Baseball: Carson sends a message to the rest of the 4A
RENO – It was a nonleague game, one that wouldn’t count in the league standings. Yet the game against Reno was one that Carson had looked forward to since the Mike Bearman Memorial Invitational started.
Carson, keyed by Brock Pradere’s two-run double, scored three times in the bottom of the sixth to wipe out a two-run deficit and beat the perennial powerhouse Huskies, 6-5, Saturday afternoon at Zunini Field.
Coupled with a 13-3 win over Lowry in its first game of the morning, Carson finished the tournament with four straight wins and is now 4-1 on the young season entering its 4A opener Tuesday at home against Wooster.
Pradere and winning pitcher Adam Whitt said the win over the Huskies was significant.
“It sends a message to the whole league,” Whitt said. “It shows that we’ve grown up since last year.”
“They beat us all summer,” Pradere said. “It was nice to get them back.”
Carson, which outhit Reno 13-7, rolled to a quick 3-0 lead with a run in the third and two in the fourth.
Freshman TJ Thomsen reached on an error in the third, moved to third on Pradere’s single and scored on a single by Rory Petersen.
Whitt, who went 3-for-4, opened the fourth with a single. Whitt moved to second on a single by Dion Copoulos and to third on Drew Moreland’s fielder’s choice. Both Whitt and Moreland scored on Thomsen’s triple to dead center to make it 3-0.
Reno cut the deficit to 3-2, scoring twice off Whitt thanks to R.J. Bush’s two-run opposite-field homer to right.
The Huskies got homers from Colton Hampson and Tyler McElroy in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead. Hampson’s HR came on an 0-2 fastball which is a no-no for any pitcher.
“I didn’t get enough movement,” Whitt said. “I went sidearm and the ball just flattened out. On the other two homers I thought I made good pitches on the outside part of the plate. The wind was blowing out and those balls got caught up in the wind. I wasn’t 100 percent. I’ve had a little bit of a sore arm, but overall I thought I threw pretty well.”
Carson bounced back in the sixth with a vengeance.
Casey Wolfe singled and moved to second on Moreland’s sacrifice bunt. Wolfe moved to third on Thomsen’s single, and both scored on Pradere’s gap shot to right-centerfield. Pradere advanced to third on the plate when the relay throw to the plate failed to get Thomsen.
“It was a curveball,” Pradere said. “I saw it right out of his hand. I let it travel and hit it the other way.”
Grant Kukuk relieved Colton Hampson. Peterson hit a hard groundball to second. The ball deflected off Garrett Hampson’s glove to shortstop Kellon Richards who retired Peterson, but Pradere scored on the play for what proved to be the game-winning run.
“This was a confidence builder,” Cody Farnworth said. “Everybody contributed. We didn’t depend on one or two guys. “
Besides Whitt’s three hits, Thomsen, Pradere and Petersen added two each.
In the win over Lowry, Carson led just 2-1 after three. The Senators caught fire in their last three at-bats, scoring 11 runs to win on the mercy rule. The big inning was the fifth when Carson scored six times.
Pradere keyed the fourth-inning surge, doubling home two runs. In the six-run fifth, Chance Quilling had a run-coring single, Copoulos had a sacrifice fly, Pradere had a run-scoring out, Thomsen had a run-scoring double and Petersen contributed a run-scoring single.
Starter Carter Nuckolls allowed just three hits over five innings before turning the ball over to Zak Harjes, who allowed an unearned run in the sixth.
“I was a little nervous,” Nuckolls said. “I was just trying to throw strikes. I was throwing a fastball and change. I have a curve, but it wasn’t working well in the bullpen. I hope they will pitch me more. I think I proved myself today.”
“Carter threw well,” the Carson coach said. “He ate up some innings which we needed him to do and he’ll get a chance to throw more. He works his tail off. He can play outfield and he’s always aggressive at the plate.”
Pradere, Colby Blueberg, Quilling, Whitt and Nuckolls had two hits apiece to lead the 13-hit attack.