Alumni come out to honor McNutt

They came in all shapes and sizes. They played a little baseball, paid tribute to their former coach and rekindled old memories.

There was Matt Williams, the ex-Giant and Arizona Diamondbacks star, who got the biggest ovation when the Blue team was introduced. In the same dugout were left-handed pitcher Mike Shoaf, Carson's first-ever first round draft pick, right-handed pitcher Charley Kerfeld, who had a solid career with the Houston Astros, right-handed pitcher Nate Yeskie, the star of the '92 state championship team, and Ken McFadden from the 1979 state title team.

On the White squad, there was right-handed pitcher Bob Ayrault, who pitched three years in the big leagues, Don Crossley and Dave Hill. Members of Ron McNutt's first team back in 1976, right-handed pitcher Doug Butler, who pitched in the state championship and Junior College World Series in back-to-back seasons, and Matt Morgan, current CHS assistant coach, and holder of the runs scored and stolen base records.

The fact that the Blue squad (odd-year graduates), led by the hitting of Williams, John Gary and Matt James, beat the White squad (even-year grads) 13-9 as part of the Grand Slam Weekend honoring retiring baseball coach Ron McNutt was of little significance, but renewing acquaintances was.

"This was quite a thrill," McNutt said. "I had a great time. A lot of these guys I haven't seen since they left Carson. It was good to see them."

Out of sight out of mind is how it works sometimes. Matt Kaylor said he hadn't seen Shoaf for a long time even though both live in Carson.

"A lot of us have been so out of touch," Kaylor said. "I hadn't seen Mike in probably 15 years. He was the best in high school. He had excellent control."

"This is the first time I've seen a lot of these people," said Shoaf, who works as a truck driver. "I probably don't know half of the people here. It was good to see the guys I played with."

Shoaf, who threw two scoreless innings, had four no-hitters in high school and was known for a great curveball. He played two years of Class A ball before being released by the Pirates.

"I went down to Bakersfield (after his release from the Pirates) to play for the Phillies, but my dad got sick and I came home" he said. "It was an experience playing here. It was a good program."

McNutt, who spent much of the day visiting with the alumni players in both dugouts, remembered Shoaf, who was always regarded as a tough competitor.

"He was an outstanding high school pitcher," McNutt said. "He had outstanding stuff which is why he got drafted (in the first round)."

"Shoaf had the stuff and Dan (Crossley) had the heater," said Hill, an outfielder on the '76 team.

Crossley was the Senators' No. 2 pitcher behind Shoaf in 1976 (12-8 team), and this was his first peek at the baseball field since he left CHS.

"All I can remember is that it was always cold or snowing," said Crossley, who went on to pitch at College of Idaho and Williamette University. "We had a pretty decent team, and Ron always made us competitive."

Hill said he didn't see a lot of action, but remembers getting a couple of hits in one of his last games at Carson.

After scoring a run Saturday, the winded Hill told McNutt "I've been waiting 29 years for that at-bat." McNutt just smiled and offered Hill some water, which the latter gladly accepted.

And then there was Williams, who looked like he could still play the game.

He pounded a homer off Scott Bibee in the first inning, and then lined a double to left field off Tim Priess of Feather River College, who seemed intent on challenging the ex-Giants star.

Williams after his first stint, spent probably the next 30 minutes in the stands signing autographs for the crowd of about 300.

Williams came back later in the game, and made one of the game's best defensive plays. Steve Cook, current CHS assistant, lashed a ball off Yeskie's glove. Williams charged the ball and fired a strike to first to retire Cook by a step.

And, until he made brief appearances at shortstop and pitcher, Kerfeld spent most of his time cracking jokes just like the old days.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281.

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