SPARKS — Whether it’s summer ball or a high school game, Cody Azevedo has been a fixture at the No. 9 spot in the order for the Carson Senators for the last year.
And Tuesday afternoon, Azevedo enjoyed his best game in recent memory.
Azevedo drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the top of the sixth, that snapped a 3-all tie and sparked the Senators to an 8-5 win over Reed at Lee Mitchell Field.
The win earned Carson a split in the series and upped the Senators’ league record to 3-1 going into Thursday’s series opener versus McQueen at 6 p.m. at Ron McNutt Field.
Most hitters would rather not hit ninth, but Azevedo doesn’t seem to mind.
“You get to see a lot of fastballs, so that’s pretty nice,” he said after Carson rallied from a 3-1 deficit.
The two-run single was his only hit of the game, but it was a ball that didn’t leave the infield which was just as important.
Carson trailed 3-1 after four innings, but the CHS offense suddenly came alive.
Winning pitcher Kyle Krebs helped his own cause with a double to left-centerfield. He moved to third when Conner Pradere beat out a bunt and scored when Azevedo hit a groundball to second base.
Pradere scored on Josiah Pongasi’s two-out hit, tying the game at 3.
“I was just trying to hit the ball to the right side,” Azevedo said. “Our offense started off slow. We had to get into a rhythm. We just had to win the fifth, sixth and seventh inning.”
“Cody had a big two-out single,” CHS coach Bryan Manoukian said.
“He’s doing a good job of turning over the order for us, and he’s hitting ninth for that reason.
“We (as a team) kept grinding. Even when we were making outs, we had some good at-bats. We had good approaches at the plate the entire game.”
Carson won the last three innings in impressive fashion, outscoring the Raiders 7-2.
Azevedo’s sixth-inning single scored Terek Been and Jace Keema, both of whom singled. Carson tacked on three insurance runs off reliever Austin Johnson in the top of the seventh, stretching the lead to 8-3.
Pongasi walked and moved to second on a nicely placed sacrifice bunt by Joe Nelson. Seamus Burns was hit by a pitch, and Been and Keema followed with run-scoring singles to make it 7-3. After John Holton popped out, Pradere lined one off Johnson’s leg for an infield single to score Been with Carson’s last run of the game.
The 11-hit attack more than made up for Carson’s lack of hitting in Saturday’s 8-3 loss to the Raiders, and it made Krebs the winning pitcher. Holton picked up the save with 1 2/3 innings of relief.
Krebs fanned seven and walked three. He worked out of jams in the first and fourth innings.
“I think it was a Jekyll and Hyde performance,” Manoukian said. “For 2 1/2 innings, I didn’t think he threw that well, but he settled down. He needs to pitch and not throw.”
“The first three innings were pretty bad,” Krebs admitted. “It’s been like that this year.”
Krebs gave up a solo homer to Jon Pinto in the first, tying the score at 1. Reed tried to run the cutthroat play, but botched it big time. Carson picked Louis Henry off first, and then Pradere threw out Brandon Kozuth at home to end the inning. The Raiders took a 3-1 lead in the second when Krebs walked two batters, hit another and gave up a single to Alec Leighton. In the fourth, Nelson made a shoestring grab of Vincent Fillipone’s line drive, and then Krebs retired Leighton on a groundball to first base.
The junior right-hander turned things around, retiring nine of the next 11 hitters, and his teammates rewarded that effort by finally getting some hits. Krebs got some big strikes with his breaking ball and change-up, especially early in the count.
“Coach (Cody) Farnworth likes to pitch backwards,” Krebs said. “I like that. I’ve been doing that (throwing curves and change-ups when behind in the count) ever since Little League.”
Krebs left with runners on first and third and one out. Holton came on to retire the next two hitters to end the inning.
Holton gave up a two-run homer to Kozuth in the bottom of the seventh to make it 8-5, but he ended the game with consecutive strikeouts.
NOTES: Brandon Allen didn’t bat for the first time during league play ... Bryce Moyle will start Thursday against McQueen ... Seven of the nine starters had at least one hit in the contest...This is the second time the Senators have beaten Reed’s Jackson Gilmore. They beat him 10-2 during the Mike Bearman Memorial Tournament.