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Martin gets past SLC to meet Cy Ranch at state tourney
June 3, 2012By David McNabb of VYPE MAGAZINE - DFW
FORT WORTH _ Arlington Martin sophomore right-hander Turner Larkins got the final out of a 5-2 victory over Southlake Carroll with a strikeout to win the Class 5A Region I best-of-3 final before 2,510 at TCU’s Lupton Stadium . It was fitting.
Larkins struck out 13 as Martin (36-5-1) advanced to the UIL tournament in Round Rock. Martin won the 1993 Class 5A state title led by former major league star Ben Grieve in its last trip to state. Martin will play Cy Ranch in the state semifinal at noon Friday in Round Rock. A&M Consolidated and Corpus Christi Carroll meet in the other semifinal with the championship game Saturday.
“We felt confident with Turner when we saw him in the bullpen warming up,” Martin ninth-year coach Curt Culbertson said. “All of his pitches were working. He gets fired up, but he doesn’t get uptight. In a setting like this, it’s probably the best he’s pitched all season.”
Larkins (10-0), a hard-thrower with a big, slow curve as well, has been a key to Martin reaching its first regional final since 2007. In a series which combined to draw 6,125, Martin won Game 1 behind senior Collin Day but Carroll senior lefty and Texas A&M commit Greg Maisto out-dueled Martin ace Nick Hendrix (a Duke commit) for a 2-0 Carroll victory to even the series.
Carroll (25-13-1) lived on the edge throughout the playoffs, winning seven games in which a loss would have meant elimination.
In Game 3 Martin jumped to an early led 4-0 by the top of the fourth before Carroll scored. Senior catcher Collin Lawrence gave Martin a 1-0 lead with his third double of the series, a 2-out liner to left which scored Day, playing third and who’d reached on a single. An error-filled fourth-inning gave Martin a 4-0 lead. Martin scored on a squeeze bunt and on two Carroll errors.
Carroll rallied within, 4-2, in the bottom of the fourth with the help of Martin errors. Carroll catcher Hayden Zier and first baseman Quinn Brankin hit back-to-back singles and scored by moving up on two errors and a sacrifice fly to center. Carroll, relying on sacrifice bunts to move runners, only had three run-scoring hits in the series.
Carroll had chances to grab an early lead by Larkins worked out of jams largely with strikeouts. Carroll left two runners on base in each of the first three innings. Larkins got seven of the first nine outs with strikeouts.
Carroll used four pitchers, including junior Tyler Alexander who got the final four outs. Alexander, a junior commit to TCU, hadn’t pitched since May 3 when he fractured his wrist in slipping behind third in a first-round series against Flower Mound Marcus. Carroll’s pitching had grown thin through 11 playoff games in four weeks without Alexander. Carroll freshman starter Ben Leeper and seniors Sean Thompson and Austin Tyrone pitched the first 6 2/3 innings in Game 3 after both pitched in Game 1.