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Carroll 2-0 win sets up Game 3 vs. Martin
June 1, 2012By David McNabb of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
FORT WORTH _ Southlake Carroll has advanced through four rounds with elimination games and Carroll gladly will take a fifth after getting a 2-0 victory over Arlington Martin in Game 2 of a best-of-3 series in the Class 5A Region I final. The deciding Game 3 will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday at TCU.
Carroll (25-12-1) got 1-hit pitching from senior left-hander Greg Maisto and a 2-out RBI-double from junior Kenny Hill in the top of the first and held on against Martin before an enthusiastic crowd of 2,015 at Lupton Stadium. Carroll, which executed four sacrifice bunts from four players, also got a stolen base from Hill in the top of the sixth to set up a sacrifice fly to left for the final run.
In the top of the first, Carroll leadoff hitter Chris Altimont walked and reached second with a sacrifice by Kansas State signee Ben Sego. With two outs, Hill lined a double on a bounce off the leftfield wall.
Maisto allowed Martin only an infield single in the fourth which deflected off his glove for Martin’s only hit by junior DH Anthony Lyons, who beat a close throw by Carroll second baseman Darian McLemore to first. Martin had its best opportunity to score in the third inning with the bases loaded on two walks and an error when senior center fielder Tyler Barnes chased down a 380-foot out to deep center on a line drive by Martin’s Mitchell Peck.
“Tyler has been our defensive player of the year,” Carroll coach Larry Hughes said. “He saved the Grapevine (single-game playoff) game. We’ve got good pitching, but we still have to make the plays behind them.”
Martin (35-5-1) kept close behind Duke signee Nick Hendrix (9-2), who allowed just four hits. Martin’s defense shined as it did in a 7-3 Game 1 victory. Martin threw out its second runner of the series at home when Carroll tried to score from second on an infield hit.
For Carroll, Maisto (9-2) has been integral in best-of-3 playoff series wins over Flower Mound Marcus and El Paso Montwood and single-game playoff wins over Grapevine and Flower Mound.
Besides the bases loaded jam in the third, Maisto didn’t allow another Martin runner past first.
“You have to be confident, you can’t be nervous, you can’t listen to the fans,” said Maisto, who has committed to Texas A&M. “From the first pitch, I was confident I could do it.”
SCOUTING REPORT.... Carroll won the flip to be the home team for Game 3 on Saturday at TCU. Carroll's Class of 2012 (with about 700 students) has graduation at Dragons Stadium on Friday night. Martin grad ceremonies are Saturday afternoon at TCU's Daniel Meyer Coliseum.
Martin may have a little edge with 6-3 soph Turner Larkins available for Game 3. Larkins has three posteason starts lasting at least five innings and he's a hard-thrower with a strikeout pitch fastball. Martin also could come back with Game 1 winner Collin Day in relief as well as Mike Hoffman, who got the final four outs of Game 1. Day and Hoffman could throw in relief.
Larkins (6-3, 195) is one of the few players in this series with size. Martin junior DH Anthony Lyons is a 6-3 with athleticism and, if he gets extended, a lot of pop. Martin freshman rightfielder Josh Watson (5-10, 175) is a terrific hitter but not big. Martin pitcher Hoffman (6-3, 200) has some size and strength.
Carroll has '13 A&M QB/3B commit Kenny Hill (6-2, 195) is an eye-catching athlete and C Hayden Zier (6-3, 175) very athletic and getting evaluated Big 12 schools. But, for the most part, these North Texas rosters will pale when some of the big Houston and South Texas lineups roll out in Round Rock. Wait till you see Corpus Christi Carroll's 6-3, 215-pound Courtney Hawkins roaming around if they make it.
Carroll has freshman Ben Leeper and possibly Game 1 pitchers Sean Thompson and Tyrone Austin who could throw a few innings in Game 3. Leeper also pitched 1 1/3 innings in Game 1. Leeper pitched 5 2/3 innings in the deciding game against El Paso Montwood in the 5A Region I semifinals. He's got a big curve to set up a solid fastball.
If Carroll gets to the state tournament, the Dragons could get back junior lefty Tyler Alexander, who fractured his wrist in the first round. A TCU commit for '13, Alexander fell backing up third and hurt his wrist. He's had a splint on it but not a cast. He threw some in the outfield before Game 2 on Friday night but he has yet to get a doctor's clearance. It's doubtful, he could get cleared for Saturday's game.. but stranger things have happened. The playoff game he was injured was May 3 so it's been a month.
Martin has has relied on Hendrix as its ace in No. 2 game. Warriors coach Curt Culbertson's perspective is that Game 2 either keeps you in a series or clinches it for you. Martin used righty Collin Day in a 7-3 Game 1 victory. Day threw 75 pitches, including coming back for two outs after a 30-minute rain delay. Larkin can be a dominating pitcher though and not need help.
Carroll hitters are struggling. Senior CF Tyler Barnes (hitting No. 6) is the only Carroll hitter to have 2 hits in each of the first two games. Only catcher Hayden Zier has two hits in the series.
Carroll pitching has done great under first-year pitching coach Larry Vucan. He was a highly respected coach who resigned from a successful El Paso Franklin program two years ago. Vucan has developed great rapport with young Carroll pitchers. That experience should be key for a strong Game 3 performance.
Maisto could add a bat in leftfield in Game 3. He's a terrific athlete who can hit. Could be an neat story developing with Maisto's sister who teaches at Cy Ranch, which is in the Region III final series with FB Kempner. Maisto threw a 1-hitter vs. Martin and really didn't have best stuff. Great competitor was the key. His fastball was mainly 86 and curve would come and go.