Carson sweeps Wooster
RENO – Doubleheaders were only a 50-50 proposition for the Carson High School baseball team last year.
That percentage has improved significantly so far this season for the Senators, who swept their second straight Northern 4A conference doubleheader on Saturday when they defeated Wooster 6-5 and 11-1.
Brian Kleidosty cracked a third-inning grand-slam, while Chris Padgett pitched a complete game seven-hitter and struck out 13 as Carson took the opener. Game 2 also belonged to the Senators, who scored eight runs in the first two innings to support the complete-game pitching of Ken Heald.
The sweep boosted Carson to 6-1 in the conference standings, while the 1999 zone tournament champion Colts dropped to 3-4.
“This was very big for us,” Carson coach Ron McNutt said. “You know, last year we played five doubleheaders and split all five. Darrell Rasner would win the first game every time, and then we’d lose the second. This year so far, we’ve played two and swept two.”
Pitching has been a key, and both Carson pitchers were impressive on Saturday, according to McNutt.
“Coming into this year, we thought defense and hitting would be our strengths, but right now we’re getting some strong pitching,” he said. “We’ve had solid outings in each of our last three games from (Randy) Loff, Padgett and Heald.”
Padgett, a 6-foot-2 senior right-hander, allowed two runs in the third and fifth innings but retired seven straight batters to close out the game. Five of those seven outs came on strikeouts.
“I thought that was an outstanding performance by Chris,” McNutt said. “He’s really stepped it up for his senior year.”
Kleidosty’s grand-slam gave Carson a 4-1 lead in the third, but Wooster came back to score twice in the bottom of the third then added two more runs in the fifth to go up 5-4.
The Senators answered with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth, thanks to successive singles by Ben Moore, Chandler Allen and Nick Gitthens.
The Senators loaded the bases in the seventh, but failed to score as Wooster reliever Aaron Churchill rang up back-to-back strikeouts to retire the side.
“We still have some things we need work on,” McNutt said. “We had some situations where we didn’t advance runners, or we didn’t get them home, because we couldn’t put the ball in play.”
Carson struck for five runs in the first inning of game two, highlighted by Matt Leck’s two-run double and Chandler Allen’s run-scoring triple. Tony Faulkner delivered a two-run double and then scored on Joe Mercer’s triple in the second as the Senators extended their lead to 8-0 in a game called after five innings.
Eight players contributed to Carson’s 11-hit attack in the second game. Mercer hit 3-for-3 with one RBI and Leck 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Heald (3-0) pitched all five innings, allowed six hits, struck out three, walked none and hit one batter. Wooster’s lone run came when freshman Zach Bryson homered over the right field fence to lead off the third inning.