Carson baseball clinches playoff spot
Carson baseball clinches playoff spot
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
After dropping the first game of its three-game series with South Tahoe on Thursday, the Carson Senators rebounded with a sweep of the Vikings on Saturday to ensure a Northern 4A postseason appearance.
But with the Manogue Miners lurking in first place in the High Desert League, Carson is hoping it can hang onto its third-place spot in the Sierra League and will likely need a three-game sweep over Wooster this week to do just that.
The Senators are tied with Damonte Ranch at 12-6 in league (Carson is 21-12 overall) and will play in their final nonleague game today at 3:30 p.m., when they host McQueen.
The Senators will travel to face Wooster on Wednesday before facing the Colts Thursday and Friday at Ron McNutt Field. All three games begin at 3:30 p.m.
Carson holds the tiebreaker with Damonte Ranch, which will close its season with three games against the winless Hug Hawks.
Senior shortstop Markus Adams said his team has gotten itself into the right mindset as the Wooster series closes in.
“We all had a team dinner [Sunday]. We’re relaxed and ready to go,” Adams said. “We all realized that if we take anyone lightly after South Tahoe, they’ll get you.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time and do what we need to do. If we show up to play baseball, I don’t think anybody would beat us that day.”
It’s this kind of mentality that has earned him kudos from Carson head coach Steve Cook, who played for Adams’ dad, Dick Adams, at Cerro Coso Junior College (1995-96).
“He’s our spark plug,” Cook said of Markus Adams. “He’s a coach’s kid. He knows the game. When we need a jump start, Markus is there.
“When we’re down eight runs coming into the last at bat, he’s the first to say, ‘We’re going to win this game, come on!'”
Adams has been playing with a crushed nose since early March, and it was his fearless theft of home plate that began Carson’s resurgence as it won series against Damonte Ranch, North Valleys (a sweep) and South Tahoe.
After dropping its opener to the Mustangs on April 10, Carson was trailing the first game of its April 12 doubleheader with Damonte, 4-3, with two outs in the seventh inning, Adams on third and slugger Paul Cagle at bat.
Adams timed pitcher Cody Stevens in his windup and stole home to tie the game and set the tempo for his team’s current 7-2 league run.
After taking a bad hop to the beak during infield practice prior to its game with Galena in the Manogue Tournament, Adams has given a new meaning to “hard-nosed player.”
His doctor told him that his nose was broken in so many places that there was basically nothing to repair, so Adams – a natural second baseman -returned to his spot in short the next day (electing not to wear a protective facemask) and has remained there since.
“I think I’ve kinda learned to live with it,” Adams said of the pain that comes with the injury. “I take groundballs every day and know I’m doing the right thing. I know the odds aren’t that good of it happening again.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Adams said he is “85-percent sure” he will play for his father – who is also Cerro Coso’s athletic director – next season, but is now zoning in on helping his team capture the third seed in the Sierra League.
Cook said he’d feel better being in the Reno-Spanish Springs-Reed bracket than opening postseason play against Manogue in the Miners-Douglas-Galena bracket.
Cook said he felt his players took a good first step in that direction on Saturday.
“We put ourselves in a postseason mindset,” Cook said. “We had a sense of urgency. We’re happy to be part of [the playoffs] now. We know we still have work to do. We’re not going to take this week lightly. Wooster’s kids have nothing to lose.”