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State title footballers help Carroll advance baseball playoffs
May 5, 2012By David McNabb of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
GRAPEVINE _ Still building its identity with five players coming off a state football title, Southlake Carroll advanced in the Class 5A state baseball playoffs with a 3-1 victory over Flower Mound Marcus to win a best-of-3 bi-district series.
Carroll (20-10-1) scored three runs in the bottom of the first with an RBI single from Darien McLemore and a two-run double from leftfielder Greg Maitso and freshman pitcher Ben Leeper and junior Sean Thompson allowed just three hits and one run.
“We had to win two elimination games and the players had a lot of confidence all through it,” 16th year Carroll coach Larry Hughes said. “They had to come back from a very tough loss (in the opener). These things aren’t easy to win and they’re finding a way to do it.”
Marcus (21-11) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth in a Game 1 victory behind senior ace Colin Poche’. Carroll evened the series with a 4-1 victory in Game 2.
Marcus started Game 3 with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with an RBI-single by junior second baseman Nick Lewis. Carroll’s Leeper got out of the inning without another run by overcomng two walks and an error with two strikeouts. Thompson finished the final four innings and allowed just one hit while getting out of a potential jam as Carroll junior third baseman Kenny Hill alertly tagged a baserunner who over-slid the base for the third out.
Hill, Carroll’s quarterback who recently committed to Texas A&M for the Class of 2013, is one of four football players starting through the series. Shortstop Ben Sego and centerfielder Tyler Barnes were Carroll senior receivers, sophomore right fielder Drew Brown is a Carroll kicker while senior lineman Austin Tyrone is a platoon starter at first base.
As the No. 1 and 2 hitters, respectively, Brown and Sego led off the first with singles and Carroll tied the score 1-1 on a single by McLemore. The lefthanded Maisto, who got the pitching victory in Game 2, then sliced a double to leftcenter to score two runs and give Carroll its final 2-run margin.
When Carroll reached the 2008 5A state baseball final, it had several football players on the roster. The latest Carroll playoff run will depend on their versatility and athleticism. Against Marcus, Sego (a Kansas State baseball signee) took away two likely hits with plays going to the right and left and Barnes added a diving catch in center to take away a hit in Game 3.
“We didn’t get the football players until mid January when they changed their schedules,” Hughes said. “They’re good athletes and good leaders and but it’s something were used to every year. We’re glad to have them.”
SCOUTING REPORT: Carroll doesn't wow you on defense, fielders not that rangy, but they have a knack for making big plays. When Greg Maisto plays leftfield, lineup and defense much strong, but he's now Dragons' ace with season ending injury to junior P Tyler Alexander, who fell while backing up a play at third and fractured his wrist. He tried one pitch and threw it about 15 feet high to the backstop... Freshman Ben Leeper has 87-88 fastball, good curve, he'll probably be a Game 2 starter so a freshman doesn't have to sit on bench to relieve.. Junior Sean Thompson will be the Game 2 tandem guy.. Senior Ben Sego is the standard.. SS to closer who can come in for an inning or two .. If opponents try to one-game SLC, it's amazing they have A&M commitment Maitso with the injury to Alexander, who had 13 Ks in Game 1. ... Marcus loses Poche' to Arkansas or most likely first two rounds of draft (I'm projecting sandwich pick).. Twin seniors SS Corey & C Weston Pitts are nice players and leave a void. Senior P Brandon Courville is nice pitcher who can play somewhere in college.. Game 3 starter P Kyle Condry (Navy) ..Marcus program continue to be strong with some young hitters like starting freshman Brendan Venter.. Strength of program is lots of youth baseball participation in community... Poche' blossomed this year, but he had injury last year and wasn't a hot prospect on anyone's list until senior season..