It's just the kind of opening that the Carson High baseball team could have hoped for.
The Senators were challenged and it was a chance to see how their young players would respond. Carson had several of its newcomers respond to the challenge, including Matt Rutledge, David Eller, Paul Cagle and Stephen Sawyers in a 5-1 win over Lassen, Calif., on Thursday in the CHS Preseason Tournament at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson was coming off a 21-5 win over Truckee on Thursday morning, so the Senators are off to a 2-0 start heading into today's 7 p.m. game against South Tahoe at Ron McNutt Field.
"We came out against a very good Lassen baseball team," Carson coach Steve Cook said. "We had a little bit of adversity and showed a lot of character. I though the young kids did a very good job."
Carson's Rob Valerius and Lassen's Blake Nahlan were locked in a pitchers duel until the Senators were able to break through against Nahlan for two runs each in the fourth and fifth innings.
"Rob Valerius did a great job on the hill," Cook said. "He gave us a chance to win. We preach that."
Lassen took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Steven Lively's RBI single. Valerius, who struck out six through 4.1 innings, escaped further damage when he got two strikeouts with runners and second and third and one out.
Carson tied it in the bottom of the second when Fagan singled and Bryt Lewis walked. Fagan stole third and then Lewis and Fagan pulled off a double steal with Fagan scoring to tie it 1-1.
The Senators took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on Eller's two-run single. With one out in the fifth, Valerius was removed after walking two batters. "He struggled a little bit with his command," Cook said.
Rutledge came on and pitched 1.2 scoreless innings. He received defensive help in the fifth on a single to Sawyers in left field. Sawyers threw out the runner trying to advance from first to third for the third out and it was ruled the runner was tagged out at third before the runner from second scored.
Carson got some breathing room in the fifth when Fagan doubled, Cagle walked and both scored on Rutledge's double to make it 5-1. Cagle, who went 4-for-4 with 7 RBI against Truckee, also doubled as did Kyle Stone. Fagan had two hits.
CARSON 21, TRUCKEE 5
Truckee took a 1-0 lead in the first off of Carson starting pitcher Sawyers when Trever Allen walked, moved to second on Kevin Decker's sacrifice bunt and scored on Andrew Mazzini's single.
But Carson sent 17 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first, taking advantage of seven walks and seven hits to take an 11-1 lead. Joe Skates led off with a walk and went all the way to third on Markus Adams' sacrifice bunt. When the throw to third got away, Skates scored on the play.
David Leid walked, Fagan singled and Cagle followed with a two-run double. Lewis then belted a two-run home run to straightaway center field.
Valerius, Kyle Mandoki, Skates and Adams all walked to force in a run. Leid hit an RBI single, Fagan followed with a two-run single, Cagle singled, Lewis had an RBI single and Valerius walked to force in a run to make it 11-1.
Truckee rallied for three runs in the second when Michael Taylor and Pablo Esquivel singled and Clayton McDonald walked to load the bases. Allen followed with a two-run single and Decker and Kevin Salberg walked to force in a run to make it 11-4. But with the bases still loaded and one out, Sawyers got a strikeout and a fielder's choice to escape any further damage.
In the bottom of the second, Nick Smallman walked, Skates singled and Smallman scored on a wild pitch. Leid walked and Fagan singled before Cagle hit a two-run double, Lewis and Valerius each hit an RBI double and Mandoki hit an RBI single to give Carson a 17-4 lead.
In the third, Taylor singled, Esquivel walked and Allen followed with an RBI single for Truckee to make it 17-5. In the bottom of the third, Adams singled, Cody Bone was hit by a pitch, Stone walked and Cagle cleared the bases with a three-run double to give the Senators a 20-5 lead. Lewis then singled and Valerius hit an RBI single to make it 21-5.
Allen and Taylor each had two hits and Justin Vosburg added a hit for the Wolverines. Lewis was 4-for-4, Fagan had three hits and Valerius went 2-for-2 as Carson banged out 17 hits. Eller allowed one run over two innings while striking out three for the Senators. "Bryt Lewis hit the ball very well," Cook said.
Notes: Skates' leg tightened up against Lassen and he was taken out as a precaution. "We need to make sure he'll be ready to go for us all year," Cook said... Carson played without Brooks Greenlee, who's serving a two-week suspension for violating a team rule.