Friday afternoon pretty much seemed like old times for Carl Winter and Andrew James.
The 2002 Carson High School graduates were back on familiar turf at Ron McNutt Field -- Winter at shortstop and James at second base -- and they helped the Carson Cardinals to a 7-1 victory over the Christian Brothers Falcons from Sacramento.
James hit 2-for-4 and scored a pair of runs, Winter went 1-for-3 with a double and the Cardinals received solid performances from their cast of younger Carson High players to win the nine-inning contest.
Wes Osmer, who just completed his sophomore year at Carson High, pitched five innings of one-hit ball to earn credit for the win and freshman Logan Parsley hit 2-for-4 with an RBI double as the Cardinals improved their season record to 5-4.
This was the first game back on McNutt Field for Winter, now at Modesto Junior College, and for James, now at Cal Lutheran University.
"Andrew and I were talking about that. It felt like forever since we'd played out here," Winter said. "It was different (than high school), but yes, it was fun to come back and play."
Winter sat out this spring as a medical redshirt after he went down with a knee injury in the preseason that required two surgeries. This was only his third game back since the second surgery in mid-May.
"I haven't played competitively in eight months," Winter said. "I'm seeing the ball good, but I still have a ways to go. It's just going to take time to come all the way back."
James only saw limited time as a freshman at Cal Lutheran this spring. He had a total of seven at-bats, but is hopeful of his chances to crack the lineup next year.
"We're losing something like eight seniors and one of them is the guy who played ahead of me, so I think I've got a really good shot," James said. "I'm just going to be working my butt off this summer, I'll come out every day taking ground balls and taking some hacks."
Playing for the Cardinals is the perfect opportunity to do that. At the same time, this isn't a bad 18-and-under team.
"All of these guys are very solid for as young as they are," James said. "Logan is 14 and he had a couple of hits today. Wes threw very well, he's a left-hander who works away. And then Danny (Rotter) came in and did his job; he threw well and got some ground balls."
Osmer allowed just one hit, Bo Bonomi's double down the left field line with one out in the fifth, to go with seven strikeouts and two walks. The Cardinals led 6-0 when he left.
Rotter worked three innings, allowed one unearned run in the seventh inning, and Ryan Henry retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the game.
James singled and scored on a two-out passed ball to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead in the first inning. He singled up the middle to open the third and scored on Murph Gardner's ground out to make it 2-0 in the third. Royal Good, another freshman, walked and scored when Parsley doubled off the left field fence in the fourth. Winter doubled with one out in the fifth and scored on Mike Handley's three-run homer.
James was robbed of an extra base hit to lead off the fifth when Christian Brothers left fielder Ryan Magill made a diving over-the-shoulder catch of a shot into the gap. Magill earned all-league honors this spring as a junior for Christian Brothers, a team that won 21 games and advanced to Sac-Joaquin Section Division II quarterfinals.
The Cardinals finished with eight hits. Christian Brothers had four hits, led by a 2-for-4 performance from Curtis Raulinaitis.
Notes ... The game was also a reunion of sorts for Cardinals coach Steve Cook and Falcons coach Damon Summers, who were teammates and coached summer ball together at Cerro Coso College in Ridgecrest, Calif. ... The Falcons play Bishop Manogue at 4 p.m. today at Carson High. The Cardinals were originally scheduled to play, but the game came in conflict with Carson High's graduation ceremonies today.