Most seasons when you out-hit your opponent 9-3, not only do you expect to score more than three runs but you expect to rack up a victory.
This isn’t most seasons, and Carson High’s strange year took a downward turn again, as Damonte Ranch bounced back from a mercy rule loss on Tuesday to grab a 5-3 win Thursday afternoon in a 4A baseball game at Ron McNutt Field.
The loss dropped Carson to 8-10 in league play with two games left against Wooster (Saturday doubleheader) and two against Douglas (Wednesday and Thursday). The only good news is Douglas and Reed also lost, leaving the three schools tied in the standings.
Of Carson’s 10 losses, four have been by one run and two others have been by two runs. Lack of offense or mistakes on defense have been key ingredients in the close losses, and on Thursday it was a little of both.
Carson made four errors, including three throwing errors by catcher Trevor Edis, which led to Damonte’s first three runs. A baserunning mistake cost the Senators and short-circuited a rally in the third inning.
“We have to put this game behind us,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “We have a big doubleheader against a tough Wooster team on Saturday, and we need to play a lot better than we did today.
“We should have scored more than three runs today. You can’t give away two runs to start a game and expect to be successful. One (of Trevor’s throws) was a bad one. On one of them, there was miscommunication between our infielders. Trevor made the throw, but there was nobody there.”
Derek Schafer opened the game by walking Tommie Oskam with one out. Oskam stole second and took third when Edis’ throw sailed into the outfield. Zack Jensen walked and stole second. Edis’ throw went into the outfield, enabling Oskam to score. Jensen scored on Jerry Thomas’ sacrifice fly.
The Mustangs manufactured a run in the third when Ryan Riggle walked, stole second and took third when neither shortstop Jace Keema or second baseman Jared Barnard got over to second to take Edis’ throw. Michael Nicholas followed with a run-scoring single.
“We were able to manufacture a couple of runs by being aggressive on the bases,” Damonte coach Jon Polson said. “We did a good job pitching today.”
Carson finally broke through in the third, but the damage could have been much more.
Luke Myers singled with one out and Jesse Lopez walked. Bryce Moyle singled to load the bases. Keema walked, forcing in a run. This is where the game went south on Carson.
Abel Carter drove the ball to left field. Moyle, thinking the ball was going to drop, was almost standing on third base when Eric Bris made the grab. Bris was able to double up Moyle, ending what could have been a big inning for the Senators.
“The left fielder made a good play,” Manoukian said. “I thought Bryce had turned and gotten a read on the ball. We had a chance to get back in the game and it didn’t happen. It changed the momentum of the game.”
“Abel has squared up everything he had hit against us,” Polson said. “Our guy made a great play. If the ball drops, two runs score. It was a game changer. Getting that double play in the seventh was big, too.”
Damonte made it 4-1 in the fifth when Nicholas reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Oskam.
Myers, who went 2-for-2, walked to start the fifth. Tyler Hopper relieved Andrew Herschbach and retired three of the next four hitters.
Damonte threatened in the sixth putting two runners on, both on hit batsmen. Reliever Colby Zemp induced Nate Guidara to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Carson cut the deficit to 4-3 in the sixth, and the partisan crowd was rooting for another comeback like the one the Senators fashioned against Manogue.
Barnard doubled home Landon Truesdale, and after Hopper set down two straight hitters, Myers singled to right to score Barnard. Jesse Lopez grounded out to end the inning.
Damonte added an insurance run in the seventh to make it 5-3. Moyle was plunked to start the seventh, but was wiped out when Keema hit into a double play. Carter grounded out to end the game.
NOTES: Truesdale, Moyle and Myers had two hits each … Barnard and Moyle will start Saturday against Wooster, and it’s safe to stay Carson needs at least a split.