BELLEVILLE — The Carlyle Indians wasted no time introducing themselves to the Althoff Crusaders on Wednesday at Whitey Herzog Field.
The Indians banged out five straight hits to start the game, leading to a three-run first inning and a 6-1 victory in the semifinals of the Class 2A Althoff Regional.
"When you face a good arm, you've got one of two approaches," Carlyle coach Dusty Barr said. "You come out and you do it, or you grind one time through and you make the adjustments the second time. Tonight we took the approach of 'hit.' I can't live with passive stuff."
Carlyle also benefited from a strong pitching performance by junior right-hander Logan Zachry (5-1). Zachry allowed seven hits and one run, striking out eight without a walk.
"That's pretty much what he's been," Barr said. "He's got just a little bit of pop, he's got a pretty nice breaking ball and he locates pitches exceptionally well."
Carlyle jumped on Althoff starter Ben Hankammer for three runs on five hits in the first inning.
The Indians leadoff man and McKendree University recruit Tyson Boehne singled to center and took second on an error. Kyle Jackson, another McKendree recruit, chased Boehne home with an RBI single.
Following a double by Matt Hilmes, John Becker drove a two-run single to right to make it 3-0.
Carlyle (23-7), the No. 2 seed, will play fifth-seeded Mater Dei (13-11) in the regional championship at 4 p.m. Saturday at Whitey Herzog Field in Belleville.
Mater Dei knocked off top-seeded Wesclin 9-4 in the other semifinal.
"We know who we're going to see," Barr said, referring to Mater Dei senior lefty and McKendree recruit Mitchell Langenhorst. "It's one of these deals where these kids know each other. They play all summer against each other, they grew up (playing) against each other. I expect nothing but a good ballgame."
Carlyle piled on three more runs in the fourth to chase Hankammer. A dropped infield popup and a double by Logan Zimmermann set up an RBI single by Logan Zachry.
A throwing error on the play allowed another run to score to make it 6-0.
"The top of their lineup is very good and they did a lot of damage -- and it was a bad mix for us," said Althoff coach Brett Isaacs, whose team finished the season 13-15 and made four errors. "They made a lot of plays and we didn't make many. We kicked the ball around and threw it around too much, kind of allowed them to do more damage than they should have."
Althoff had several chances to climb back into the game after the tough first inning.
The Crusaders loaded the bases in the sixth and got one run home when Grant Strieker struck out swinging on a pitch that eluded catcher Kyle Jackson. Zachry then struck out Luke Frazier to end the threat.
Sam Haudrich had three hits and reached safely four times for Althoff, but never scored.
"You've got to get big hits in a game like this," Isaacs said. "We didn't and they did. We got people on and we didn't drive them home. That and our lack of defense was really the story of the game."
Mater Dei 9, Wesclin 4
A year ago, Wesclin had the No. 6 seed in the regional and reached the state tournament. This year the Warriors came in seeded first and lost in their playoff opener.
Mater Dei broke on top 5-0 early, taking five of the nine walks issued by Wesclin pitchers during the first inning. The Knights had baserunners in every inning and kept constant pressure on the Warriors.
"We've seen it before, it's not the first time," Wesclin coach John Groennert said. "We did this to a lot of people last year and snuck up on them. They didn't sneak up on us, we knew they were good. But if we execute and do the things were supposed to do we win this game."
Wesclin starter Ryan Meddows never made it out of the first inning after encountering control problems. He walked five straight hitters, two of which forced in runs, before being replaced by Grant Weber.
Mater Dei got two more runs in the first on a low throw to first base by third baseman Brenden Bernhardt.
The Knights tacked on another run in the second to make it 5-0 when Adam Etter singled, stole second and scored from third on a wild pitch.
Breaking out on top was big for Mater Dei, which was coming off an emotional 1-0 win over rival Central two days earlier.
"A huge difference and they helped us a little bit, they made some mistakes," Mater Dei coach Marvin Eversgerd said. "That wasn't probably their best defensive situation there early in the game, but we kept putting the bat on the ball and putting pressure on them a little bit.
"We're happy to be in the finals. We like where we're at right now and we've got the Big Unit (senior left-hander Mitchell Langenhorst) ready to go."
Mater Dei starter Kyle Eversgerd dodged trouble from the second inning on, but got the Knights to the sixth with a 9-4 lead.
Wesclin got a two-run double from Josh Brown and an RBI single by Alex Quitmeyer to cut Mater Dei's lead to 5-4 in the fourth. But the Knights answered with four runs in the sixth with two more errors aiding their uprising.
"We just gave them way too much," said Groennert, whose team issued nine walks and made three errors while the Knights had seven singles. "When you add it all up, if you don't throw strikes and you don't make defensive plays you get beat. We weren't good today, that's just the bottom line. We were not good."
Wesclin got three runs in the seventh inning against Mater Dei reliever Bryton Timmermann, eventually bringing the tying run to the plate following a two-run single by Brett Mammenga. Quitmeyer flew out to center to end the game.