Carson works fifth-inning magic again
There has been something magical about the fifth inning this week for the Carson High baseball team.
On Tuesday, Carson scored nine times in the fifth to erase a deficit and beat North Valleys, 14-7.
On Thursday, Carson snapped a 1-all tie by scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth to record a mercy-rule 11-1 win over North Valleys at Ron McNutt Field in a Northern 4A game.
The Senators, who have won three straight, improved to 5-3 in league play heading into the start of a two-game series with Damonte Ranch. Carson hosts the Mustangs on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Neither Carson coach Cody Farnworth nor senior outfielder Dion Copoulos, who had a key two-run hit in the fifth, could put a finger on any one thing that has led to the big explosions.
“I don’t know,” Farnworth said. “We just kept plugging away. Their left-hander (Hunter Pierce) has kept people in check this year. We finally got going thanks to bunts (by Brock Pradere and Casey Wolfe) that really helped us out today. Nick (Domitrovich) did a good job punching the ball to the left side (when the shortstop went to cover third).”
“I don’t know really know why,” Copoulos said. “I knew we would come around, though. We started kind of slow.”
Pierce had no-hit the Senators through the first four innings. Carson scored its only run to that point on three walks and a hit batter. North Valleys scored its only run in the fourth on a single by Mason Blake, who scored on a two-out error by third baseman Gehrig Tucker.
In the fifth, Carson sent 13 batters to the plate against Pierce and reliever Ian Flanary.
Tucker walked and moved to second when Pradere pushed a bunt past Pierce for a single. North Valleys put the wheel coverage, and when the North Valleys third baseman broke for third, Domitrovich singled in the hole to score Tucker for a 2-1 lead and what proved to be the game-winning hit.
After Luke Maher lined out to second, Rory Petersen walked to load the bases. Wolfe followed with a squeeze bunt, and Pradere beat the throw home to make it 3-1. Copoulos followed with a two-run double to right for a 5-1 advantage.
“It was an outside pitch and I took it to right,” Copoulos said. “(Wednesday) night I took some extra hacks, and the hard work paid off.”
Flanary came on and gave up a run-scoring singles to Drew Moreland and T.J. Thomsen. Tucker and Pradere walked, and Domitrovich followed with a booming two-run triple to right-centerfield to make it 10-1. Maher ended the game with a double to deep left.
Jace Zampirro, who went the distance to pick up the win, allowed just two hits and fanned three. He was dominant throughout the game. He said he wasn’t concerned about his team’s offense.
“We had a slow start offensively, but I knew they would come through,” Zampirro said. “I don’t think I’d been warming up properly. My forkball was working well today. It had a lot of drop; a lot of curve to it except it knuckles more.”
Domitrovich went 2-for-4, while Pradere, Copoulos, Moreland, Thomsen and Maher all had one hit.