Carson gains split against Wooster
Willie Bowman called it the biggest game of Carson’s season to date, and he was right.
The Senators, after giving away the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader 9-5, bounced back in the nightcap with an 8-4 win to salvage a split with Wooster on Merk Human Night at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson, Wooster and Douglas are all tied for second place with 7-2 records, a game behind first-place Reno, which is 8-1.
“We wanted to win two,” Bowman said. “It’s a wide-open race for second. This was real important.”
What it did was give the Senators the tie-breaker over Wooster should the teams remain tied at the end of the league season.
“It was a good win for us,” Carson coach Ron McNutt said. “We have the tie-breaker over them. That’s what we’re looking at with certain teams we play.”
McNutt was referring to Reno and Douglas, the Senators’ final two league opponents of the regular season. Two wins against each of those teams would be critical because Carson would own the tie-breakers against the top teams.
Carson needed a four-run fifth inning in the second game to snap a 4-all tie and avoid being swept.
A walk, bloop single by Kevin Schlage and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases. Jeff Hurzel, the Senators’ ninth-place hitter, lined a single off the glove of Wooster third baseman Justin Palylyk to make it 5-4. Royal Good walked to re-load the bases. Chris Rabe came on in relief of Kirk Nordmeyer, and walked Eric Melendez forcing home a run. Bowman slammed a single up the middle, scoring two more runs to make it 8-4. Cam Carroll came on to strike out Cameron Leck to end the inning.
That was more than enough for Handley, who stranded Wooster runners at first and second by retiring three straight batters to end the sixth. He left with one out and one on in the seventh in favor of Danny Rotter, who retired the final two batters on fly balls to the outfield.
“Handley stayed in and battled,” McNutt said. “He kept us in the ballgame after they got those early runs.”
And, Handley helped himself at the plate with a two-run single in the first inning. Hurzel ended with two hits.
“Jeff has gotten a lot of rallies started (or kept them going) this year,” McNutt said. “You can’t overlook him. He’s done an outstanding job in the ninth spot.”
In the opener, it was Wooster that came up big late in the game.
Leading just 4-3 entering the seventh, the Colts erupted for five runs on five hits. The key blow was a two-run double by Casey Callahan, his only hit of the game.
It’s been Carson’s problem all year. There always seems to be one inning a game where the Senators make some fielding mistakes or the opposition rakes Carson pitching.
Two of Wooster’s first four runs were the result of Carson mistakes. All told, Carson made eight errors in the twin-bill. That’s not an acceptable number at any level.
“It’s haunted us all year,” Bowman said. “We’re working hard. It’s all we can keep doing. I think it’s a lack of concentration.”
“They aren’t hard plays,” McNutt said, alluding to Carson’s fielding woes in the first game. I keep hoping we’ll come out of it. Eventually we will. We’ll live through it until we break it. If I knew why (it happened), I would be a millionaire.”
Carson didn’t quit, as Bowman launched a two-run, off-field homer in the seventh to make it 9-5. Handley homered one inning earlier to cut Wooster’s lead to 4-3.