Fagan has huge day before CHS eliminated
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Carson High’s baseball team struck first, but Galena threw the knockout punch, and what a punch it was.
The heavily favored Grizzlies spotted the Senators a one-run lead, and then roared back for seven first-inning runs, including two homers, en route to a 10-3 victory Thursday at Bishop Manogue High School.
The win moved Galena, 32-2, into Saturday’s Northern Nevada 4A final against Douglas at Tiger Field. The winner of that game advances to next week’s state championship.
The loss eliminated the Senators, but coach Steve Cook, who guided his team to a 24-12 record, was pleased with how his team played. He also was impressed with Galena.
“We struggled a little bit at the start of the year trying to get the team to believe it could be a quality team,” Cook said. “At the end of the season, I thought we were playing our best ball. This week I thought we played pretty good ball. Our seniors stepped up and did a good job.
“I haven’t seen a hitting line-up like that (Galena). Usually you have one or two guys that you can get out. Even good pitches we threw got hit. Over the last 10 years, this Galena team would have to rank in the top five. They remind me of some of coach (Pete) Savage and coach (Ron) McNutt’s teams; maybe even better. As far as hitting the ball goes, they are at the top.”
And, the Grizzlies showed their hitting talents by blasting four homers, one each by J.D. Peters, Cory Metoyer, Jake Hess and Basim Azzam.
J.D. Peters, who went 4-for-4 in a win over Manogue on Wednesday, led off the game with a homer to right-center field off Carson starter/loser Nick Smallman. The Carson senior bounced back and struck out Pete Lazzari looking, but that was the last out he would get.
Winning pitcher Tony Thompson walked, moved to second on Eric Maupin’s single, advanced to third on a walk to Azzam and scored on Hess’ bases-loaded walk. Jacob Anderson followed with a two-run single to left to make it 4-0, and Metoyer belted a three-run homer to left-center field for a 7-0 lead.
Exit Smallman. Enter Sawyers. The CHS lefty hit the first batter he faced, but managed to get out of the inning without any more damage.
“Nick was working his butt off,” Cook said. “He just couldn’t locate his curveball, and you saw what they did to the fastball. We knew what was in front of us. I wished better for him (Smallman).”
Galena coach Gary McNamara said his team has been resilient all season.
“We’ve been doing that all year,” McNamara said. “When something goes against us we answer right back. It tells you a lot about the character we have.”
Galena added a run in the second when Hess homered off Sawyers, who did a solid relief job. Galena added two in the fourth when Maupin singled and scored on Azzam’s homer for a 10-1 lead.
Sophomore Matt Rutledge blanked the Grizzlies over the final two innings.
Thompson, who allowed a run and three hits in the top of the first, gave up his second run in the fifth when Markus Adams doubled, moved to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryt Lewis.
After striking out the side in the sixth, Thompson left the game after yielding a leadoff homer to Smallman. Matt Evans came and closed out the game.
McNamara was pleased with the effort by his star right-hander.
“He did a great job,” McNamara said. “He had to miss his last start because he hurt his (right) knee, so this was the first time he’d pitched in three weeks. I wasn’t expecting him to be that sharp. Coming back after three weeks is tough.”
While McNamara praised Thompson, it was his offense that really came in for well-deserved kudos. He also talked about the make-up of his team and its approach to the game.
“I was extremely pleased with our hitting,” he said. “They threw so many off-speed pitches, and we showed patience.
“I’m impressed. This is our 32nd win, and we haven’t taken a day off. We don’t take anybody for granted.”
CARSON 10, MANOGUE 3
After three losses to the Miners, the Senators broke through in a big way to reach the bracket finals.
Carson rode the bat and arm of Tony Fagan to the easy win. Fagan went 4-for-4, including two homers, and drove in six runs. He also went the distance on the mound, scattering six hits and striking out six batters.
“I gave him the ball and told him to get us to the next game,” Cook said. “He went out there and pitched the way he has all year. He always wants the ball.
“They say it’s tough to beat a team three times, but what about four. We were fortunate enough to have our ace available this late in the tournament.”
Fagan threw five scoreless innings before allowing a three-run homer to Joe Weiland in the top of the sixth.
“I came out yesterday and pitched a few innings,” Fagan said. “They wanted me to throw the first one today to get them to the second game. I was pitching inside real well. In high school, that’s a hard pitch to hit. A lot of hitters either can’t hit it or roll over on it.”
Fagan was obviously more eager to talk about his hitting, especially his two towering homers.
“A bloop and a run-out hit and then I finally started hitting the ball,” said the Carson senior. “The first one (homer) was a fastball. The second was a curve. I think he was trying to have it stay inside. It looked like he was trying to loop it in.”
Fagan drove in the Senators’ first run with the aforementioned bloop double to right. He hit a two-out infield single and scored on David Leid’s triple to right-center field. A bloop single by Paul Cagle made it 3-0.
The Senators increased their lead to 7-0 with four runs in the fourth, two coming on Fagan’s first round-tripper, one on a run-scoring single by Lewis and one coming on Adams’ squeeze bunt.
After Manogue scored three runs, Fagan’s second homer, a three-run shot, completed the scoring.
The hitters certainly dominated, but so did Carson’s defense. Kyle Stone made several nice plays at third base, Adams made a sliding stop of a groundball going to his right and Drew Good made a diving catch in center field.
“Kyle Stone was a stud,” Cook said. ” He made all the plays. We played well defensively. We were ready to play.”