Damonte Ranch ends Carson High baseball season
Failure to hit consistently and hit in clutch situations hurt Carson High all season, and it’s a big reason why the Senators were eliminated from the Northern 4A playoffs by Damonte Ranch on Wednesday at Ron McNutt Field.
Despite out-hitting Damonte Ranch, 7-6, the Senators got only four runners as far as third base against right-hander Tyler Hopper and dropped a tough 3-1 decision.
“Yeah, they are all tough at this time of the season,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said after the season-ending setback. “We fell victim to ourselves. When you get seven or eight hits, you should score more than one run; you should win ballgames.
“That was our problem three-quarters of the year. A weakness tends to show up late in the season or in the postseason. We could have done a better job of hitting this year. Looking back to last year our weakness was on the mound, and we worked on that. This year offense was (the problem).”
In the two playoff games, Carson went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. Carson got the lead-off man on in four of the seven innings against Hopper, but never capitalized. Carson’s only score came after the first two hitters had been retired.
“He is a very good pitcher,” Manoukian said. “He had good stats against all of the teams. He keeps the ball down; has a good down angle. We didn’t make any adjustments.”
Damonte head coach Jon Polson said this was Hopper’s first start of the season, and he was pleased with the complete-game performance. Hopper threw less than 90 pitches. He didn’t walk a batter, but hit three batters, including Jesse Lopez twice.
“Normally we use him out of the bullpen,” Polson said. “He really stepped up in a big situation for us. He’s a groundball guy, and he got double plays when he needed them.”
Carson hit into two big double plays, one in the first and one in the seventh, both cutting off potential chances for runs.
For the second straight day, Carson fell behind early.
With one out, Tommie Oskam singled to center. Zack Jensen followed with a groundball to short. Jace Keema flipped the ball to Kyle Glanzmann for the force out, but Glanzmann’s relay throw was wild, allowing Jensen to reach second. After Estaban Lopez walked, Hopper helped his own cause with a run-scoring single.
“It’s nice to get out in front, especially in an elimination game,” Polson said. “You are fighting through emotions from the day before, and when you get ahead early it eases that. It gives the pitcher some breathing room.”
Carson got two aboard in the first when Lopez was plunked and Bryce Moyle singled. Abel Carter, who has been Carson’s best hitter most of the year, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, Lopez taking third. Keema was retired on a fly ball to center.
The Senators evened the score in the third after two out. Lopez was hit again, moved to second on another Moyle single and scored when Carter delivered a run-scoring single to left. Both Moyle and Carter moved up on a wild pitch, but Keema struck out to end the threat.
Damonte took the lead for good in the fifth when Michael Nicholas walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, took third on a single by Oskam and scored on an infield out.
Jared Barnard departed after five solid innings, and probably deserved a better fate.
“I thought Barnard threw well,” Polson said. “We couldn’t get many leadoff hitters on. It was a battle.”
Carson got a runner to third in the bottom of the fifth, but Moyle was caught looking for the third out.
After a scoreless sixth by Derek Schafer, the Mustangs scored a big insurance run in the seventh off Cole McDannald.
Ryan Riggle bunted for a single, as Barnard was late getting over to cover first. Riggle stole second, was sacrificed to third by Nicholas and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-1.
Kahle Good was hit by a pitch to start the seventh, but Glanzmann rolled into a 5-4-3 double play. Luke Myers singled to keep the Seantors’ hopes alive, but Lopez grounded out to first to end the game and the season.