Carson baseball falls just short against Damonte |

Carson baseball falls just short against Damonte

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – If you look at the final item in the Carson High linescore, it’s easy to see why the Senators lost to Damonte Ranch Thursday afternoon.

Carson made five errors leading to three unearned runs and an 8-7 Sierra League setback in the middle game of a season-ending three-game series against the Mustangs.

Carson dropped to 13-7 in league play, a half-game ahead of North Valleys, which swept a double-header from first-place Douglas to finish the regular season at 13-8. Douglas at 15-6, leads Damonte Ranch, 14-6, by a half-game.

That makes today’s season finale between Carson and Damonte Ranch huge. If Reno sweeps Hug as expected and Damonte beats Carson, the Mustangs would be the top seed by virtue of its two wins over Douglas. A Carson loss and a Reno sweep would put Reno, Carson and North Valleys in a three-way tie for third at 13-8. In that scenario, Reno would be the third seed, Carson the fourth seed and North Valleys would be the odd man out.

Carson coach Steve Cook said that Matt Rutledge, who pitched so well against Douglas recently, would get the starting nod in today’s regular-season finale.

Hopefully he’ll get better support than Nick Smallman did.

“Our inability to make plays in the infield hurt us again,” Cook said. “We’ll make sure that it’s cleaned up tomorrow.

“The kids just want to get one more win before going into zone. It doesn’t matter where or who we play, we just want to get one more win.”

Despite the shoddy effort in the field, Carson had the tying run on base before Donald Broderick struck out Rutledge to end the game.

The error-fest started in the first when Josh Blake walked and Brian Walsh reached on an error. A wild pitch moved the runners up a base and Ray Daniels singled to score both runs.

Carson tied the game in the second when David Leid walked and moved to second when Rob Valerius was awarded first base on a catcher’s obstruction call. Kyle Stone singled to right, scoring Leid and sending Valerius to third. Stone broke for second, and Damonte catcher Taylor Bates threw to second. There was a miscommunication between the middle infielders, and the ball sailed into center field, enabling Valerius to score the tying run.

Carson went ahead 3-2 in the top of the fourth when Stone singled again and came around to score on a two-out single by Drew Good.

Smallman had location problems in the bottom of the fourth, and the Mustangs made him pay.

David Bekirdes doubled to start the inning. Tanner Murray followed with a one-hopper to Smallman. Bekirdes got caught between second and third, and Smallman threw to third and Brooks Greenlee tagged out Bekirdes at third. Shain Smith forced Murray at second, and it looked like Carson might betout of the inning unscathed.

Not a chance. Blake pounded a triple to score Smith with the tying run, and Walsh followed with a run-scoring double to right-center field to make it 4-3. Daniels followed with a groundball to third that Greenlee airmailed over the head of Valerius at first. Walsh stopped at third. With Cody Stevens at the plate, Smallman threw a wild pitch, but Leid got a nice ricochet and tagged out Walsh with a nice diving effort.

The Senators showed their resilience by tying the game at 4 against reliever Jake Dosh when Valerius hammered a two-out, run-scoring double to score Leid, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.

Damonte Ranch scored the go-ahead (unearned) run thanks to three Carson errors in the bottom of the fifth.

“I thought Smallman pitched a heck of a game,” Cook said. “He got the ball up in the zone that last inning. From a coaching standpoint, I was very happy with the way the first two kids (Smallman and Tony Fagan on Wednesday) threw.”

Smallman left after allowing a double to Sean Barrett to start the sixth.

Reliever Kyle Mandoki walked the first two batters he faced and gave up a run-scoring single to Daniels, who went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs. After Stevens forced a runner at the plate, Chad Schryer singled to left driving in two runs to make it 8-4. Mandoki retired the next two hitters to avoid further damage.

With the help of a mental lapse by Damonte Ranch, Carson made it interesting in the seventh.

Markus Adams led off with a homer to left and Greenlee singled. Lewis followed with a ground ball to third, and the Damonte third baseman launched it past the first baseman down the right field line.

The Damonte catcher, who had just been inserted into the game, went down the first-base line to back up the throw, which is a no-no. With nobody covering the plate, Greenlee scored easily from first to make it 8-6. Lewis took third on the play and scored on Valerius’ sacrifice fly to make it 8-7. Broderick came on and walked Stone, but retired Rutledge.