If comparative scores are any indication, the Carson High baseball team looks to be playing its best baseball at the right time of the year as the Senators head into their most difficult stretch to end the regular season.
Carson set the tone from the start on Monday at Ron McNutt Field, scoring nine runs in the first inning on its way to a 16-4 win over Lassen. When the two teams met earlier in the year in Susanville, Calif., it was a much more competitive game, with the Senators winning 13-8.
But the Senators' banged out 16 hits in the rematch. "You never know what to expect," Carson coach Ron McNutt said. "We came out in the first and it was bang, bang, bang. The kids are swinging the bats."
It was an encouraging sign for the Senators, who play two nationally ranked teams, Durango and defending state champion Green Valley, this weekend in Las Vegas. "That's going to be a good test for our kids," McNutt said.
McNutt said he plans to use four to six pitchers this weekend and then hopes to have his pitching rotation set for the regular-season ending three-game series the following week against Reno.
The Huskies are 12-0 in the Sierra League after sweeping three games from Wooster. Reno has ridden the arms of six left-handed pitchers.
"I think it's a good start before we go down to Las Vegas this weekend," Carson shortstop Carl Winter said. "Lassen's a good team. We battled down there."
"That's a big-time series," Winter also said about facing Reno. "It will be some good competition. That's what we like to do. That's what's fun about it."
The next five games will determine if Carson is reeling -- or gaining momentum -- heading into the Northern 4A playoffs. "All it is is seeding and that really doesn't matter," Winter said.
Ryan Henry (4-1) was sharp on the mound for Carson, allowing one earned run on three hits through four innings while striking six in the game that was called after 4 1/2 innings. "Ryan Henry pitched well, I thought," McNutt said.
Murph Glover was 2-for-2 with two runs and three RBIs, Willie Bowman was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, Ben Moore went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Aaron Henry and Jon Teeter were each 2-for-2, Andrew James was 1-for-1 with two RBIs, Ryan Gonzalez went 1-for-1 with an RBI and Neil Holmes was 1-for-1 for the Senators (22-7).
Henry retired the first six batters he faced, struck out the first two he faced and struck out four of the first six. In the bottom of the first, Carson's first nine batters reached base as the Senators sent 14 men to the plate.
Winter led off with a single, Gonzalez walked and Moore and Glover followed with RBI singles. Owen Brolsma and Rodney Black went on to walk to force in a run.
Bowman followed by nearly belting a grand slam home run to straightaway center field. He settled for a two-run, ground rule double.
Holmes walked, James had a two-run single, Gonzalez had an RBI single and Moore had his second RBI single of the inning to make it 9-0.
Carson took a 12-1 lead in the third on RBI singles by Black, Bowman and Holmes.
Lassen scored two unearned runs in the fourth to make it 12-3. But with runners at first and third and one out, Henry got out of the jam, receiving help from Winter, who fielded a ground ball up the middle and turned the double play unassisted.
In the bottom of the fourth, Steve Hartman had an RBI single and Glover had a two-run single during a four-run rally that made it 16-3.
Carson plays a 6 p.m. game at Durango on Friday and then plays Green Valley at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
CARSON JVS 11, LASSEN 10
Jason Alcasas belted a three-run home run for the Carson junior varsity baseball team in its win over Lassen. Cameron Leck had two hits, including a double, Mike Handley tripled and scored three runs, Jessie Rasner and Brad Breeden each doubled and Paul Carter, Nate White and Tony Teixeira all added hits for Carson.
Danny Rotter was the winning pitcher. Wes Osmer got two outs for the save and struck out the last batter with the bases loaded to nail down the win.