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High expectations for Carson baseball

Charles Whisand
Appeal Sports Editor
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Sean Costella scoops up a groundball during infield practice at Carson High School Wednesday afternoon.
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The reality is, there’s always been high expectations for the Carson High baseball program.

But with an experienced team heading into the 2006 season, expectations are as high as ever.

“Everybody’s been having high expectations around here forever,” said second-year coach Steve Cook. “Our ultimate goal is to go to state and win state every year. Our ultimate goal for this year is to win the last game of the year. We’re going to work hard.”

With a relatively young team last season in his first year, Cook directed Carson to a solid 22-15 record. But Cook knows 22-15 year in and year out isn’t good enough at Carson. “22-15 doesn’t really cut it at Carson,” Cook said.

With a strong nucleus coming back from last year’s team, Cook is confident this year’s club will finish with a better record.

“We’ll improve on the 22-15 record,” he said. “This year we’re pretty much going with the same kids who are a year faster, stronger and bigger. As long as our attitude’s good and they play together as a team we could have a pretty good year.”

Two teams from the Northern 4A will advance to the NIAA 4A State Tournament and Cook said the early favorites to make it to state could be Galena and Reno.

“I’d have to say you have to put them in front of us right now as favorites in zone,” he said.

But he also said teams such as Wooster, Douglas and Spanish Springs can’t be counted out.

“It’s the same cast of characters on both sides,” Cook said. “We’re saying that before you even throw one pitch.”

Carson returns its three leadoff hitters from last year. Leadoff hitter Royal Good returns in centerfield, No. 2 hitter Kevin Schlange returns at shortstop and No. 3 hitter Logan Parsley, who has signed with Western Nevada Community College, returns at second base.

Brooks Greenlee, who was a starting infielder for most of last year, will be the starting catcher this season. Greenlee is a valuable utility player, who will also serve as Schlange’s backup at shortstop. David Leid will back up Greenlee at catcher.

The battle at first base will come down to Josh Caron, T.J. Hein and Rob Valerius. Sean Costella and Bryt Lewis. Lewis could potentially see a great deal of action as the designated hitter as well. Leid can also play third.

Sophomore Markus Adams has been brought up to the varsity and will add depth in the infield.

In the outfield, Jeremiah Teeter, Joe Skates and Jack Maloney are in left and Tony Fagan and Jack Jacquet are in right. “All those guys are pretty much interchangeable,” Cook said.

Among others who could see time at DH are Leid, Johnny Hazeltine and Caron. There’s also Chris Ames, who’s still recovering from an injury sustained during football. Ames could see time as a DH or as a corner infielder. “We’re not going to rush him until he’s ready and healthy to come back,” Cook said.

The pitching staff will be experienced and deep. Caron, Jaquet, Kyle Mandoki and Nick Smallman have a year of experience under their belt as all four saw extensive time as inexperienced pitchers last year. “They battled for us,” Cook said.

Caron, Jaquet, Mandoki and Fagan, who missed last year with an injury, will be the four pitchers who will likely all see time throughout the year in Carson’s three-man rotation in league. Fagan has a fastball in the upper 80s.

“The guys who are throwing it the best are the guys who are going to get the ball,” Cook said.

Smallman will return to his role as a reliever and there’s also Valerius, a sophomore left-hander, and Skates.

Carson will open play a week from today at 11 a.m. in its annual preseason tournament against North Tahoe at Ron McNutt Field. The Senators will begin league play at 3:30 p.m. March 16 at Douglas.