Carson clinches second with victory
With all the confusion concerning the tiebreaker scenarios for the Northern 4A playoffs, the Carson High baseball team wasn’t taking any chances.
Carson left no doubt as it overcame a 7-2 deficit to win 13-8 at Damonte Ranch on Friday. Brooks Greenlee and David Leid each hit three-run home runs to account for a game-turning six-run rally and the Senators also received a lift from a sooner-than-expected return by Tony Fagan.
The Senators and Damonte both finished 14-7 in the Sierra League, with Carson clinching the No. 2 seed based on taking two of three from the Mustangs. Carson will open the playoffs against the High Desert League’s No. 3 seed on Tuesday likely at Manogue.
Carson’s win also gave the Sierra League title outright to Douglas, meaning the Tigers will be the other host site in the playoffs. Carson’s win also gave the No. 4 and final seed into the playoffs to North Valleys and eliminated Reno High. The Panthers held the tiebreaker over Reno after taking two of three from the Huskies.
No matter what happened on Friday, the Senators were going to the playoffs. But Carson coach Steve Cook wasn’t 100 percent sure, so the win on Friday came as a relief.
“I wanted to hear it about five times before it stuck,” said Cook about the tiebreaking scenarios. “We were going after the game like we had to win it to get in. We’re just happy we’ve got a spot now.”
Carson had to overcome a 7-2 deficit against Damonte ace Matt Gardner as the Senators beat him for the second time in the series. Gardner entered the game in the fourth and had a 7-2 lead going into the fifth after the Mustangs scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
But the Senators rallied against Gardner when Kyle Stone singled and Markus Adams walked. Brooks Greenlee followed with a three-run homer. After an error and Tony Fagan, who was the designated hitter, singled, Leid followed with a three-run shot to give Carson an 8-7 lead.
Damonte came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth. In the sixth, Stone doubled and scored on Greenlee’s RBI single. Fagan came on to pitch in the bottom of the sixth.
Fagan was available after having only to pitch five innings in Carson’s win on Wednesday. Fagan was also able to return despite spraining his ankle late in Wednesday’s game.
“His ankle is a little tender,” Cook said. “He still had some innings left. He was feeling good.”
Carson scored four runs in the seventh. Fagan and Leid singled during the rally and Nick Smallman hit a two-run home run. Drew Good walked, stole second and scored on Markus Adams’ single to make it 13-8.
Fagan walked the first batter and hit the next batter he faced in the bottom of the seventh. But then he got a strikeout and induced a groundball to Stone at third. Stone stepped on third and threw to first to complete the game-ending double play.
Matt Rutledge pitched four innings for Carson and David Eller pitched the fourth for the win while Fagan got the save.
Greenlee was 3-for-4 with five RBI, Fagan and Leid were both 3-for-4 and Stone was 2-for-4. “They battled their butts off,” Cook said. “We hit the (expletive) out of the ball.”