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Grizzlies eliminate Senators from playoffs

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

RENO – The Carson Senators bid farewell to the 2011 season and seniors Adam Whitt and Colby Blueberg after being eliminated from the Northern 4A baseball playoffs 11-4 by the Galena Grizzlies Thursday afternoon at Galena.

Carson finished the season with a 21-11 record, a vast improvement over the 11-14 record from the 2010 season. Improvement by 10 wins is nothing to sneer at, though everybody associated with the Senators’ program would have loved to go longer in the playoffs.

“When we looked at things at the beginning of the year, we wanted to be in the top four or five,” Carson coach Cody Farnworth said. “We also wanted to win 20 games and get in the playoffs and win a few games. Obviously we would have liked to win more than one.

“We competed all year. We’re going to miss Adam and Colby a lot. They meant a lot to our program.”

It was an emotional post-game meeting, and when it was over. Blueberg and Whitt received hugs from their teammates and coaches.

“I’m going to miss it,” Blueberg said. “I grew up with most of my teammates. It will be tough letting go.”

“I wish we’d gotten to this point last year, because we would have had that (playoff) experience going into this year,” Whitt said. “I know these guys are going to do well next year.”

Blueberg compiled a 4-3 record and hit a team-leading .431 with a team-leading nine homers and a team-best 33 RBIs. Blueberg also led the team in runs scored with 37. Whitt compiled a 5-4 record on the mound and hit .304 with 16 RBIs.

Galena, still smarting from Wednesday’s loss to Bishop Manogue, took control of the game from the outset.

Jorge Medina led off with a double and scored on a single by Daniel Ferguson. After Carson starter Charlie Banfield struck out Jeremy Rosenthal, Zack Parkinson singled home Ferguson, who had stole second base, to make it 2-0.

Carson got one of those runs back in the second off Galena starter Beau Cullen when Whitt reached on an error and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice by Nick Domitrovich.

The Grizzlies tacked on four runs in the second for a 6-1 lead. Ryan Ford singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Andrew Smagala. After Banfield hit Medina with a pitch, Ferguson homered over the left-centerfield fence. Banfield got out of the inning without further damage.

Banfield got one out in the third before giving up a solo homer to Dustin Granata which made it 7-1. Casey Wolfe, and not Blueberg, came on to retire the next two hitters.

“I thought we could hit our way back into it, and I didn’t want to waste Colby that early,” Farnworth said. “Charlie left two change-ups up and both left the yard. You have to locate at this level or you are going to get hit (hard). Charlie is going to be one of our horses next year.”

Colby Duncan came on to pitch for Galena in the fifth, and he gave up a leadoff double to Blueberg and a run-scoring single to Petersen to make it 7-2. T.J. Thomsen singled Petersen to second, but Whitt lined to Ferguson at short, who doubled Petersen off at second base.

Galena added two in the fifth and two in the sixth to make it 11-2. The big blow in the sixth was a two-run homer by Rosenthal, his only hit of the day.

Carson scored two in its last at-bat, as Blueberg had an infield single and scored on Petersen’s homer. It was the second year in a row Petersen has homered at Galena.

While Thursday was a downer for the team because of the lopsided loss, it was a big day for Petersen, who went 3-for-4 and drove in three of Carson’s four runs.