Carlyle Indians baseball coach Dusty Barr is hoping his club can lean on a deep and experienced lineup in its first super-sectional appearance since 2008.
Carlyle (26-7) will be shooting for its first state tournament trip since 1981 when it plays Teutopolis (28-3) in a 5 p.m. game Monday in the Sauget Super-Sectional at GCS Ballpark.
"The nice thing is we have a pretty loose group, not a lot gets to these kids," said Barr, whose team belted five homers Saturday in a 7-4 victory over Du Quoin in the title game of the Nashville Sectional. "They're pretty focused on the task at hand and they're having fun while they're doing it, which is a plus. If you're any sort of athlete or competitor, this should be what you look for, not run away from.
"If you want to play big-time sports, you want to be play in big-time games. I think I've got a lot of guys that want to be in this situation."
Carlyle's last baseball super-sectional appearance in 2008 led to a bitter defeat to eventual state champion Stanford Olympia as the Indians couldn't hold a 5-0 lead and lost 6-5.
Carlyle won the state championship in 1981 in its only state tournament trip.
Teutopolis has a pair of talented pitchers in 6-foot-6 two-sport star Kyle Pruemer and right-hander Jared Waldhoff.
Pruemer, an all-state basketball player who helped T-town knock off Central at the Greenville Sectional championship, shut down Shelbyville 8-1 Saturday in the baseball sectional title game.
In four playoff games, the Wooden Shoes have outscored their opponents 30-2. Carlyle has outscored its four playoff foes 16-6.
Today's expected starter for Teutopolis is Waldhoff, 7-0 with two playoff wins. Waldhoff tossed a three-hitter last Wednesday in the Wooden Shoes' 10-0 sectional semifinal victory over Flora.
Barr was excited to see Carlyle's offensive uprising Saturday, which included two homers from junior Matt Hilmes (Matt Hilmes (.368, nine doubles, three triples, four homers, 31 RBIs).
"It's been a while since our bats have come through like that," Barr said. "Our pitching's been good and now our hitting's coming along, too. The kids that hit (during the regular season) are still hitting. With playoffs you're facing good teams and good arms all the time, so you've got to be a little more locked in."
The left-handed Hilmes (5-1, 1.75 ERA, 46 strikeouts in 36 innings) shut out sectional finalist Du Quoin 4-0 in his last start. He could be Carlyle's starter Monday, with Logan Zachry (6-1, 0.99 ERA) another possibility.
Tyson Boehne (.383, 13 doubles, one homer, 19 RBIs, 31 runs scored), Kyle Jackson (.336, 10 doubles, two homers, 22 RBIs) and John Becker (.308, 10 doubles, two triples, five homers, 26 RBIs) also homered for Carlyle on Saturday against Du Quoin.
Boehne also pitched three scoreless innings in relief of starter Cody Huels (7-3, 1.64 ERA) to pick up a save.
Class 1A Super-Sectional
While Gibault endured a three-hour rain delay Saturday at Carlinville before crushing Mount Olive 17-0 in the title game of the Carlinville Sectional, its potential super-sectional opponents were forced to wait until Monday.
Pawnee takes on Jacksonville Routt in an 11 a.m. game Monday at the Lewistown Sectional, with the winner to face Gibault (22-11) in a 6 p.m. game Tuesday at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's Simmons Baseball Complex.
Gibault, which has outscored four playoff opponents 41-8, jumped on Mount Olive for four quick runs in the first inning Saturday and never looked back.
Wes Degener added a three-run, inside-the-park homer in the second inning and pitcher Austin Beccue (5-2, 2.37 ERA) had more than enough offense as he held Mount Olive to one hit in the first four innings.
The rained-out sectional final gives Gibault a chance to scout its opponent and Hawks' starter Zach Neff (6-2, 2.02 ERA, 73 strikeouts in 52 innings) an additional day of rest.
"I think well be ready to go," Gibault coach Andy Skaer said. "Whoever we play, it's going to be a good team and the guys are getting pretty excited. They see the finish line and see where we can get to."
Degener (.465, nine doubles, four triples, one homer, 26 RBIs) continues to pound the ball for the Hawks along with Chandler Purcell (.393, seven doubles, 21 RBIs), leadoff man Mitch Meyer (.367, 12 doubles three triples, 12 RBIs, 45 runs), Matt Schreder (.348, six doubles, home homer, 27 RBIs) and Auggie Ward (.346, four doubles, two triples, 20 RBIs).