RENO — For the second time in three games, Carson High had a dismal day on the pitching mound, and it led to a disappointing defeat.
Galena raked Carson pitching for 15 hits in 4 2/3 innings en route to a 17-6 victory Tuesday afternoon in the opening game of a two-game series. The game was stopped in the bottom of the fifth with two outs because of the 10-run mercy rule.
The loss dropped Carson to 4-3 in league play, while Galena improved to 5-2. The teams meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at Carson with Jace Zampirro expected to throw against the Grizzlies’ Nathan Barry.
It was a 12-run third inning that killed the Senators last Tuesday in an 18-10 loss to Damonte Ranch, and this time it was a nine-run fourth that wiped out a 6-3 Carson lead. Carson coach Bryan Manoukian used three different pitchers in the inning — starter Charlie Banfield and relievers Tyler Valley and Casey Wolfe. The Grizzlies were an equal opportunity offense, hammering all three CHS pitchers.
Banfield struggled for the second straight outing, allowing eight runs (seven earned) and eight hits. He walked two and hit two batters. In his last two starts, Banfield has allowed 17 runs and 14 hits in 5 2/3 inning. Valley also struggled, allowing a three-run homer to Chaz Clark and a solo homer to Brock Raggio, the only batters he faced. In his last two outings, Valley has failed to retire a batter. Wolfe, who hasn’t pitched since losing 11-1 to Douglas in a tournament game, gave up seven runs and five hits in 1 1/3 innings.
As of now, Manoukian doesn’t plan to alter his starting rotation, which consists of Banfield, Zampirro and Chase Blueberg.
“Charlie needs to do a better job of locating pitches early in the count,” Manoukian said. “He threw 87-90 pitches in three-plus innings. That’s why I took him out. We’ll stick with Charlie. He’s a senior, a program guy. We need him to have success if we’re going to be successful. Tyler needs to get the ball down. Both homers were on pitches at the letters or above.”
After two scoreless innings, Carson broke loose for three in the third against Eric Anderson, as Gehrig Tucker walked and Luke Maher was hit by a pitch. Zampirro singled home Tucker, and Banfield helped his own cause when he ripped a double in the left-centerfield gap to make it 3-0. Banfield moved to third on sacrifice bunt, but was stranded there.
Unfortunately, the lead was short lived.
Galena evened the game with three of its own in the bottom of the inning on two hits, two hit batters and a walk. Cole Fenner and Brock Raggio had run-scoring hits for the Grizzlies.
Carson scored three more in the fourth, and it was Tucker, Maher and Zampirro right in the thick of it. Zak Harjes walked with one out, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, to third on Tucker’s infield single and scored on Maher’s double. Zampirro followed with a two-run double to make it 6-3. Tucker, Zampirro, Maher and Banfield went a combined 7-for-9, but the other five hitters in the order were a combined 1-for-12.
“The bottom of the order needs to do a better job,” Manoukian said. “They did a good job of turning the order over against Damonte Ranch.”
Galena answered the challenge again, scoring the aforementioned nine runs on eight hits to make it 12-6. The big blow was Clark’s three-run homer off Valley.
“The thing I liked is that when Carson scored, we answered,” Galena coach Ron McNutt said. “I’m proud of the way the kids swung the bat; what to look for. Our top three guys (Michael Jones, Ben Barnard and Tim Lichty) have been getting on and setting the table for our other hitters.”
Jones went 2-for-4 with walk and three runs scored, Barnard went 3-for-4 with three runs and four RBIs and Lichty went 1-for-3 with a run and RBI. Raggio went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, Fenner went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Clark went 2-for-3 with four RBIs.
After Carson went quietly in the fifth, Galena ended the game with a five-run fifth. Barnard hit a walk-off grandslam.
NOTES: It’s Whiteout Night on Thursday. White shirts are being sold for $8 by the Baseball Boosters Club. The purchase of a shirt gets you into both the Galena game on Thursday and the game in early May against rival Douglas.