Blueberg no-hitter propels Carson Blue Jays
Chase Blueberg plopped down on a chair in the dugout and said he was tired.
He looked a bit dazed.
It was understandable if he was both.
Blueberg, following a rocky first inning, set down 19 of the last 23 hitters he faced and struck out eight en route to his first no-hitter at any level as the Carson Blue Jays knocked off North Valleys, 4-1, in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday night at Ron McNutt Field.
The Blue Jays ended up with a sweep, as Casey Wolfe struck out five and pitched a 3-hitter in Carson’s 2-1 win in the second game.
Carson returns to action today at Spanish Springs with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
Blueberg said he didn’t know he had a no-hitter until the last batter. The closest call came in the top of the seventh when Wolfe threw out Jake
Heisler on a bang-bang play at first for the second out.
“My fastball was working well,” Blueberg said. “They were swinging right through it. “I didn’t do anything different. I was just trying to work down.”
One of the happiest people in the stands was Blueberg’s dad, Jim Jr., who is currently scouting for the New York Mets. He was supposed to go down to San Diego on business, but stayed to watch his son pitch.
The last Carson no-hitter thrown at McNutt Field was a five-inning no-hitter by Colby Blueberg, Jim Jr.’s oldest son, a couple of years ago.
North Valleys had seven baserunners, and three of those came in the first inning when it scored its only run of the game.
Blueberg plunked Mauricio Varela to open the game, and Bryson Bowles forced Varela at second. Bowles moved around to third on a wild pitch and passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch.
Carson came up with two in the bottom of the first which turned out to be all the cushion Blueberg needed.
Gehrig Tucker and TJ Thomsen each singled. Luke Maher was plunked by Hunter Pierce to load the bases. Jace Zampirro hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing Maher at second as Tucker stormed home. Thomsen moved to third on the play and scored on Logan Krupp’s sacrifice fly to right.
Carson made it 3-1 in the second when Thomsen’s two-out triple scored Tucker, who had reached on an error.
North Valleys almost scored in the third. With two outs, Blueberg threw high to first on a ball hit by Bryson Bowles. The throw pulled Maher off the bag, but it appeared that he tagged Bryson Bowles. The umpire disagreed, but Maher reacted quickly and threw home to retire Adrian Bowles, who had reached on one of three walks Blueberg issued.
North Valleys never got a runner past first the rest of the way, as Blueberg retired nine of the last 10 batters he faced.
Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said he only let Blueberg stay in the game because he was working on a no-hitter.
“I usually don’t let anybody throw that many (105),” Manoukian said. “Usually I don’t let anybody throw more than 90. If he’d given up a hit (after 90 pitches), he was coming out of the game.
“I don’t think he had his best stuff. He did a good job of battling and throwing strikes when he needed to. We also made some good defensive plays behind him.”
Wolfe was just as dominant in the nightcap. He fanned five and didn’t walk a batter. He retired 12 of the last 15 batters he faced.
“I felt I was getting stronger,” Wolfe said. “Usually when it’s down to the end, I just throw hard. The adrenaline usually kicks in. “I didn’t feel any pressure (after Blueberg’s gem). I just wanted to come out and throw strikes; get the groundballs we needed.”
Twelve of the 21 outs were on ground balls, which shows just how good Wolfe’s location was.
“I’ve been working on mechanics,” said Wolfe, who was inconsistent during the high school season. “I’m starting to get mechanically sound.”
As well as Wolfe pitched, Christian Fleck of North Valleys was just as good.
Fleck allowed just six hits and one earned run.
Cody Duke gave North Valleys a 1-0 lead in the second when his infield roller scored Heisler who had singled to start the inning. North Valleys got a runner to third in the fourth and one to second in the seventh, but that was it.
Carson tied the game at 1 when Zampirro sliced a double to right to score Tucker, who had reached on a single.
Carson pushed across an unearned run in the bottom of the sixth.
Charlie Banfield led off with a single, but was picked off first. Dustin Dutcher reached on an error, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a single by Blueberg. Tyler Valley followed with a groundball to second. It probably should have been a double play, but the North Valleys second baseman bobbled it slightly and was only able to get the force at second, which enabled Dutcher to score the go-ahead run.
Wolfe allowed a two-out double in the seventh, but retired Duke on an infield roller to end the game.
“Our pitching and defense was outstanding today,” Manoukian said. “I’m still hoping we can put all three together one day (pitching, defense, offense). We allowed three hits and one run in 14 innings. I don’t care who you are playing, that’s good pitching.”