If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the Carson Senators baseball team picked the perfect evening to avenge its 18-9 defeat to the McQueen Lancers on March 14.
Behind the left arm of starter Stephen Sawyers and some lively bats, the Senators kept the Lancers offense quiet early and took a commanding lead on the way to taking a 7-4 victory in 32-degree weather Tuesday at Ron McNutt Field.
Sawyers, a junior, pitched five scoreless innings and allowed two hits, two walks and struck out two as Carson built a 7-0 lead. Kyle Stone and Paul Cagle each pitched an inning of relief as the Senators improved to 11-3 overall (they remain 3-0 in the Sierra League) with a win over the High Desert League's Lancers.
With the loss, McQueen fell to 9-5.
"Steve has been throwing the ball very well for us this year," Carson coach Steve Cook said of Sawyers, who improved to 2-0 on the season. "Every time he's gone out there, he's done a good job for us. We have total confidence in him to give us a quality start.
"McQueen has a pretty potent offense to allow only two knocks. He kept them off balance. He threw first-pitch strikes."
Designated hitter Tony Fagan (1-for-2, 2 RBI, 2 runs scored) put Carson on the board first, drilling a second-inning offering by McQueen starter Chris Stocker over the center-field fence.
With two out in the bottom of the fourth, Carson managed to add another pair of runs to take a 3-0 lead. After right fielder Nick Smallman (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 run) singled and stole second, left fielder Matt Rutledge (1-for-3, 2 RBI, 1 run) belted a single to right.
McQueen right fielder Josh McCarthy fired a bullet to the plate, but the hustling Smallman slid in and brushed the plate with his hand to avoid the tag.
Catcher Cody Bone followed with a single and Rutledge came home after McCarthy overthrew third baseman Luke Feiler from right field.
Stocker went four innings, allowing five hits and three runs (two earned), walking one and striking out one. He was relieved by Andrew Gustin, who entered in the bottom of the fifth.
"Last time we played them it was an offensive game for sure," Cook said of the teams' first meeting in the Manogue Tournament. "The first part of this game it was the Small Ball World Series. Everyone kept the ball in field. Their kids popped straight up."
Cook credited the frequent high winds for providing an assist in keeping some McQueen baseballs in the park.
"We were able to adjust to the conditions," Cook said. "We're used to the wind in Carson City."
Although they stayed in the yard as well, the Senators sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth, adding four runs to give Carson all the scoring it would ultimately need.
McQueen had one of its three errors in the fifth and Gustin loaded the bases with no outs. Cagle's squeeze bunt scored Adams to make it 4-0 with one out.
Gustin walked Fagan, but Smallman followed with an RBI-double to give the Senators a 6-0 lead and advance Fagan to third. Carson rounded out its scoring when a Rutledge grounder to third scored Fagan.
Ethan Wilson pitched two scoreless innings for McQueen, allowing one hit.
"I was pretty happy with the way we played defense today," Cook said, although Carson committed three errors, including two in the sixth. "For five innings we played solid and got up 7-0. A breakdown was bound to happen, but we tightened it up when we needed to."
Kyle Stone entered the game in the top of the sixth and surrendered a single to McQueen shortstop Brian Barnett, who would later reach third on a Jared Murphy fielder's choice and an error.
Stone hit McCarthy with a pitch to load the bases and a Tyler York double cut the lead to 7-2 before Stone struck out Derek Martindale to end the inning.
"In the sixth inning, Stoner had some adversity as far as defense was concerned," Cook said. "We had a couple of errors and he had to pitch through that."
When he came in to start the seventh, Cagle experienced some choppy waters as well.
Eight Lancers came to the plate, with the first three loading the bases. A Kyle Stewart sacrifice fly scored Ryan Mirch to cut the lead to 7-3, but Cagle hung tough and struck out Murphy.
Cagle walked McCarthy to load the bases once again before surrendering an RBI-single to York to make it 7-4. Cagle extricated himself and his team from the sticky situation by striking out Martindale to end the game.
"Paul Cagle was the best guy on the hill for the jayvee team last year," Cook said of his sophomore. "He's a big kid. He has a great upside to him. He throws a ton. He battled in there. The bases were juiced in a tight game. It was a pressure situation. You like to see what kids do in pressure situations."
Cook said he's seen some improvement in his team over the last two weeks.
"As far as the club as a whole, we're starting to shape up pretty well," Cook said. "We've been working on some problems on the hill. Ever since the Manogue Tournament, practice has been pretty good. Overall we have a long ways to go, but we've made some strides since Manogue.
"You don't want to be the best team you can be now; you want to be the best team you can be in zone. At the end of the year, we'll be a lot better. We're staying on course now."
Carson returns to action on Thursday, when it hosts Sierra League rival Wooster at 3:30 p.m.