inning.
“I knew off the bat I was going to make a play at first,” said the hard-throwing right fielder, who went 2 for 3 on the night. “We almost got an out earlier, but this time we were on the same page and it was a huge out for us.”
Riding the momentum of the play, Colley ripped a single in between short and third base. Colley was safe at second when an error at second by Douglass on an overthrow put on Brightwell also on a fielder’s choice.
Douglass made a mound call and changed to pitcher Matthew Wallace. Carlisle had runners at second and third, when designated hitter Kolton Heim laid down a well- placed bunt. The attempt to get the runner at third failed, loading the bases for Baker.
Carlisle senior pitcher Gunner Baker struck out nine, walked six and allowed four hits and one earned run for the win. Baker aided his mound cause with an RBI single for the second run.
The Tribe (27-1) advance to play Wednesday at 9 a.m. or noon at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.
Class 1A Region III Final
Carlisle 3, Douglass 2 (9 innings)
Douglass 000 002 000 — 2 4 2
Carlisle 001 010 001 — 3 9 0
Reed Westbrook, Matthew Wallace (9) and Kolten Rhoudes. Gunner Baker and Clay Allphin. Reed. W – G. Baker; L - Wallace. 2B – C: Caleb Colley. SB – D: Matthew Wallace; C: Shadow Sanders, Zac Brightwell (2), Colley (2). SH – D: Matthew Wallace. CS - D: Reed Westbrook. DP – C: 1. LOB - D: 6; C: 8.
RECORDS — Douglass 20-5; Carlisle 27-1.
NEXT UP — Douglass season over; Carlisle advances to Class 1A state championships.