RENO - Carson American won its third straight pool play game Thursday night and earned a spot in the single-elimination phase of the District 1 11-12 all-star tournament.
Austin Pacheco threw five solid innings, allowing three hits and striking out nine, and Mark McCraw hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to lead Carson American to an easy 13-2 win over North Valleys.
Washoe Valley concluded pool play at 4-0 after an 8-1 win over South Tahoe. Carson is 3-0, and concludes pool play tonight. If they finish tied, Washoe would undoubtedly be the top seed out of that pool because the first tie-breaker after head-to-head play is runs allowed. Thus far, Carson has allowed 11 and Washoe Valley has allowed two.
Finishing second is fine with Carson coach Jim Blueberg Jr. By taking second, Carson and Washoe Valley would be sent to different brackets, and would only meet in the finals, according to Blueberg.
"The kids were talking about if they won tonight they would have more wins than any (Carson) team this year," Blueberg said. "This is the same team that took third when they were 10-year-olds with a couple of new players thrown in."
One of those new kids is McCraw, who has two homers in three games. He doubled in the two-run third and homered in the eight-run sixth when North Valleys went through a defensive meltdown with six errors in the inning.
Blueberg was especially impressed with Pacheco's effort. Pacheco didn't allow a run until the fifth when Schylar Rullman's infield single drove in Tyler Dresbach. Blueberg used Nick Domitrovich and Austin Law on the hill in the sixth. Law yielded a homer to Louden Stroffe.
"We were up 13-1," Blueberg said when asked why he took out Pacheco. "I didn't want to see him get hurt. I need him for the (single-elimination) playoffs; for the rest of the playoffs."
Carson only got one ball out of the infield in the first three innings, but still had a 4-0 lead.
After infield hits by Colby Blueberg and Domitrovich, North Valleys yielded a run on a passed ball and another came home on an error.
In the third, Brock Pradere led of with a bunt single. Blueberg followed with a bunt, which was thrown into center field, putting runners on second and third. Domitrovich squeezed home the first run, and Blueberg also scored on a throwing error after the out.
"I was going to bunt until they showed me they could defend it," Blueberg said. "They never did. The first four runs were on bunts and miscues. Small ball came through."
Carson finished with 12 hits, two each by McCraw, Pradere and Adam Whitt.
SPARKS NATIONAL 13, CARSON NATIONAL 2
Carson dropped to 1-2 in pool play, and most likely will have to knock off Reno National tonight to advance to the single-elimination phase of the tournament which starts Saturday.
The game was stopped after five innings because of the 10-run rule.
The Nationals managed just five hits off three Sparks National pitchers. Two of those came off the bats of Chance Quilling and Clay Holton. Shea Bondi got the other Carson hit.
This one was over quick. Sparks National scored three in the first and added six in the second for an early 9-0 lead.
All the damage in the first came after Holton retired the first two hitters. A dropped fly ball kept the inning alive, and Tanner Denham hammered a two-run homer. Brycen Erdody followed with another homer to make it 3-0.
Carson mounted a good threat in the first, but left the bases jammed.
Sparks put the game away on run-scoring singles by A.J. Shugar and Joe Christ plus a grand slam by Erdody to make it 9-0.
Sparks added one in the third to make it 10-0, but Carson answered with a run of its own when Holton's one-out single drove home Quilling.
Sparks added three more runs in the fifth to make it 13-1, two of those coming on Jason Richmond's homer.
Carson scored one in the bottom of the fifth when Bondi singled home a run. However, the game ended on the same play when Bondi was cut down at second trying to take an extra base.