RENO -- Besides three lopsided wins, not much can come out of a three-game series with Hug. One glaring positive, however, might be buying Carson High coach Ron McNutt more time to prepare motivational speeches for when his team will actually need them.
They weren't necessary against the Hawks, even though the Senators fell behind 2-0 early on Saturday. But they came back to win 14-4 in five innings, then cruised to an 11-0 shutout victory in the second game of a doubleheader yesterday at Hug High. Carson on 16-2 on Thursday at Ron McNutt Field.
McNutt said he wasn't upset that his team started out flat in all four games this past week, including Tuesday's game against Sparks. The Railroaders led 5-0 going into the bottom of the second inning before Carson won 13-5.
"You can only get high school kids excited so many times," McNutt said. "They read the papers, they know what kind of them they are playing. Sometimes, there are games when you give speeches and then there are ones when you just kind of sit back and be quiet. I'm saving all of my pregame speeches for the zone tournament."
The Senators (21-7 overall, 11-4) assured themselves of spot in the Northern 4A Regional Tournament with Saturday's wins. But where they will be seeded remains an unknown.
Carson, currently in second place in the Sierra League, will finish the regular season with a three-game series against first-place Reno. The Huskies swept all three games from Wooster on Friday and Saturday, improving their record to 12-0. But they still must play three games against Douglas before the season-ending series against the Senators.
Ryan Buttner picked up the win in the first game and freshman Jake Rasner won his first league game of the season in the second game. Rasner, who improved to 4-1 on the season and 1-1 in league, pitched four scoreless innings, struck out seven and walked two. Ryan Henry, Eugene Soulier, and Jarrod Bone all pitched in the shutout victory. Henry struck out the side in the fifth, his only inning of work.
"I felt pretty good out there," said Rasner, a cousin of University of Nevada junior pitcher Darrell Rasner. "I was just trying to hit corners and throw strikes. I knew there was going to be a lot of pitchers throwing today. I just wanted to do what I could."
McNutt, though, thinks the younger Rasner has only scratched the surface of where he'll be four years from now.
"Oh yeah, his future is ahead of him," McNutt said. "He's got a lot of potential. He's going to be a good one. I just wanted to get a lot of pitchers to throw some innings. We got some big games coming up and all of them need some playing time in these games."
McNutt still hasn't set a three-man rotation for the Reno series, let alone the zone tournament. But it'll get clearer over the next two weeks. Carson plays Lassen, Calif., on Monday, then travels to Las Vegas for a game against Durango on Friday night and defending state champion Green Valley on Saturday. The Trail Blazers (21-4) were ranked No. 13 in the nation in USA Today's April 10 poll. So McNutt said he won't have a clear idea of his pitching rotation until after next weekend.
"I'm not really worried about that right now (establishing a rotation)," McNutt said. "We have a lot of different kids that we need to see where they'll fit in. We have Lassen on Monday, then we get to play Durango and Green Valley who are the defending 4A state champions. Our kids seem to play pretty well when we're down there (Las Vegas). But we're going down there thinking we are going to throw six pitchers in the two games."
Against Hug (3-19, 1-11), the Senators racked up 24 hits. In the two games, Carl Winter went 4-for-7 with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs. Owen Brolsma was 3-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs. Steve Hartman, who got his first of the season on Thursday against the Hawks, went 2-for-5 with an RBI double.
In the second game, Willie Bowman hit a two-run home run in the second to put Carson up 3-0. Rodney Black hit an RBI double in the second to open the scoring. Jon Teeter went 2-for-5 with three RBIs in game two.
"These were good wins for our kids," McNutt said. "Now, the games get tougher."