Carson High beats Douglas, clinches playoff berth
Douglas fired the first salvo, but Carson High won the war and a playoff berth.
Douglas’ Andrew Rangel led off the game with a homer, but Carson roared back with six runs in the bottom of the first inning, and then held on for a wild 10-9 win Wednesday night at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson, 9-12, locked up the final playoff spot in the Northen 4A, and will face Reno on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Reno High. The Senators and Douglas conclude the regular season with a game today at 3:45 p.m. at Tiger Field.
The game was delayed in the first inning when Douglas head coach Don Amaral, standing in the dugout and calling pitches, was drilled in the forehead by a foul line drive. He was taken to the hospital for x-rays, but no other information was available.
“It’s a huge relief to get the win and clinch the playoff spot so we don’t have to battle these guys again,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “I have the utmost respect for Douglas.
“I knew when it was 6-1 (in the first) it wasn’t over. They gave us everything they had.”
That is to be expected in a rivalry game.
“We never gave up,” assistant coach Ty Hoelzen said. “Obviously everybody knew what was at stake. We fought all the way through the game. We showed a lot of heart.”
In a game that had 19 combined runs and 20 combined hits, two defensive gems, one each by Abel Carter and Joe Tonino, were critical.
The first came in the top of the third with Carson leading 6-3.
The Tigers had just scored twice on a double by Ayden Murphy and a bases-loaded walk to Eli Hinojosa. With the bases loaded, Matt Goff hit a rocket down the third base line. Carter left his feet to backhand the ball. He scrambled up and beat Blake Murray for the force at third, and then threw a rocket to first to retire Goff. The play saved two runs.
Carter then contributed offensively, doubling in a run in the bottom of the third to make it 7-3. Kahle Good’s infield roller scored another run to make it 8-3.
That set the stage for another stellar defensive play by Carson in the top of the fourth.
Camden Brown walked and moved around to third on a balk and infield out. Rangel hit a medium deep fly ball to left. Tonino caught the ball and threw a strike to catcher Teigen Key, who tagged a sliding Brown on the shoulder to end the threat and inning.
“Those two plays saved the game for us,” Manoukian said. “Both plays stopped their rallies, and without those two plays … Abel’s play saved at least two runs. If the ball gets by, who knows how many they get that inning? To get a double play on a fly ball deep enough for a sacrifice fly was big.”
“Both of those stopped our momentum,” he said.
The Senators extended their lead to 10-3 in the fourth when Landon Truesdale was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a single by Tonino and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Delsin Roberts. Kyle Glanzmann’s single to right drove in Tonino.
Carson starter Ben Nelson departed after five solid innings, and that’s when things got interesting, as relievers Glanzmann and Avery Powell combined to give up six runs in the last two innings. Four of those came in the sixth.
After getting the first batter, five straight batters reached base on three hits, a walk and a hit batter, forcing Glanzmann from the game. One of the hits was a two-run single by Jayden Foster. A walk forced in a run and a wild pitch scored another before Powell could retire the side.
Powell walked three straight batters after retiring Goff to start the seventh inning. Sean Dunkelman hit a sacrifice fly to center to make it 10-8. Foster followed with a run-scoring infield hit to make it 10-9. With the tying run on third, Ayden Murphy was retired on a foul pop-up to first base.
Besides the defensive gems, the six-run first inning was huge. It was highlighted by four straight hits, bases-loaded walks to Colby Zemp and Glanzmann, and a key two-out error by Foster.
“The games we’ve won we have done a good job of taking advantage of mistakes (by the other team),” Manoukian said.