Carson bats come alive in sweep over Panthers
Carson bats come alive in sweep over North Valleys
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – A wicked wind swept through Golden Valley on Saturday, but the Carson Senators baseball team overcame the elements and did some sweeping of its own.
After taking a 7-6 victory over North Valleys on Thursday, the Senators knocked out a combined 31 hits en route to defeating the Panthers, 13-3 and 15-5, at North Valleys High School.
Due to the 10-run mercy rule, the games were ended in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.
“Oh my goodness. Wow, it was brutal today,” said Carson coach Steve Cook. “The conditions were tough today. Anything hit in the outfield had a chance of blowing over your head or bouncing over your head. A popup behind the dish that was for all intents and purposes out of the yard blew fair.
“We put it on somebody. We couldn’t make excuses because of the conditions. We just went out and played baseball.”
In addition to turning the stands and playing field into a horizontal sand trap, the gusts added an extra challenge to what would have normally been routine plays.
“That was some crazy wind,” said Carson outfielder Drew Good. “A foul ball turned into a double. Once you got it up in the air, there was nothing you could do about it. It was blowing out. We’re not used to the wind blowing this hard. At our place it blows left or right.”
With the sweep, Carson, now 10-5 in the Sierra League and 19-11 overall, moved effectively two games ahead of Damonte Ranch – which split with first-place Reno on Saturday – for third place, with six league games remaining (three each against South Tahoe and Wooster).
Carson, which took two-of-three from the Mustangs, owns the tiebreaker.
The top four teams from the Sierra League and High Desert League advance to the eight-team NIAA Northern 4A regional championships beginning May 6.
Good went a combined 5-for-7 – including 4-4 in the nightcap – and knocked in a total of three runs as the Senators held the lead wire-to-wire in game one and rallied from a 5-3, third-inning deficit in game two.
“In the second game I was seeing the ball really well – everyone was,” said Good, whose RBI singles gave the Senators a 2-0 lead in the top of the second and narrowed the Panthers’ lead to 5-4 in the nightcap. “We put it on them. It was a great team effort – we had great production. We’ve got to keep it rolling, I guess. We’re getting a little better every day. Hopefully, we’ll play our best baseball at the start of May.”
The Senators also got big contributions from junior third baseman Kyle Stone, who was a combined 5-of-7 with five RBI, first baseman Rob Valerius (a combined 4-for-7 with five RBI), and Paul Cagle (4-for-7 with two home runs and three RBI).
Matt Rutledge, who picked up the win in game one (he allowed three runs -two earned – five hits, five walks and struck out three before David Charles finished up in the fifth), went 2-for-2 with two RBI, two walks and two stolen bases in game two.
David Eller picked up the win in the nightcap, relieving starter Dustin Buttner in the third inning with the game tied 3-3, with runners on first and second.
The runners – Cody Croxon and Tyler Osborne – advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Barone and eventually reached home on a groundout by Mitch Van Ronk and Adam Kleinschmidt to take a 5-3 lead, but Eller didn’t surrender a hit the rest of the way, striking out two.
Starters Jared Harvey and Josh Mathis took the losses for North Valleys, which fell to 4-11, 6-19.
Stone had a pair of triples in the opener, knocking in two runs to extend Carson’s lead to 7-3 in the fourth inning and bringing home another runner to make it 9-3 in the fifth.
Carson sent 11 batters to the plate to take a 5-0 lead in the opening inning of game one. Carson’s big bopper – Cagle – hit a two-run shot to center to make it 11-3 in the fifth. Cody Barr (2-for-4) added an RBI double and later scored on a wild pitch to end matters.
In the nightcap, Carson sent 15 batters to the plate in a nine-run fifth inning to go up 13-5. Stone and Cagle went back-to-back yard to make it 13-5.
“I saw a good pitch and did what I should’ve done with it,” said Stone, who connected with a fastball that sailed over the right center-field fence. “We had a great practice (Friday). It carried over to today. We want to carry this over with three more great practices for South Tahoe.
“On Thursday we slacked off with the lead. We wanted to put pressure on them from the beginning. We put pressure on them the whole time.”
Stone has been consistently stellar at the hot corner and has found a home batting third in the order this season.
“He’s one of our most intense kids. Every time it’s hit to third, you assume it’s going to be an out,” Cook said. ” As far as his stick goes, he has a ton of power for a little guy. Stoner’s been our three-hole hitter all year. Last year he was he was in the nine-hole, one-hole and three-hole. We were trying to figure it out.
“He’s been working hard to get his stroke back and he’s been making those adjustments every day in practice.”
Cody Bone, who suffered a broken finger in the season opener, returned to action as a pinch runner, scoring on a Jeff Butler double in the sixth. Rutledge walked, bringing in Stone for the game-winning run later in the inning.
Now Carson can turn its attention to South Tahoe. The Senators will play the first game of the three-game set at South Tahoe Middle School Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
“We have six games left on the schedule. You start scoreboard watching and you’ll get tripped up,” Cook said. “We just have to go after them Thursday. We have three days of practice this week. We play all three games at Tahoe. They played decent Thursday against Douglas.
“If we want to play postseason baseball, we have to go after it. The good thing is we have our own destiny in our hands. If we do our job, we’ll be in the playoffs. If we don’t, we won’t.”
CARSON JVS 17-19, NORTH VALLEYS 12-11
The Senators improved to 13-13 overall and 6-9 in league after coming out on top in a shootout with the Panthers.
Cameron Mayville pitched five innings and struck out six for the win in game one and Dom Mariani pitched the last 2 1/3 innings in picking up the victory in game two for the Senators.
Shea Bondi went a combined 6-for-9, Colby Blueberg, 5-for-7, Bryce Altus 5-for-8, Connor Beatty 5-for-8 and Jeff Davies 4-for-8 for Carson.