Dragons have no trouble with Lamar to advance

Posted Monday, May. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Given some of the upsets in the Region I bi-district baseball playoffs – notably Hurst L.D. Bell over Flower Mound and Colleyville Heritage over Coppell – Carroll coach Larry Hughes reminded his team that nothing was a given.

Sure, Carroll had the better lineup and arguably the best pitching staff in the state. However, the game can be cruel.

As it turned out, Carroll (28-4) proved to be pretty cruel toward Arlington Lamar. The Dragons easily eliminated the Vikings by scores of 10-0 and 5-0. Carroll pitchers held Lamar to six total singles. The staff has thrown 15 shutouts this season. Carroll meets San Angelo Central in the area round this weekend.

Sophomore right-hander Ben Leeper has emerged as the hot hand and earned the victory in Game 1. Senior left-hander Tyler Alexander dominated as usual, holding Lamar to a single in the sixth as he pitched another gem in Game 2.

“Ben’s been pitching better,” Hughes said. “He has been more consistent through district play. He had some playoff experience last year. But I wanted to get him a start at home so he would be a little more comfortable.”

Call it a businesslike experience for this squad. Thursday’s win was highlighted by Chris Altimont’s bases-load triple. That’s nothing new for Altimont. He has five three-baggers to lead all hitters.

Game 2 was pretty much out of reach after the top of the first on Kenny Hill’s three-run home run. Nic Motley added a two-run home run later to back Alexander, who racked up 14 more strikeouts.

“We continue to have good solid pitching,” Hughes said. “We got some timely hits. For sure, we were stronger than Lamar, but you still have to play the game. Our kids did what they had to do.”

Capitol city bound

When Hughes looked at a neutral location for the series with San Angelo Central, Austin seemed to make as much sense as any other place. Carroll and Central each have about a three-hour drive to the state capitol.

As of Sunday, the teams had tentatively agreed to play the best two-out-of-three at Concordia University in northwest Austin. Hughes hoped to have details solidified by Monday. Because of another round of standardized testing this week, the series cannot start until Friday.

“Just look at a map and either way, it’s about the same amount of time to get to Austin for both teams,” Hughes said. “It’s really not ethical to flip for home and away to play the series.”

Hughes declined to discuss pitching details. However, it’s been his track record to start Alexander on Fridays. Plus, a three-game series played out over two days looks a little different, because there isn’t the kind of turnaround time involved like there is if the series starts on Thursday. A squeezed series usually means the ace starts Friday.

So if Hughes sticks to that trend, then you could expect Leeper to pitch the second game. If a third game is necessary, Sean Thompson likely would be the candidate to start.

Because Carroll is in 4-5A, that means the ballclub has to travel a little further for the second round than it normally would in previous playoff appearances.

Briefly…

Hughes appears to have solved his issue with left field. He moved DH Drew Davis to that position and Motley to DH. Motley had been hot early in the season, then cooled off. However, his home run on Friday signaled he might be finding his rhythm at the plate.

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