RENO — Carson High’s opening game of its stretch run to hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot was short but definitely not sweet.
The Manogue Miners used a two-homer and six-RBI effort by Kyle Pruneau and a 1-hit pitching gem by Austin Vial en route to an easy 13-0 win over Carson Tuesday afternoon. The loss was the Senators’ third straight and fourth in five games.
Carson dropped to 7-10 in league play and a three-game lead over McQueen and four over North Valleys with just five games left in the regular season. Carson hosts Manogue at 6 p.m. Thursday and then it’s a home doubleheader against Spanish Springs on Saturday, and a season-ending home and home against Douglas next Wednesday and Thursday.
“Every loss is big,” said Carson coach Bryan Manoukian. “We’d like to take control of our own destiny, and we can do that if we win. When you lose, you have to start looking at the scoreboard. Hopefully we can come together for these last five games.
“Manogue is a very good hitting team. Hitting is contagious. That’s the way baseball is. Charlie (Banfield, Carson starter) battled. There were some long at-bats.”
Of Manogue’s 19 hits off Banfield and Dustin Dutcher, seven were for extra bases, and most were hit solid.
“We’ve been hitting the ball real well since we got back from the tournament in Anaheim,” Manogue coach Charles Oppio said. “Our team is red-hot right now one through nine. Pruneau is hot. He’s hit seven homers this year. He’s been on a tear the last couple of weeks.”
The demolition started early, as M.J. Farthing (4-for-4) hit a one-out single and scored ahead of Pruneau’s homer to left off Banfield for a quick 2-0 lead. The Miners stretched the lead to 6-0 in the second scoring four times behind a two-run single by Farthing and run-scoring hits by Connor Bohach and Harrison Shawa.
The two-inning outburst was more than enough for Vial, who needed just 72 pitches in his gem. He flirted with a no-hitter, until Zak Harjes lined a single to right-centerfield with one out in the fifth and final inning of the mercy rule contest.
“I didn’t think about it,” Vial said. “I was hoping nobody else had it on their minds. Somebody saying something would have cursed it. My fastball was running a little which makes it tough to hit. My curve was good when I was able to drop it in there.”
“That performance (by Vial) was big,” Oppio said. “We had a couple of sore arms and we didn’t have a lot in the bullpen. He had to come in Saturday for a couple of innings, and he was able to get some big outs.”
Vial walked three and hit a batter through the first four innings. With one out in the fifth, Harjes connected for a single. Vial easily retired the next two hitters to end the game.
Pruneau and Farthing both went 4-for-4, while No. 9 hitter Anthony Damonte went 3-for-3.