RENO — Simply put, it was the best game of Brandon Allen’s Carson High career.
Allen scattered seven hits and Chazz Nystrom hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to lead the Carson Blue Jays to a 3-2 win over North Valleys in first-day action of the Reno A’s Tournament at Bishop Manogue High School.
Carson, 8-12, continues play today with games at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Of the seven hits against Allen, three came in the fourth and three came in the seventh, which were the innings that North Valleys scored. Unofficially, Allen threw 78 pitches in his effort and 55 of those were strikes. In the other five innings, he showed razor-sharp control.
“I‘m happy with it,” Allen said. “I got tired toward the end. The heat was starting to get to me, and my arm was tired. I just tried to hit the strike zone and get groundballs. I left a couple of balls up, and when I did that they hit it.”
“Brandon threw an outstanding game,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “When they scored in the fourth ... he made a couple of bad two-strike pitches. I was happy with his effort in the seventh.”
North Valleys, with the heart of its order up in the seventh, made it interesting.
Bobby Cranston and Trenton Stowe hit back-to-back singles to put runners at first and third. Cody Duke followed with a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Cranston to make it 3-2. Nick Everton singled between short and third, sending Stowe to second. Losing pitcher Ian Flannary flied to left, and Stowe tagged up and took third. Allen induced a game-ending groundball against the next hitter, ending the game.
While Manoukian was happy with the win, he was unhappy with a couple of baserunning gaffes, both by the normally dependable Dom Norton.
The first came in the top of the first. Norton reached on a one-out single. T.J. Thomsen followed with a roller to third, which was bobbled by Henry Stewart, allowing Thomsen to reach first. Norton, however, tried to go from first to third on the play and was an easy out. Norton was later picked off first in the fifth inning.
“Our baserunning was atrocious,” Manoukian said. “I didn’t think I needed to hold up my hands to stop Dom (in the first). He was lying on the ground when the out was recorded at first. You don’t go for that unless you have a 100 percent chance of making it.”
Carson took 1-0 lead in the second. Chase Blueberg passed up two perfect pitches, and then homered to left.
Carson wasted a chance to pad its lead in the third when Gehrig Tucker ripped a ball into the right-centerfield gap and legged it out for a triple. With the infield playing back, Norton lined to left, Tucker holding at third. Thomsen walked and stole second, but Jace Zampirro popped to second and Blueberg grounded to short to end the threat.
Dustin Dutcher led off the fourth with a single to left-centerfield. He tried to stretch it into a double, but was thrown out on a close play.
“I had no trouble with that (decision),” Manoukian said. “He was being aggressive. They did a good job with the relay throw.”
North Valleys tied the game in the fourth when Stewart hit a one-out single, stole second and scored on a double to right by Stowe. Allen fanned Cody Duke looking to end the inning.
Carson took the lead in the sixth with two runs.
Thomsen and Zampirro were plunked to open the inning. Blueberg walked to load the bases, and Dutcher forced Thomsen at home. Nystrom followed with a double to score Zampirro and Blueberg to make it 3-1. Allen and John Holton were retired to end the inning.
“He threw me a fastball,” Nystrom said. “I was expecting it. We made a lot of hard contact today.”