Mistakes doom Senators in loss to Mustangs
BY DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer
Winning the first game of a three-game series is key, especially when it's at your park.
The Carson Senators made a plethora of physical and mental errors, and dropped an 8-6 decision to Damonte Ranch Thursday night at Ron McNutt Field in a Sierra League game.
The loss dropped fourth-place Carson to 5-5 in league play and 14-10 overall, while Damonte stayed even with Douglas at 8-2 in league.
The teams continue the series Saturday with a 10 a.m. doubleheader at Damonte Ranch High School, and one has to wonder what kind of effect the home loss will have on the Senators.
"It will put a fire in our bellies," Carson coach Steve Cook said. "We'll be all right. They [the players] know what we're looking for. There was a ball in left field we misplayed, a ground ball at third that didn't get played and a couple of double plays we didn't make. We came up a little short. We didn't execute when we needed to, didn't get the key hit when we needed it."
There was also the case of the starting pitching. Starter Matt Rutledge walked eight and hit a batter, and three of those baserunners scored. Cook thought even though Rutledge threw a lot of pitches, he made some quality pitches and deserved a better fate.
Rutledge worked out of a no-out bases loaded jam in the first inning, but he wasn't so lucky in the second.
Two errors, one each by catcher Paul Cagle and third baseman Kyle Stone plus two walks, a hit batsman and a double by Roy Daniels led to four runs and a 4-1 Damonte lead.
Then came the third inning when Carson made a couple of baserunning gaffes and took itself out of a big inning.
Drew Good doubled and Brett Valley followed with a single. Cook sent Good to the plate and he was thrown out, the first out of the inning.
"I sent him," Cook said. "I thought he could score."
Valley moved to second and scored on a single by Markus Adams to make it 4-2. Moments later Adams was picked off first for the second out. Stone walked and stole second, but Daniels struck out Cagle to end the inning.
Rutledge, who had sailed through the third, appeared to have worked a scoreless fourth after retiring the first two batters he faced.
Damonte's Cody Stevens hit a fly ball to left which Tyler Hutchins lost in the twilight for a double. Devin Carter followed with a run-scoring bloop single to center and then Chad Schryer followed with a two-run homer to make it 7-2.
The Senators wasted a great scoring opportunity in the fourth when Cody Barr reached on an error and moved to third on a double by Rob Valerius. Daniels settled down quickly, retiring the next three hitters on a strikeout, pop to first and a roller to second.
Carson came back with four in the fifth to slice the lead to 7-6. Another baserunning mistake kept it from being a bigger outburst.
Valley reached on an error and scored on Adams' double to left. Stone followed with another two-bagger to make it 7-4. Cagle followed with a single, sending Stone to third. Barr grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Stone for a 7-5 game.
Valerius followed with another double to score Barr, slicing the deficit to 7-6. The relay throw into the infield was wild, but Valerius was gunned down trying to take third for the second out. Daniels retired the side without further damage.
Rutledge left in the sixth after the Mustangs loaded the bases with no outs. Tyler Smith came on and gave up a bloop single to right by Schryer before striking out the side.
Smith worked a 1-2-3 seventh, and was a huge bright spot for the Senators.
"Tyler threw well," Cook said. "He came in a tough jam and only gave up one hit."
As effective as Smith was, the Mustangs' Joey Webb was just as good.
The Mustangs' left-hander allowed just one baserunner in the sixth, as the Senators were unable to get the ball out of the infield.
Carson had a chance to tie the game in the seventh, but again came up short because of questionable baserunning.
Cagle started the inning with a single. Barr followed with a groundball to third. The relay throw to double up Barr got by the first baseman. Barr tried to reach second but was thrown out by the Damonte catcher, who was alertly backing up the play.
"That was a hustle play," Damonte coach Jon Polson said. "It's something you work on. It was a long throw and he put it on the money. It stopped their momentum. Joey [Webb] comes in and throws a lot of strikes, throws a lot of groundballs."
• Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281
Damonte 8, Carson 6
Damonte 040 301 0 - 8 10 3
Carson 101 040 0 - 6 10 3
Daniels, Webb (6) and Sexton; Rutledge, Smith (6) and Cagle. W - Danels. L - Rutledge. HR - Schryer. 3B - None. 2B - Daniels, Stevens, Bates, Valerius (2), Adams, Stone, Good.