Carson baseball ready to begin 2011 campaign
Carson High had the youngest baseball team in the Sierra League last year with five and sometimes six sophomore starters.
The Senators paid the price for the lack of experience with an 8-10 league record and a seat on the bench when the regional playoffs rolled around.
When league play starts on March 15 against Wooster High, the Senators will face the challenge of a new format in 4A baseball.
Because of the recent realignment which took place over the summer, the 4A baseball coaches, like their football peers, have opted to play in one 11-team league. It will be a
20-game league season with the top eight teams making the postseason. Unless there is a rainout, there will be no more doubleheaders.
“I kind of like it,” said Carson coach Cody Farnworth, whose team plays in the first round of the Mike Bearman Tournament at 3 p.m. today at Damonte Ranch. “Galena and Spanish Springs are probably
1-2. Manogue and Reno are always good. After that I don’t really know.
“We have a good group of hard-working kids. They worked their tails off over the summer. We’re still a pretty young team. We only have two seniors (Colby Blueberg and Adam Whitt). The juniors that were sophomores last year, I’m counting on them to get better this year.”
Three seniors – Connor Beattie, Shea Bondi and Bryce Altus – are not playing this year for various reasons. Of the three, Bondi played the most and would be considered a part-time starter.
Farnworth has high hopes for his offense, and it’s easy to see why. Shortstop-pitcher Colby Blueberg (.377, 1 HR 9 RBI in league play), right fielder Austin Pacheco (.381, 3 HR, 13 RBI), catcher-infielder Rory Petersen (.310, HR, 5 RBI), catcher-infielder-pitcher Nick Domitrovich (.298, 12 RBIs), second baseman Brock Pradere, third baseman-reliever Drew Moreland (.316 in 16 ABs) and centerfielder Chance Quilling, who had a monster summer, are all pretty tough outs. It won’t be a picnic facing this group by any means.
“Austin and Chance will be in the middle of the lineup and then you have Colby, Nick and Brock,” Farnworth said. “We have a good top of the lineup. I’m looking for a lot of support for our pitching staff.”
Two spots in the starting rotation appear to be set with Colby Blueberg (2-3, 5.49 in league) and Adam Whitt (2-0, 14 strikeouts in 13 innings). Farnworth said that Blueberg has picked up a little more velocity, and he has been working on a new pitch that runs into right-handed hitters.
Domitrovich, Charlie Banfield and Casey Wolfe will battle for the No. 3 spot. Farnworth said he’s contemplating going to a four-man rotation because so many guys do more than pitch, and he doesn’t want to overuse anybody’s arm.
“Banfield threw well over the summer,” Farnworth said. “Domitrovich does so many things for us. Casey is battling, too. We have 15 kids, and everybody can play everywhere. We have a lot of versatility.”
Sophomore Zak Harjes, Petersen and Domitrovich will handle the catching, and Farnworth said all three will get time behind the plate this week.
“Catching might be Nick’s best position, but we may have to use him out in the field,” Farnworth said. “We didn’t have Zach over the summer. He has a good arm.”
Whitt (.222, 4 RBIs) will start at first when he isn’t pitching. Luke Maher, Domitrovich and Wolfe also could see time there.
Pradere will start at second and most likely slide over to short when Blueberg pitches .
“He’s definitely our best guy (in the infield),” Farnworth said. “He can make the routine plays and he can go in the hole to make plays. He has good speed. On offense, he’ll bat up at the top of the lineup.”
Farnworth said third base is wide open. Wolfe, Moreland and Petersen could see time there along with Banfield.
“Drew puts the ball in play,” Farnworth said. “He gets up there and competes. There is a lot of competition over there.”
Quilling showed his range during the summer and will be in center. Pacheco starts in right, while Dion Copoulos, Carter Nuckolls and freshman T.J. Thomsen will battle it out in left. Copoulos is No. 1 right now.
“Austin is still getting over his injury from football season, but he looked good in the scrimmage,” Farnworth said.