Merk not forgotten
If the current weather pattern continues, there could be a chance of rain or snow in Carson City Friday.
I don’t expect that to happen. Even if it does, I expect the Carson High School baseball team will manage to play its scheduled doubleheader against Scotts Valley (Santa Cruz, Calif.). After all, it’s Merk Human Scholarship Night.
The Senators will play the Scotts Valleys Falcons in games scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. at Ron McNutt Field. The Carson and Scotts Valley junior varsity clubs are scheduled to play a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. Originally, single games were to be played on Thursday and Friday, but McNutt said everything was moved to Friday in an attempt to catch more favorable weather conditions.
“The weather is supposed to improve by Friday and then Saturday is supposed to be in the 60s, so hopefully, increase our chances of missing this storm by playing later on Friday,” McNutt said.
For the second year, proceeds from the gate and concession stands on Merk Human Scholarship Night will all go toward a memorial scholarship fund that benefits players graduating from Carson. Murph Glover, Ben Moore, Tim Priess and Carl Winter received $500 each from the initial scholarship fund last year.
“Everything we do Friday, this is all for the kids,” McNutt said. “This is something Merk would want. It’s Merk’s night. It’s our way of showing that we miss him, and that what we do that night, the proceeds are going to somebody in his name, and I think he would want it that way.”
Merrill R. Human — known simply as “Merk” — was a devoted fan of Carson baseball who attended virtually every game and even team practice for some two decades before he passed away on Dec. 22, 2001. He was always at the games, no matter what the weather conditions were. He simply loved to watch the game, and loved to watch his favorite team.
This figures to be a matchup worth watching. Carson (18-5 overall) will be up against a Scotts Valley team coached by Tom Urbani, who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers between 1993 and ’96 and later helped McNutt as an assistant with the Carson Capitols summer program.
“He had an open date and we had an open date, so they’re coming up here to play a couple of games,” McNutt said. “We’re hoping to keep this going so we can go down there next year to play them.”
Friday will only be the start of a busy stretch on the schedule leading up to the Northern 4A Regional Tournament, which will be played May 7-10 in Reno and Carson City.
On Easter Sunday the Senators fly out of Sacramento to Hawaii, where they will spend the week taking in such sights as Pearl Harbor and Windward, and of course, they will play three games: Tuesday against Mililani, Thursday against Iolani and Castle on Friday. A group of more than 80 players, coaches and fans is making the trip, according to McNutt.
After they return next week, the Senators host Lassen on Wednesday, April 30, then play a crucial three-game Sierra League series against Reno on May 1-2. The two teams — Reno leads the league with its 9-0 record and Carson is second at 10-2 — play a single game at Reno on May 1 followed by a doubleheader the next night at Carson.
“The kids are really looking forward to these next 3 1/2 weeks,” McNutt said. “We’re starting to come around now. Jason Alcasas and Mike Handley have stepped up with some strong pitching performances, our hitting is starting to come around, and the kids have come from behind twice to win, so they’re building confidence.”
The Senators are building confidence at the right time, added the man who has guided Carson High to 627 victories as head coach. “This is turning into a great league race,” McNutt said. “Reno is a good program and they’re obviously not in first-place by mistake, but they still have to play three games against Douglas, and Douglas is playing well right now; and then they play three against us. Wooster and North Valleys still have three big games against each other, too. There are so many possible scenarios, it’s going to be too hard to try and figure everything out until the games are actually played. The main thing is, we’re going to have to take care of our end.”
It’s just the way Merk would have wanted it. (Memorial contributions may be made to the Merk Human Baseball Scholarship, c/o Carson High School, 1111 N. Saliman Road, Carson City 89701.)
Dave Price is a sports writer for the Nevada Appeal