MIDLAND – The Carroll Lady Dragons’ soccer season came to an end Saturday at Grande Communications Stadium.
The Lady Dragons fell one victory shy of a Class 6A state tournament berth after a 2-0 loss to Keller in the Region I championship.
Carroll defeated Wolfforth Frenship 3-1 in the semifinal on Friday and overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit. The Lady Dragons were led by Neaka Khalilian, who scored two goals and Alli Gardner added one.
Khalilian and Sydney Nobles recorded assists.
In the final, Carroll’s shots were limited and Keller’s defense delivered a shutout as it advanced to the state tournament. Keller also avenged an earlier loss this season to Carroll.
The Lady Dragons finished the season 21-2-2.
FORT WORTH – Thursday evening at TCU, the Carroll Dragons and Martin Warriors met in Game 2 of the Class 5A Region I Final series. After losing the series opener, the Dragons sent Texas A&M-bound Greg Maisto to the mound to save the Dragons’ season. Maisto was nothing short of incredible, and led the Dragons to a 2-0 Game 2 victory. Maisto threw a complete game one-hitter on 109 pitches, silencing the explosive Martin offense. Maisto had six strikeouts walked three. After the game, Maisto said, “I was confident. I knew I had my stuff tonight. The two-seam was really working tonight. Staying alive in the playoffs is a great feeling.”
The victory moved the Dragons to 7-0 in playoff elimination games.
On the offensive side, the scoring started early for the Dragons. After a lead off walk by Chris Altimont and a sacrifice bunt by Kansas State signee Ben Sego, junior third basemen Kenny Hill stepped in. On the first pitch, Hill ripped a double that one hopped the left-center field wall, scoring Altimont form second base.
“It was a fastball, pretty much right down the middle, a little up,” Hill said. “I knew I had to do something tonight after going 0-for-3 last night. It felt great.”
The Dragons would not score again until the bottom of the sixth inning. Hill led off the inning off with a walk, advanced to second on another sacrifice bunt, this time by the senior designated hitter Nick Arst. Hill then stole third base on the third pitch with center fielder Tyler Barnes hitting. With a 2-2 count, Barnes hit a deep sacrifice fly to the left fielder, which scored Hill from third. Barnes is 4-fo-5 in series. Talking about what has changed lately, Barnes said, “I’ve just had an aggressive approach at the plate, I’m seeing the ball great.”
The deciding Game 3 is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at TCU’s Lupton Stadium. The winner advances to the Class 5A State Tournament next Friday in Round Rock. When asked about what he is looking forward to most about Saturday, Hill said, “Winning another one. We still want more.”
FORT WORTH – Game 1 of the Class 5A Region I Final series between Arlington Martin and Carroll ended with a 7-3 Martin victory. Martin right-hander Collin Day, who has committed to Duke, threw 5 2/3 innings, only allowing three runs and five hits before a crowd of 2,500 at TCU’s Lupton Stadium. Closer Mike Hoffman followed Day and threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings to seal the victory for the Warriors. The teams return to action in Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Lupton Stadium.
Dragon starting pitcher Sean Thompson was bounced after two innings of work and gave up three runs and five hits and threw 54 pitches. Senior reliever Austin Tyrone, who had only a few appearances this season, threw three and 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and had seven strikeouts. Offensively, the Dragons were only able to rally five hits against the tough Martin pitching. Junior catcher Hayden Zier had a key two-run double in the bottom of the 5th inning, scoring Tyler Barnes, who lead the inning off with a single. Sophomore Drew Brown also in the inning. Senior second baseman Darien McLemore added a home run in the bottom of the sixth, which the scoreboard in right-center field. Barnes also had a single earlier in the bottom of the second inning for the first hit of the game. Wednesday’s game also included a 30-minute lightning delay in the sixth inning.
The Dragons are in a familiar position. Carroll has won six eliminations games during the playoffs and lost the first game of two best-of-three series (Marcus, El Paso Montwood).
Adult tickets are $6 and students are $4. Stadium open at 6:30pm.
MIDLAND – Facing elimination in this year’s postseason, the Carroll Dragons are rising to the occasion. Last weekend’s Class 5A Region I Semifinals series against nationally-ranked El Paso Montwood produced another special clutch performance.
The Dragons lost the series opener and battled back to win Games 2 and 3 to advance to the Region I Final this week against Arlington Martin. With standout pitching and seventh-inning clutch hits, the Dragons are making their deepest playoff run since reaching the 5A state championship game in 2008. Saturday included impressive pitching performances by Sean Thompson in Game 2 and freshman Ben Leeper in Game 3. The Dragons are now 6-0 in elimination games in this year’s playoffs and have won two series after losing the opening game.
Carroll (24-11) lost the series opener against Montwood on Friday 2-1. But the Dragons bounced back with a 5-1 victory in Game 2, highlighted by Drew Brown’s three-run double in the seventh. In the series-deciding game, Kenny Hill broke open a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh with a bases-loaded double to give the Dragon a 4-1 lead and eventual 5-2 victory. Ben Sego, the Dragons’ starting shortstop, relieved Leeper and picked up the victory.
The Dragons begin their three-game series against Martin on Wednesday. The winner earns a berth to the state tournament next week in Round Rock. All games begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be played at TCU’s Lupton Stadium.
Directions to Lupton Stadium
Parking at Lupton Stadium
Carroll (24-11) vs. Martin (34-4) – Class 5A Region I Final, Best-of-3 Series
Game 1: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at TCU’s Lupton Stadium
Game 2: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., at TCU’s Lupton Stadium
Game 3: (if necessary) Saturday, 7:30 p.m. at TCU’s Lupton Stadium