Don't expect the Carson High baseball team to hit a lot of home runs this season. Instead, the Senators will be banking on small ball and smart ball to achieve success.
"That's what we're going to hang our hat on," first-year head coach Steve Cook said. "We want to get 'em on, get 'em over and get 'em in. We want to do the little things that win ball games and let the other team make the mistakes."
So far, so good. The Senators did a lot of little things right on Thursday with a pair of wins on the first day of their own Carson Preseason Tournament.
Logan Parsley did hit a three-run home run to put Carson on track to a 10-2 victory against North Tahoe in the morning tournament opener. Later in the evening, however, the Senators made maximum use of just four hits and a strong performance on the mound by Wes Osmer to beat Tahoe-Truckee 6-2 at Ron McNutt Field.
After giving up two runs on a two-out hit in the second inning, Osmer finished strong to pick up the win for Carson. The senior left-hander pitched four innings, allowed three hits, struck out seven and walked two. Osmer showed why he comes into the season regarded as the team's top starter by striking out the last five batters he faced.
"Wes got into a groove there at the end," Cook said. "He started to pitch like our No. 1, and that was good to see."
Royal Good also showed some of Carson's small ball capabilities against Truckee, as the junior center fielder had two infield hits, stole three bases and scored twice.
Good reached on a slow roller to the right side to lead off the game. He stole second and third, then scored when Parsley slapped a single past third base. Brooks Greenlee walked and eventually scored on a fielder's choice, a play in which Truckee third baseman Jimmy Williams reached up to stop a high chopper and step on the bag for the first out. Kevin Schlange walked and scored on a Murph Gardner ground out to put Carson on top 3-0.
The Wolverines cut the gap to 3-2 in the second inning on Scott Decker's soft liner past second base for a two-out, two-run single.
Truckee threatened again in the third when pitcher Ben Tonon drew a leadoff walk, but Parsley hustled to pick up a grounder past first base and flipped to Osmer for the first out. Osmer then struck out the next two batters swinging to retire the side.
Carson got the two runs back in the fourth. Designated hitter Adam Anderson led off with a double into the right-center field gap, then pinch-runner Sean Costella scored when Good pushed a bunt past the pitcher for another infield hit. Good stole second and scored on an errant pickoff throw to give Carson a 5-2 lead.
The Senators added one more run in the fifth as Tony Fagan reached on a base hit, advanced to third on Gardner's single to right and scored on a wild pitch.
Fagan retired three of the four batters he faced in the fifth to close out the game. He struck out two and walked one.
"I was happy to see our young kids come in and play well in their first varsity game," Cook said. "We had two sophomores, Joe Skates this morning and Tony Fagan tonight, come in and pitch well."
Overall, the opening day was a good one for Cook, who was in the dugout as head coach for the first time since replacing McNutt, who directed Carson's baseball program between 1976 and 2004.
"I did wake up at the 5 this morning," Cook said. "I was anxious more than anything. I was anxious to see the kids out on the field. They've been working hard in practice, it was time for them to get out there and show what they can do against somebody else.
"We're not where we want to be, by any means, but it was a good first day. We got to see a lot of kids play. We have the luxury of having a lot of kids who can play different positions, we're just trying to find the right fit now."
In an earlier game, Tamalpais (Mill Valley, Calif.) scored four runs in the third inning to defeat Truckee 7-3. Dante Rovero and Adrian Johnson both doubled as the Red Tail Hawks rallied to break a 3-3 tie in the third. Buck Claesson and John Hooper had doubles for Truckee.
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.
Field 1: Spring Creek-North Tahoe, 9 a.m.; Elko-Fallon, 11; Tamalpais-Sparks, 1 p.m.; South Tahoe-Sparks, 3; Damonte Ranch-Pershing County (Lovelock), 5; Carson-Lassen (Susanville, Calif.), 7.
Field 2: Tamalpais-Elko, 9 a.m.; Spring Creek-Truckee, 11; Pershing County-Lassen, 1; Dayton-Damonte Ranch, 3.