Jason Alcasas was nervous when he took the mound for the Carson High School baseball team on Tuesday night. Understandable because the junior right-hander was looking at his first pitching assignment since he had surgery on his elbow last July.
As it turned out, there was no need to worry because Alcasas came through with a strong performance in which he pitched four solid innings, allowed one unearned run and picked up a win in the nonleague contest before a crowd of about 200 at Ron McNutt Field.
Mike Handley singled home the go-ahead run in the fourth inning and Owen Brolsma continued his power surge with a two-run homer in the fifth to ignite Carson (18-5, 10-2 Sierra League). Brolsma has now homered in three straight games and five of the last six.
The best news for Carson may have been the pitching performance of Alcasas, who allowed three hits over four innings. He gave up one run in the fourth inning after a pair of errors with two outs.
"I thought Jason did an outstanding job for his first outing of the year," McNutt said. "We've brought him back slowly after that surgery, so it was nice to see him out there showing what he can do. He showed great composure, his curveball was working and we already knew his fastball was good."
Alcasas developed trouble with his elbow last summer when he was pitching during the Babe Ruth postseason. There was no sign of pain Tuesday night, which obviously came as quite a relief.
"I'm feeling all right now, but I'm sure I'll pay for it tomorrow," Alcasas said. "It just feels good, after 9Y months, knowing that I can throw and knowing the surgery worked. I was real nervous; I had no idea how I was going to do because I haven't even thrown many bullpens. I didn't know if I was going to come out and do this or if I was going to blow the game, so it felt good to be able to come out here and contribute to the team."
Scott DeFriez came on to pitch the last three innings and earned credit for a save. DeFriez allowed one run on one hit in the sixth inning, he struck out four and walked two.
Carson took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with the aid of three walks and one hit batsman. Neil Holmes drew a bases loaded walk to bring the run home.
The Senators broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth when designated hitter Jesse Rasner was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Rasner advanced on a walk and took third on Ryan Henry's ground out to second. After another ground ball out, Rasner scored on Handley's line drive single to left.
In the fifth, Eric Melendez drew a leadoff walk and then Brolsma hit a drive over the NAPA Auto Parts sign in right-center field.
"He's starting to hit the ball a little bit," coach McNutt said of Brolsma. "He's coming on now, but this is no surprise. I've seen him hit some long ones this year. If Owen gets hold of one, he's a very strong individual.
The Senators finished the night with five hits as a team, but perhaps more significantly, they had no strikeouts on the night.
Carson's last run came after Brolsma's home run. Willie Bowman and Holmes reached base on infield hits, both runners advanced on Rasner's sacrifice bunt and Bowman scored on Henry's ground out. For Henry, who broke a finger late during basketball season, it marked the first time this season he has been inserted into the lineup as a hitter.
"We're swinging our bats better overall, but we still need to hit a little bit better," said McNutt, whose Senators host North Valleys in a league game at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Reed (11-7) was led offensively by junior third baseman Ryan Hill, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI single in the sixth.