Carson High got offensive help from the expected and unexpected Thursday afternoon against Damonte Ranch.
The expected help came from red-hot Paul Cagle III, who went 4-for-4, including a two-run homer. The unexpected boost came from Tommy Purcell, who went 2-for-3, including a two-run triple that keyed Carson's three-run third inning and stood up as the game-winning hit.
The efforts of Cagle and Purcell plus the 4-hit pitching of Matt Rutledge led the first-place Senators to a 6-1 win over Damonte Ranch at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson improved to 6-1 in Sierra League play. Carson and Damonte battle Saturday in an 11 a.m. doubleheader at Damonte Ranch.
After leaving five runners on in the first two innings of a scoreless game, Cagle and Purcell came up with key contributions in the third.
Cagle had an impressive 10-pitch at-bat before singling. He moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Dustin Buttner's single up the middle. Cody Barr hit into a double play, but Kyle Stone and Rutledge kept the inning alive with a hit batsman and a double, respectively. Purcell followed with a slicing line drive to right; Damonte right fielder Spencer Moss went for the diving catch, but the ball got by him for a two-run triple to make it 3-0.
Purcell's contributions have been steady, and at times impressive, considering he never knows when he comes to the game if he'll get any action that day.
"I'm the new guy," Purcell said. "I sat out last year. I'll take what I can get. I'm not going to play every game and I know that.
"I believe so (not playing last year put him behind). I played for the Bighorns last summer to get back into it. I've done all right this year. The other guys on the team have realy helped me."
Carson coach Cody Farnworth certainly has been pleased.
"He's swinging it well," Farnworth said. "He understands his role on the team."
Damonte Ranch scored its only run of the game in the fourth off Rutledge, who struggled with his control in the first two innings, but managed to wiggle out of jams. Rutledge threw 128 pitches, fanning seven and walking five.
"Early in the game I was trying to establish the fastball," Rutledge said. "When I was missing, we went to the curve early in the count. I'll go all day."
"The pitch count was up there, but he battles," Farnworth said. "He didn't have his best stuff. He taks good care of his arm."
Carson scored three more runs in the fourth off Damonte starter Ray Daniels.
Brett Valley walked, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Tommy Preston. Cagle followed with an opposite-field homer to right to make it 6-1.
Rutledge allowed only two hits over the last three innings. Damonte was unable to get a runner past second in that span.