A season that started with so much promise is now one game away from ending. Carson High, who returned almost everybody from last season and welcomed 14 seniors to their roster, were beat 14-4 in the first round of the Northern 4A Regional Tournament on Wednesday at Ron McNutt Field.
With almost an identical situation to the Senators a year ago, the Lancers came into this season with everybody back. They figured this season would be the one. But when the two teams met yesterday, McQueen was the only team that played with any sense of urgency.
"They came to play. They came out and swung the bats well and we didn't," Carson coach Ron McNutt said. "We made a lot of mistakes but that's baseball. We just got beat by the better team."
The Lancers (27-5) will play Wooster tonight at 6 p.m. and Carson (23-12) will play Reed in an elimination game today at 3. Both games are at Reno High. The Colts beat the Raiders 6-1 in another first round game at Carson High.
In Wednesday's other first round games at Reno High, Douglas beat Galena 6-3 and Reno beat Elko 15-6.
The Lancers (27-5) pounded out 12 hits and took advantage of four Senator errors in a game that was never in doubt. Except for the second inning, McQueen scored at least two runs in every inning and was up 6-0 before Carson even scored.
In the top of the fourth, Rodney Black's RBI single scored Jon Teeter, but the Senators left two runners in scoring position. In the fifth, with the Lancers leading 8-1, Carson scored two more runs, one by Teeter and the other off Ben Moore's RBI single. The McQueen offense, though, never let up, no matter who was on the mound.
Starter Tim Priess lasted only 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the year, and only struck out four. Seniors Gene Soulier and Josh Camper also pitched but it didn't matter as the Lancers were simply dialed in all game.
James Johnson, McQueen's winning pitcher in the game, went 3-for-4 with two doubles and home run to go along with five RBIs. Larry Nistler, Ronnie Glensor, Matt Simmons, and Kevin Snow all had two hits for the Lancers. Carson did have seven hits, but didn't hit in four of the seven innings.
Black went 2-for-3 with a double to the lead the Senators. Senior Ryan Buttner will likely start against Reed.
"I'm not going to make any excuses for ourselves because we can't make any excuses," McNutt said. "We got, what, seven, eight hits? We got beat by the better ball club today. We have one more game. If we win, we play again. If we don't, the season's over. That's it."
WOOSTER 6, REED 1
Charles Geffert went 2-for-3 with a double and Chris Toto pitched all seven innings, giving up only three hits as the Colts beat the Raiders. Wooster (23-9) scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to break up a 1-1 tie. Beau Walker had two RBIs for the Colts.
Reed was led by Casey Phenix, who went 2-for-3, and Brody Massman, who went 1-for-3 with a solo homer. The Raiders will play Carson today at 3 p.m. at Reno High in an elimination game. Wooster will play McQueen tonight at 6 at Reno High.