Now that senior left-hander Wes Osmer has been lost for the season with an elbow injury, pitching depth has suddenly taken on new importance for the Carson High baseball team. And coach Steve Cook certainly wasn't disappointed by what he saw on Tuesday afternoon when Josh Caron and Joe Skates combined to pitch two-hit ball over five innings as the Senators rang up an 11-1 non-conference victory at home against Whittell.
Carson (14-2 overall, 3-0 Sierra League) scored nine runs in the first inning and cruised to the win against Whittell (7-4, 2-0 Northern 2A division).
The good news for the Senators came from the mound. Caron gave up two hits to start the first inning, but then settled down and retired 12 straight batters before he left in the fifth, then Skates struck out the side in his one inning of work at Ron McNutt Field.
With a three-game league series against North Valleys coming up, the pitching performances came as good news, according to Cook.
"Wes was our No. 1, so having him go down is big," Cook said. "Our guys have responded well so far and that's important when it comes to league. We'll find out what we're made of shortly when we play the big dogs."
"It's very imperative that our starters work deep into games and that our relievers can come in and get the job done," Cook said.
Osmer, who has signed to play at Western Nevada College next year, sustained hyperextended his elbow in Carson's preseason tournament and last pitched on March 21, when he worked three innings in a 10-0 win over Fallon. Michael Teixeira, Jack Jacquet and sophomore Kyle Mandoki comprise Carson's starting rotation right now, but Caron and Skates have shown they are very capable with solid performances last week at the West Coast Classic in San Jose and again on Tuesday. Caron also pitched two scoreless innings to get a win at Bishop, Calif., in his first appearance of the season on March 25.
"Josh has been throwing well for us, and today was no different," Cook said. "Joe has looked good, too. He started our last game in San Jose and gave us four quality innings (in a 6-4 win over Vacaville, Calif.)."
Whittell took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Ryan Gosh reached on an infield hit, advanced to third on Jeff Young's double into the right-center field gap and scored on Brian Peate's sacrifice fly to center.
Carson answered in the bottom half of the inning with nine runs on five hits, aided by three Whittell errors, two walks and one hit batsman. Royal Good reached on an error to lead off, Kevin Schlange walked and both scored on Logan Parsley's triple to center field. Murph Gardner was hit by a pitch, Brooks Greenlee singled, Skates had an infield hit, Sean Costella walked to drive one run home, Alex Tanchek drove another home on a sacrifice fly and Good hit a two-run single. Parsley made it 9-1 with his run-scoring single to left - making him 2-for-2 with three RBIs for the inning.
"I think Whittell is a better team than they showed today," Cook said. "Coach (Don) Amaral does a good job."
After the first inning, the Warriors from Zephyr Cove played more like the team that swept a double header Battle Mountain Saturday in a rematch of last year's Northern 2A championship game.
"We have a good ball club, we just didn't show it today," Amaral said. "We just didn't come off the bus ready to play."
Chris Shapiro was effective after he came on to pitch in relief of Peate in the second inning. The senior right-hander allowed two runs on five hits over the final four innings.
"He's our ace, he does a good job for us, and we wanted to get him 35 to 40 pitches today," Amaral said of Shapiro, who pitched a four-hitter to beat Battle Mountain 13-2 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader.
Carson closed out the game with one run in the fifth. T.J. Hein led off with a single, Gardner and Nick Smallman walked to load the bases and Skates singled down the right field line to end it on the 10-run rule.
Carson visits North Valleys for a single game on Thursday, then the two teams meet again on Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Ron McNutt Field.
Whittell returns to action Thursday for a game against North Tahoe, then makes a long trip east on Saturday for a doubleheader against Southern 2A foe White Pine in Ely.
"That will be a good test for us," said Amaral, whose Warriors are now alone in first-place in the Northern 2A. "It will give us a gauge to see how we stack up at the 2A level."
Notes: Looking at stats compiled from the early part of the season, Carson has shown an ability to generate offense from the top four spots in the order. Good is hitting .483 from the leadoff spot, and leads the team in runs scored (19) and stolen bases (10); Schlange is hitting .469 with 18 runs scored and a team-high 19 RBIs; Parsley is hitting .480 and Gardner .625 with 16 RBIs. "We put pressure on other team's defenses," Cook said. "We get people on and we try to move them along - hit and run, steal, any way we can." Good showed his speed on an RBI single in the second, a grounder to first base in which he outran the coverage to the bag.
n Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call 881-1220.