Carson baseball edges Douglas
Appeal Sports Writer
No joshing, it was a good finish and one heckuva high school baseball game.
In the end, Carson High’s Josh Caron pitched 5.2 shutout innings in relief and Kevin Schlange drove Royal Good home with the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Senators a 6-5 Sierra League victory against Douglas on Thursday at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson (11-5 league, 23-9 overall) rallied to score two runs in the seventh to force extra innings, then survived three innings of offensive frustration before finally beating the Tigers (15-1 league, 22-7-1 overall), who have already clinched the league championship.
Records didn’t matter in a game between arch rivals that saw four lead changes. Then again, that didn’t surprise either of the coaches, Steve Cook of Carson or John Glover of Douglas – familiar rivals who both played high school ball at Carson.
“Like I said last week, the records don’t matter when Douglas and Carson play,” Glover said. “It’s always a heated game and today was no exception. This was just a good high school baseball game.”
Cook echoed that.
“That’s a great game right there,” the first-year Carson coach said. “You had two real good teams, and with the rivalry thrown in, that was just frosting on the cake.”
The two teams meet again Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader on the Douglas diamond in Minden.
“This was a huge win for us. We’ll enjoy the win tonight, but we’ll have our work out for us Saturday,” Cook said. “John has a great ballclub. They didn’t win the league by accident.”
Carson put its leadoff hitter on base in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings before winning it in the 11th. The Senators stranded 10 runners and had another thrown out at home.
“We were getting our leadoff guys on and then we couldn’t push them across,” Cook said. “There were times when we put the ball in play and they’d make a great play to stop us. And then there were times when they got guys on and we’d make a big play.”
Caron retired 17 of the 21 batters he faced after coming on to pitch in relief of Michael Teixeira with one out in the fifth. Douglas scored four unearned runs in the fifth to take a 5-3 lead, but the Tigers only managed two hits and two walks off Caron.
“Josh Caron came up huge for us,” Cook said of the junior right-hander. “He went out and pitched his heart out and gave us an opportunity to win this game. He had confidence in his pitches, he was hitting his spots and he was trusting his defense to make plays behind him. When he has all three of those things going, he’s tough to beat.”
Douglas threatened in the seventh when Spike Agosta reached on a two-base throwing error, but was left stranded when second baseman Logan Parsley made a diving stop of D.J. Brady’s sharp grounder to the right side to retire the side.
The play became magnified in the bottom half of the inning when Carson scored twice to tie the score. Schlange drew a leadoff walk, then after Chad Walling came on to pitch in relief, Parsley doubled into the gap in right-center and Murphy Gardner delivered a two-run single to center field. Douglas escaped further damage when Brady tracked down Brooks Greenlee’s long fly ball to center field, then threw back to the infield in time to double the runner at first for an inning-ending double play.
The Senators left a runner stranded on third in the eighth, another at second in the ninth, and then Douglas shortstop Jimmy Pierce turned Jason Knowles’ line drive up the middle into an unassisted double play to end the 10th.
Caron issued a one-out walk in the 10th, but escaped trouble when Derek Shoaf caught a fly ball in right field and doubled the runner off first.
“It was a rough, hard-fought battle the whole way,” Caron said. “I’m usually not a starter so I got a little tired at the end, but there was no way you could have taken me out. I wanted to be there until the end.”
The Senators ended it when Good, who had been 0 for 4 up until that point, doubled into the left-center field gap. Moments later, Schlange hit a slicing fly ball that eluded right fielder Ryan Pruitt for the game-winning base hit.
Douglas took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Agosta singled over shortstop and Pierce followed with an infield hit to lead off, then Brady hit a long fly ball that Good ran down and caught near the warning track in center field. Agosta advanced to third on the play and then scored on Kyle Luken’s slow ground ball to the left side.
Carson went up 2-1 in the bottom half of the fourth when Adam Anderson drew a leadoff walk and Greenlee drove a 2-1 pitch from Tyson Estes the opposite way for a home run.
The Senators added one more run in the fifth when Schlange reached on an error, Parsley walked and Anderson doubled to deep center field. One run scored, but a second was gunned down on a relay throw from Walling to Roman Davis at the plate for the third out.
Douglas regained the lead with four runs in the sixth. Agosta was hit by a pitch with one out and was safe at second when Pierce’s ground ball was misplayed for an error. Brady singled to load the bases and then Luken’s ground ball was misplayed for an error that brought two runs home and tied the score. Brady scored the go-ahead run on a passed ball and pinch-hitter Nate Whalin lined a full-count pitch into center field for an RBI single to make it 5-3.
Teixeira started was solid in his 5.1 innings for Carson. The senior only threw 63 pitches, allowed five hits, one earned run, one walk and he hit one batter.
Estes only allowed three hits over five innings, but walked six (one intentional) before giving way to sophomore Chris Balcom in the sixth. Walling came on in the seventh and Brady came on in the ninth.
“Our pitchers kept us in the game. We just didn’t swing it today,” said Glover, whose Tigers finished with seven hits and left six base runners stranded.
Phil Mannelly hit 2 for 5 to lead the Tigers offensively. Schlange was 2 for 4 and Parsley 1 for 2 with three walks (two intentional) as Carson finished with seven hits.
“This is a tough one to swallow,” Glover said. “Carson’s a real good team and they showed it today. We just need to bounce back Saturday and try to get some momentum going into zone.”
n Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call 881-1220.