Carson baseball picks up hard-earned sweep
Appeal Sports Editor
The last time Tony Fagan had been this successful on the mound, he was chasing after a no-hitter against Fallon.
Even though Fagan finished the game and got the win, he lost the the no-hitter. And after throwing 121 pitches, Fagan lost something more important. A little mojo.
Fagan admitted that effort took a lot out of him. So with the Senators nursing a 2-1 lead after Fagan had pitched six strong innings, he had no problem giving way to Matt Rutledge.
Rutledge got the job done again for Carson, saving the win for the Senators as the won the nightcap 2-1 on Saturday at Ron McNutt Field. The win finished off a three-game sweep for Carson as the Senators won the opener 8-3.
Fagan also sent Carson on its way to the win in the opener, crushing a three-run home run over the leftcenter field scoreboard to give the Senators a 3-1 lead.
Carson (10-3, 3-0 in the Sierra League) won three hard-fought games against South Tahoe, needing to rally on David Leid’s three-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning for an 8-7 win on Thursday.
“It was very important for us to get a sweep this weekend,” Carson coach Steve Cook said. “We felt fortunate on Thursday to get the win.”
“We just needed the wins to keep up with the Jones,” Cook also said about the league race.
The Senators were also able to beat two solid pitchers on Saturday in Stephen Yarrow and Chris Diana. Both pitchers went the distance and Diana was especially impressive, striking out six and allowing just three hits over six innings. But Fagan was a little better, striking out eight and allowing four hits, two of them coming on infield singles, over six innings.
“Two quality kids on the hill,” said Cook about Yarrow and Diana. “Tahoe has a pretty good ball club.”
Rutledge retired all nine batters he faced in the series. He retired all six batters he faced to pick up the win on Thursday and retired all three batters he faced in the seventh on Saturday to pick up the save.
“They just didn’t want to overuse me like the did against Fallon,” Fagan said. “I figured I’d give it to Rutledge since he’s been pitching well the last few weeks.”
Nick Smallman pitched five innings for the win and Paul Cagle threw two scoreless innings in the opener. “I was happy with what we got on the hill,” Cook said.
With the exception of one defensive lapse in the first inning in the opener, Carson was solid defensively throughout the series as it didn’t make an error in the three games.
The Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the first on the strength of a bloop single and a bunt single. After a fielder’s choice gave Tahoe runners at first and third with one out, Carson allowed a popup to drop in the middle of the infield. Carson got the out at second, but the runner from third came home to score.
Another bloop single and catcher’s interference loaded the bases, but Smallman escaped the jam without any further damage.
In the bottom of the first, Joe Skates singled, Bryt Lewis was hit by a pitch and Fagan launched the first pitch he saw from Yarrow, a fastball, for his three-run shot. “He got his fastball in his happy zone and tatooed it,” Cook said.
“That was the only fastball I got all day,” Fagan said. “I got eight straight curveballs after that.”
Carson made it 5-1 in the second in Kyle Stone’s RBI double and Markus Adams’ RBI single. The Vikings closed to within 5-2 in the fourth when Jason Winslow doubled and scored on David Schue’s RBI single. Derek Holmgren’s RBI single for the Vikings made it 5-3 in the fifth.
But in the bottom of the fifth, Skates doubled and scored on Fagan’s double. Fagan then scored on an error to make it 7-3. In the sixth, Stone singled, stole second and scored on Skates single to finish the scoring.
Stone and Skates each had three hits, Fagan had two hits and Rob Valerius and Paul Cagle each added a hit.
In the nightcap, the Vikings took a 1-0 lead in the third on an infield single, Yarrow’s single, a walk and a hit batsman. But Fagan got a groundball to end the threat without any more scoring.
In the bottom of the third, Adams singled and Skates was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up on a balk and Lewis’ RBI sacrifice fly made it 1-1. Cagle, Leid and Valerius all walked to force in another run, making it 2-1.
Carson missed a chance for an insurance run in the fourth when Drew Good singled, went to second on Stone’s sacrifice bunt and stole third with one out. But Carson failed to bring him home. Leid had Carson’s other hit.