Summer baseball is about developing players for next spring's team. Winning often takes a backseat. In a sense, players coming up from Carson's JV program are auditioning for coach Bryan Manoukian; trying to make a favorable impression in the one-month season.
Nevin Elliott certainly feels that way, and with the starting catching job up in the air with the graduation of both Nick Domitrovich and Rory Petersen, he is hoping to make a quick transition.
Elliott went 2-for-3 with a two-run double to highlight a six-run second inning, and Jace Zampirro allowed just one unearned run on three hits in five innings of work to lead the Carson Blue Jays to a 12-4 win over the Galena Black Sox Friday night at Ron McNutt Field.
The win upped Carson's record to 2-6. Three of the losses have been by one run. The game was originally supposed to be a doublehader, but the teams agreed to play one nine-inning game instead.
"I definitely feel like I'm auditioning for a spot," Elliott said. "Coach hasn't said anything to me about that, but it's just how I feel. I'm hitting 3-something, so I think I'm doing pretty good for my first varsity season.
"Coach has been working with me a little on hitting and getting my front foot down earlier. He wants me to get to the ball quicker."
The hitting part seems to be coming along quicker than the defensive part thus far, but the defense will come with experience and attention to detail.
"We lost seven seniors, so we definitely have some holes to fill," Manoukian said. "I'm trying to give the young kids some opportunities this summer.
"Nevin has been hitting the ball pretty well. He struggled his first couple at-bats this summer, but he's made some adjustments. Our team has been swinging it well. We hit the ball well against Manogue both times (7-4 losses), and we swung it well against Damonte. Tonight was just a continuation of that."
Carson scored in the first after two out when Luke Maher was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on a single up the middle by Chase Blueberg.
That set the stage for a big second inning when Carson struck for six runs, all scoring after two outs.
Zampirro and Charlie Banfield walked to open the inning. Both moved up on a groundball by Casey Wolfe, and Zampirro scored on Tyler Valley's infield roller. Gehrig Tucker legged out an infield hit to score Banfield for a 3-0 lead. After T.J. Thomsen singled, Maher followed with a two-run single for a 5-0 lead. Elliott followed with his aforementioned double for a 7-0 bulge.
That was more than enough for the lanky Zampirro, who struck out four and walked a batter.
Manoukian said he was impressed with Zampirro's ability to locate on both sides of the plate and throwing three pitches for strikes.
The only run Zampirro allowed came in the third when Wyatt Nebe reached on an error with one out and scored on a bloop single by Michael Jones to make it 7-1.
Carson made it 10-1 in the fourth with three runs thanks to singles by Elliott, Banfield and Casey Wolfe plus a wild pitch and hit batter.
Zampirro and Logan Krupp delivered run-scoring blows in the fifth for a 12-2 lead, and it stayed that way until the eighth when Galena scored three times off Dustin Duetcher. Jones tripled in a run and Cole Fenner doubled home a run. A wild pitch scored the third run.