With one swing of the bat for the Carson High baseball team, David Leid changed the fortunes of the game - and maybe the season.
Leid's game-winning three-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning enabled the Senators to escape with an 8-7 win over South Tahoe on Thursday at Ron McNutt Field in Carson's Sierra League opener.
Carson (8-3, 1-0) had been reeling really for four games until Leid's at-bat was able to break a three-game losing streak. "We are very lucky right now to have this win," Carson coach Steve Cook said.
The Senators were trailing 7-5 when one of the league's top players, Stephen Yarrow, came into the game in the sixth inning to pitch the last two innings in an effort to pick up the save. Yarrow pitched a scoreless sixth, but had to face the heart of Carson's order in the seventh in No. 3 hitter Bryt Lewis, No. 4 Tony Fagan and No. 5 Paul Cagle. "That last inninng we knew we had 3-4-4 coming up," Cook said.
Carson received a break when Lewis reached on a two-base error. The Senators received another break when Fagan was able to beat out an infield single. After Cagle singled, Leid stepped to the plate.
Leid received a heavy dose of breaking pitches until Leid was able to go with the pitch on a 2-2 fastball on the outside corner. Leid drove it off the right centerfield fence and Cagle got an outstanding break on the play as he was able to score all the way from first with the winning run. Leid was officially credited with a three-run double.
"He wasn't throwing a lot of hard stuff," said Cook about Yarrow. But about the fastball, Cook said, "David pounded it.
"Cagle had a good read on it, thank goodness. That's a pretty sweet way to end the game."
"It took long enough," said Leid about finally receiving a fastball. "I thought he was going to go with the curveball the whole time.
"Either he screwed up or I got lucky and saw the fastball. As a team it's quite a confidence boost to know we can come back. We showed a lot of character."
Leid said the win should also give Carson momentum heading into Saturday's doubleheader with the Vikings at Ron McNutt Field, beginning at 10 a.m. "I believe this is going to help us mesh going into Saturday," Leid said.
Carson was able to come back to win thanks to winning pitcher Matt Rutledge, who retired all six batters he faced over the last two innings, including freezing Yarrow with a 3-2 fastball at the knees on the inside corner to end the sixth. "He threw fantastic," Cook said.
The Senators were almost singlehandedly beaten by the Vikings' David Schue, who pitched five effective innings and hit two home runs, including a grand slam in the fourth that gave Tahoe a 6-2 lead.
Carson took a 2-0 lead in the second on Nick Smallman's two-run homer. Schue cut the lead to 2-1 in the third when he hit a solo shot.
Senator starting pitcher Kyle Mandoki ran into trouble in the fourth after a walk, an infield single and a hit batsman loaded the bases with no outs. After running the count to 3-2, Mandoki got a strikeout and then after running the count to 3-1, got a popup.
But then Jason Winslow hit an RBI single and Schue followed with his grand slam to make it 6-2. Mandoki ended up allowing seven runs over five innings.
"We felt like we were in control of the game until the fourth inning," Cook said. "Kyle threw pretty well until the fourth inning. He got a couple of pitches up."
Carson cut the lead 6-4 in the bottom of the fourth when Leid singled and scored on Rob Valerius' double off the centerfield fence. Valerius came around to score on two groundouts.
South Tahoe took a 7-4 lead in the fifth when Ryan Woods perfectly executed a squeeze bunt. The Senators cut the lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the fifth when Fagan singled and eventually scored on an error.
Leid had three hits, Lewis doubled and tripled, Joe Skates doubled and Smallman, Fagan and Cagle all had two hits for Carson.
"For seven innings I think we could have had a better effort overall," Cook said. " We have the ability to come back.
"We grinded it out. We're turing into dirtbags which is what I like to see. We never quit."