Control is key for Carson’s David Charles
David Charles will never be accused of overpowering opposing hitters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Charles has picked up a little more velocity on his fastball from last year, but he still uses guile and pinpoint control to get the best of opposing hitters. It was good enough to earn him All-Sierra League first-team honors last year, and he’s picking up where he left off last year.
Through three starts, Charles is 1-1 with an ERA of 1.63 entering the start of a three-game series against Galena at 3:45 p.m. today.
“I wouldn’t say flawless, but his mechanics are pretty damn good,” said Carson pitching coach Scott Albin. “Being as sound as he is, it allows him to throw everything. His fastball looks like his changeup and his changeup looks like his slider and so on. He’s got a ton of movement. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a left-hander throw the ball straight. There always seems to be a tail to it. I don’t know why that is.
“The big thing is keeping hitters off balance. That’s critical, and he’s done a good job with that. The Fallon hitters (last weekend) were never comfortable in the box.”
The Fallon game was a gem for Charles. He fanned 10 and allowed just five hits in a 2-1 victory to give the Senators a much-needed sweep of the doubleheader.
“I didn’t realize how good it (the win over Fallon) was until I punched in the numbers,” Albin said. “He threw 79 pitches and 75 percent of those were for strikes. He only had 59 pitches going into the seventh inning.”
“It was a good game,” Charles said. “The team battled. I’d put it up there with the two-hitter against Galena last year. That was a great game. It was definitely up on the list. We needed to win those two games. When you’re faced with things like that, you get tough as a pitcher.”
Efficiency has always been crucial for Charles. Because he doesn’t have the overpowering fastball, he needs to get ahead and stay ahead in counts. That enables him to live on the edges of the plate.
“I shoot to finish the game,” Charles said. “Every inning I shoot for 15 or less pitches. I think strikes and try to minimize balls.”
“When he locates his fastball, he’s tough to beat,” Carson head coach Cody Farnworth said. “His changeup is so nasty. He throws it so well.”
That was the case against Fallon, though the day didn’t start on a pleasant note.
Charles was unable to get out of bed, forcing Farnworth to scratch him from the first game of the doubleheader. The coach wasn’t sure whether Charles would be OK enough to start the next game.
“When I woke up, I couldn’t even move,” Charles said. “That’s why I had my dad call and tell coach I couldn’t start the first game, but to count on me for the second game. It was a key game for us in our season. I wasn’t going to miss it unless I couldn’t get out of bed.”
His performance against Fallon was much better than he showed at Douglas when he dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tigers.
“There was something missing at Douglas,” Charles said. “I didn’t feel right. He (Albin) told me what he saw. I was a little too intense, I wasn’t relaxed. I was trying to throw harder than I should instead of just letting my body work. My arm was doing more than the rest of my body.”
Charles has had to slightly change the way he approaches a hitters this year.
“I snuck up on people last year with my changeup,” Charles said. “They all know I have it this year. I have to improve my fastball and slider.”
That’s where Charles stands out against other guys. He know what he needs to do to compete, and he takes care of his business.
“He’s the perfect guy to have on your team,” Farnworth said. “He works hard. He works on stuff he knows he needs to work on. Everybody notices.”
Charles, who appears headed for College of San Mateo, realizes the pressure of being the ace of a staff. He welcomes the pressure and responsibility. And this year, he may have to be even better than he was last year.
Carson had a senior-laden team last year that could swing the bat and play pretty good defense. Carson’s team is much younger this year and not quite as consistent game-in and game-out.
“That’s the attitude I had at the Douglas game; that I had to do more this year,” Charles said. “I need to trust that these guys are going to do their jobs.”