Carson baseball beats Douglas
Appeal Sports Writer
Carson High senior Tony Fagan couldn’t have picked a better time for the first walk-off game-winning homer of his career.
With one out, the infield playing in and the score tied at 3, Fagan deposited a Tyler May fastball over the fence in right-center field for a grandslam to give the Senators a thrilling 7-3 come-from-behind win over arch-rival and league-leading Douglas in a Sierra League baseball game Thursday afternoon at Ron McNutt Field.
Çarson improved to 9-4 in league play while Douglas dropped to 11-2. The rivals meet in a Saturday double-header starting at 10 a.m. at Douglas High School.
Fagan’s one-out blow capped a wild seventh inning that saw Douglas make three pitching changes, as the Senators overcame a 3-2 deficit with five runs on just one hit.
“I had two terrible at-bats,” Fagan said. “I was lunging because the pitcher (Wyatt Graham) was slow. The whole team was having a hard time staying back except for (Joe) Skates. When they changed pitchers, we knew they would throw harder.
“He threw a fastball. It was a little outside. Doing it against Douglas was great. It was good to see the team come back like that.”
Graham retired pinch-hitter Nick Smallman to start the seventh and then hit pinch-hitter Paul Cagle with a pitch. Graham left after going to a 2-0 count on Markus Adams. Closer Jordan Hadlock came on and threw consecutive wild pitches, the second one allowing pinch-runner Stephen Sawyers to score the tying run and sending Adams around to third.
Hadlock came out in favor of Tyler Hoelzen, who never ended up throwing a pitch, as DHS coach John Glover intentionally walked Brooks Greenlee and Bryt Lewis to load the bases.
May came in, and Fagan followed with his game-winner.
“I was trying to take the squeeze away,” Glover said, explaining his strategy of bringing the infield in with Fagan up. “They have won some games using the squeeze.
“It was a tough loss. Carson-Douglas is always a good game. We get a chance to come back on Saturday.”
Almost overlooked was the performances by both starting pitchers – Carson’ right-hander Matt Rutledge and Douglas left-hander Wyatt Graham.
Rutledge, who was making just his second start of the season, fanned three, walked three and scattered six hits. He certainly deserved better fate than a no-decision. He left trailing 3-2 and with a runner at first and one out thanks in part to a throwing error by Greenlee, which led to both Douglas runs in the fifth.
“Rutledge threw well,” Carson coach Steve Cook said. “He was throwing strikes in the zone all day. He’s got such a great demeanor out there.
“Brooks got a bit overaggressive. He was trying to get an out when there really wasn’t an out to get.”
Rutledge consistently worked both sides of the plate with success, and of the Tigers’ six hits, only three were hit real hard.
“I was just trying to throw strikes and let the defense work behind me,” Rutledge said. “If they had wanted me to go some more, I would have done it. If they wanted to go bullpen that was OK, too. I trust everybody on the team.”
Tyler Smith came on to strike out both Phil Mannelly and Cory Eilers to end the seventh, and was credited with the win when Carson rallied.
Graham, meanwhile, settled down nicely after allowing two first-inning runs, both of which were unearned because of an error by shortstop Tim Rudnick. Fagan’s infield out drove in the first one, and David Leid squeezed home the second run.
After that, Graham pitched scoreless ball until the seventh when he hit a batter and then walked two, setting the stage for Carson’s rally.
“We got two early and kind of went to sleep,” Cook said. “Graham did a great job on the hill. When we did hit the ball hard it was right at somebody. He was mixing his pitches so well.”
Graham allowed only five hits, but still ended up taking a tough loss.
• Contact Darrell Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (775) 881-1281