A young team that's had a great deal of success needs a reality check every once in a while. That's what happened to the Carson High baseball team on Tuesday at Ron McNutt Field.
The Senators received their first measuring stick on where they stand in the Northern 4A and the initial barometer didn't look good as Carson lost to McQueen 19-7. Carson came into Tuesday's game at 17-2, but hadn't faced the toughest of schedules.
Now that the Senators see where they stand, Tuesday's game may have been a blessing in disguise. Especially with a tough stretch coming up that includes nine league games against Wooster, Reno High and Douglas.
"I don't see it as being the end of the world," said Carson coach Steve Cook about Tuesday's loss. "I think we've been buying into or record a little bit. It's definitely a wake-up call."
Still, Cook didn't like the way his team approached Tuesday's game. "We've got to play for respect every game," he said. "We had a couple of individual efforts that we're very good.
"We just didn't get it done. That's a pretty good ball club over there. Our demeanor wasn't very good."
Carson was done in by Nick Nistler, who hit three two-run home runs - two legitimate shots - and a wind blown flyball that carried over the right field fence. Nistler finished with four hits and also pitched four innings for the win.
Nistler's two-run homer off of Josh Caron gave McQueen a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Carson came back to tie the score 2-2 in the second. Brooks Greenlee walked, Sean Costella singled and a run eventually scored on an error. Royal Good's RBI single tied the score 2-2.
But Caron ran into trouble again in the third when Nistler sent a shot off the left centerfield scoreboard to give the Lancers a 4-2 lead. Caron was chased after McQueen scored two more unearned runs and was replaced by Kyle Mandoki.
Mandoki, though, ran into trouble in the fourth as McQueen took a 10-2 lead. Mandoki was replaced by Nick Smallman, who was Carson's most effective pitcher on the day.
Smallman came in and promptly hit a batter with his first pitch to force in a run and make it 11-2. But then with the bases loaded and no outs, Smallman induced a comebacker and began a 1-2-3 double play. He followed by retiring the next batter on a flyball to end the threat.
In the bottom of the fourth, Greenlee singled, Costella reached on a bunt single and stole second. Joe Skates followed with an RBI infield single and Good's RBI sacrifice fly made it 11-4.
Smallman pitched one more inning, the fifth, when he ran into bad luck. He gave up a bloop single and Nistler's wind-blown flyball that carried over the right field fence for a two-run homer that made it 13-4.
McQueen scored six runs in the sixth to take a 19-4 lead. Chris Ames came in to retire the last two batters to finally end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Tanchek led off with a double and Good followed with a two-run shot. Kevin Schlange walked, Logan Parsley singled and Murph Gardner followed with an RBI double to make it 19-7 before the game ended on the 10-run rule.
Parsley went 3-for-4 and Good, Gardner and Costella all had two hits. Carson returns to Sierra League action on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. game against South Tahoe at McNutt Field. The Senators will also host South Tahoe in a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
MCQUEEN 8, CARSON JVS 7
For the third straight game, the Carson junior varsity baseball team lost by an 8-7 score. David Leid had two doubles and a triple, Markus Adams had a hit and two runs, David Holloway doubled and Bryt Lewis added a hit for Carson.