Now, for the good news. The Carson High baseball team began its season with an 11-run first-inning rally against Sparks Thursday night.
There was just one problem. The Senators were so good, they only got as far as the third inning before their 11-1 victory was called due to the 10-run rule during the Carson Pre-Season Tournament at Ron McNutt Field.
Owen Brolsma hit a three-run homer and Eric Melendez drove in two runs during Carson's big first inning and Mike Handley pitched three solid innings to make the lead stand before a crowd of about 150 that came to watch on a breezy night.
Brolsma said the Senators were ready to play ball.
"It was exciting to play, especially with this team," Brolsma said. "We probably have more chemistry with this team than we've had in a few years."
Brolsma, a third-year varsity veteran who has signed with the University of Nevada, was hit by a pitch his first time up then came up later in the inning and cranked his home run over the 360-foot Capitol Chiropractic sign in right-center field to give Carson an 11-1 lead.
"I hit one in the zone tournament last year (in Carson's season-ending 8-6 loss to Reed), hopefully I can do it more often this year," said Brolsma, who has bulked up his 6-foot-2 frame to 200 pounds. "I was early on the first pitch, so I just told myself to wait on it."
Willie Bowman and Jon Teeter delivered RBI singles and Neil Holmes walked one run home. Bowman and Holmes are both third-year varsity players for Carson and Teeter is a returning starter.
The Senators were further aided by Melendez, who primarily played JV ball last year. The third baseman doubled into the gap in right-center to drive in one run and later hit a sacrifice fly to bring another home.
"There's a lot of young talent on this team," Brolsma said. "We're expecting some big things from some of our young guys."
Handley was solid in his varsity debut, as the junior right-hander allowed one unearned run in the three innings he pitched. Handley struck out five, the last on a 2-2 pitch called on the inside corner to end the game, and he walked two. Both of the walks were thrown out by Brolsma trying to steal second base.
"This was my first time throwing on the varsity mound. This has always been my goal, so I was a little nervous," Handley said. "Once I got into my mode, I started to throw strikes and I wasn't nervous anymore."
Add Handley to a staff of experienced pitchers.
"We knew Mike was capable of throwing like this," coach Ron McNutt said. "We watched him on the junior varsity last year and he did a good job. Coming up here (to varsity), it's still a matter of throwing strikes and getting guys out and I thought he did a good job of that tonight."
Danny Rotter will pitch today at 9 a.m. when the Senators face White Pine and Jake Rasner will pitch the 7 p.m. game against Mt. Tamalpais from the Bay area. Ryan Henry and Scott DeFriez are the scheduled starters for Saturday when the Senators play Fernley at 5 and Tahoe-Truckee at 7.
If there was a downside on opening night, it was that the game was called in the middle of the third inning. Games in the tournament are limited to five innings, 90 minutes or on the 10-run rule after three innings.
"On one hand it was good to score all those runs in the first inning because it shows we're putting the ball in play. On the other hand, you want your kids to play some innings. But that happens this time of year when you have time limits and 10-run rules."
FERNLEY 7, SOUTH TAHOE 6
Casey Bisard hit a run-scoring single in the bottom of the fifth inning to cap a two-run rally that lifted the 3A Vaqueros to victory in their opener. South Tahoe also defeated Lassen on Thursday.
TAMALPAIS 7, DAYTON 6
The Dust Devils scored six runs in the top of the first inning, but were unable to hang on as the Tamalpais Red Tail Hawks rallied back to score four runs in the bottom of the first and three times in the fourth. Casey Skog started on the mound for Dayton and also hit 3-for-3 with two runs scored.