RENO — The biggest reason for summer baseball is to improve and develop talent for the following spring.
One of Carson’s biggest needs is to develop pitching behind Jace Zampirro and Chase Blueberg, and so far nobody has stepped up and grabbed the third and fourth starting spots.
Coach Bryan Manoukian has put Dom Norton, Chazz Nystrom, Dustin Dutcher, Brandon Allen, Danny Guthrie and John Holton out on the mound plenty of times, and the group has had more ups and downs than a thrill ride at an amusement park.
Saturday was another frustrating day for the Carson team, which dropped a 13-3 decision to the Diamond Jacks in a game stopped after 5 1⁄3 innings because of the 10-run rule at the Reno A’s tournament at Bishop Manogue. It was the second time in as many days that Carson has been a mercy rule loser.
Starter Dutcher was tagged for six runs and eight hits in two innings, while Brandon Allen, on two days rest, gave up five runs and six hits in 1 1⁄3 innings. Danny Guthrie yielded two runs and three hits in 1-plus innings. Besides the 19 hits, Carson pitchers walked three batters and hit a batter.
“Pitching is the most important part of the game,” Manoukian said. “When you don’t throw strikes — or you can only throw one pitch for strikes — you’re going to have problems. If we continue (to pitch) this way, there are going to be results like today.”
The offense generated seven hits, six of those coming in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Carson struggled with two outs at various times and only managed one baserunner in the last 2 1⁄3 innings against right-hander Ryan Ward.
“It is difficult to hit when you’re playing from behind,” Manoukian said. “You’re going up there tight. We need to have good approaches early in the game. We have guys who need to make adjustments. If they don’t, things are going to stay that way.”
The Diamond Jacks scored three in each of the first two innings against Dutcher. Jace Duty had a two-run single to key the first-inning uprising, while No. 9 hitter Bryce Williamson hit a two-run homer to left in the second.
Carson scored in the third when Gehrig Tucker doubled and moved to third when Ward’s pick-off attempt sailed into centerfield. After Norton popped out, Zampirro singled to left to score Tucker and make it 6-1. Neither Blueberg or Nystrom were able to get the ball out of the infield, ending the inning.
The locals added two in the fourth to make it 6-3, as Joe Birri and Tucker had run scoring hits.
Allen, who pitched well on Thursday, threw a scoreless third, but couldn’t get out of the fourth as Duty, Hunter Spriggs, Spencer Bennion and Ward had run-scoring hits to make it 10-3. The Diamond Jacks added a run in the fifth off Tucker and then added two in the sixth off Guthrie.
Tucker’s two hits led the Blue Jays, who are 1-3 in the tourney.