CHS BASEBALL: Senators make debut today at home
New bats and a different league greet Carson High when it opens the 2012 season today at Ron McNutt Field against Fallon.
First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. with Charlie Banfield expected to start on the mound for the Senators.
Under new high school rules, players will be using less lively bats this season which is expected to bring small ball back in play at the high school level and make for quicker games. The Northern 4A league will be an 11-team league this year with teams playing a 20-game league schedule.
Carson coach Cody Farnworth said it’s too early to tell how much difference the new bats will make. He did think games will take less time this year. Farnworth had his players use wood or the newer bats during the summer to prepare for this season.
The 11-team league (eight will make the playoffs) is just for one season. Hug, according to Farnworth, is expected to rejoin 4A baseball next spring.
“I don’t see a dominant team,” Farnworth said. “You have the big three of Reno, Galena and Bishop Manogue. After that it’s open. You can’t take a week off in this league.”
Farnworth, who guided Carson to a 17-8 record last season, said that pitching will be the key for his team this year.
The Senators , who lost co-aces Colby Blueberg and Adam Whitt to graduation, have eight pitchers – Casey Wolfe (6-1 3.21 ERA, 2 saves), Banfield (1-1, 6.05 ERA, 1 save), Carter Nuckolls (1-0, 6.42), Drew Moreland (2-1 4.05 ERA, 2 saves), Jace Zampirro (0-0, 1.50 ERA), Tyler Valley, Cole Dufresne and Nick Domitrovich (1-0, 10.50 ERA) – and with depth like that Farnworth can afford to have a quick trigger at times.
“I think we have good pitching depth,” said Moreland (2-1, 1 save and 4.05 ERA), who was used as both a starter and reliever last year. “I think we have good pitching. Our young guys pitched pretty well in the summer.”
“We’ll need Domitrovich (tender arm last year) to throw more than 10 innings this season.” Farnworth said. “If we can get some good pitching, we’ll be in the thick of things.”
The offense? Well that could be a different story. The Senators have to find a way to replace the 17 homers and 100 RBI that was generated by Blueberg, Whitt, Austin Pacheco and Chance Quilling. The latter two are not on the team this season.
The Senators still have some really good hitters back in Domitrovich (.326, 16 RBI), Brock Pradere (.351, 15 RBI) and Rory Petersen (.379, 25 RBI). T.J. Thomsen hit .324 in spot duty, while Dion Copoulos finished at .278 and Wolfe hit .265.
This is definitely a singles-doubles type of team, and Farnworth admitted that the Senators need to execute offensively. That means bunting, taking extra bases and stealing bases.
“We’re going to try and be aggressive on the basepaths,” Farnworth said. “We want to put pressure on opposing pitchers.”
Domitrovich and Pradere each stole four bases in league play.
Farnworth said the team has a lot of versatility, and that’s always a good thing.
At first base, he has Wolfe, Lake Maher, Chase Blueberg and Moreland (.133 , 2 RBI). Pradere will start at second and be backed up by Gehrig Tucker. Domitrovich starts at short and Pradere will slide over there when Domitrovich is on the mound. Third base is open between Tucker, Moreland, Petersen and Maher.
Thomsen has been moved to centerfield to take advantage of his speed, while Copoulos figures to start in left. Dufresne, Logan Krupp and Wolfe can all play right field.
Petersen will start behind the plate, but Domitrovich and Krupp can also play there.