Chase Blueberg, T.J. Thomsen, Jace Zampirro, Dom Norton and Gehrig Tucker have been playing baseball together for as long as they can remember.
It was only fitting their last game in a Carson High baseball uniform would be together. The quintet played for the Gray Squad in the annual Junior-Senior Showcase sponsored by the Northern Nevada Baseball Coaches Association and Athletics Unlimited at Peccole Park on Saturday
“I think most of us have been playing since we were 8,” Thomsen said before the Gray stars took batting practice. “It’s nice to be here for this game. I’m glad it’s over, and hopefully I’m moving on to bigger and better things.”
“It feels like I’m starting a new chapter,’ Tucker said. “It’s time to move on. I know some guys are emotional about it, but I’m not too emotional about it.”
All five Carson players had a hand in the 10-9 win. The game was a nine-inning affair to give players multiple at-bats, and free subbing was allowed.
Zampirro had a run-scoring triple in the fourth and later scored. Norton and Blueberg hit singles.
Tucker started at third base, moved to short and pitched the ninth. He earned the save, and drew smiles with an ephus pitch in the bottom of the ninth that missed the mark by a wide margin.
Blueberg gave up a run in his only inning of work as did Zampirro. Thomsen played center, while Norton saw time at second and in the outfield. Thomsen reached base a couple of times.
The Gray squad scored five runs in their last couple of at-bats to grab the win before a small crowd.
Two other Carson players – Josiah Pongasi and Brandon Allen – played in the game for juniors.
Their Gray squad pounded out a 10-4 decision, and both Allen and Pongasi contributed a hit each. Allen contributed a two-run single in the Gray’s four-run first inning. Pongasi singled and scored in the fourth.
It was nice to see Allen come through. After hitting .364 in the school season, Allen has struggled at the plate during summer ballgames.
“I’ve been trying to work on my form,” Allen said. “Today, I just wanted to hit the ball. I didn’t go up there thinking about anything. This was the most fun game I’ve played in.”
“It was fun,” Pongasi said. “Just having it here (at Peccole) was great.”
There were a few scouts and a few junior college coaches in attendance, including WNC’s D.J. Whittemore.
Whittemore was there to look at six incoming freshmen – Carson’s Tucker, Douglas’ Kyle Johnson, Galena’s Tim Lichty and Ben Barnard, and Reno’s duo of Matt Young and Jeremy Peterson, who was named the Player of the Year in Northern Nevada Division I.
Tucker has some versatility, and can play three of the four infield positions. He has caught in the past, and probably has good enough wheels to play outfield, too. Guys like that are valuable.
“We brought him in to compete for the starting shortstop job,” Whittemore said. “If you can play short, you have the ability to play second and third.
“We’re looking at Lichty to contend for a starting spot at catcher. I think Peterson can play third base, and right now Young is a better pitcher than a hitter right now. We’ll see how it turns out.”
It’s nice to see a deep infusion of local talent stay home and play at WNC. I can see a few more fans attending the games, and that’s always a good thing to see.