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Pitching and timely hitting carries Carson baseball to two more wins

Senators sit at 4-1 before daunting sretch in Northern Region play

By Carter Eckl ceckl@nevadaapeal.com

Carson High baseball took care of business twice on Saturday, picking up wins of 4-2 and 6-3 over Lowry and Truckee, respectively.

The Senators pitching staff put together 14 solid innings of work over the course of the doubleheader behind two quality starts from Ian Fontaine and Damian Branco.

Fontaine went four innings against Lowry, striking out four and allowing two runs (none of which were earned).

Branco picked up in game two where Fontaine left off, throwing a complete game of work with 12 punch outs in the process.

The Carson senior hurler allowed two earned runs, but only walked one batter over his seven innings on the hill.

It was an efficient seven innings as well from Branco, tossing 95 pitches before picking up the winning decision.

“He’s found the ability to command and locate multiple pitches in any count,” said Carson head coach Bryan Manoukian. “His fastball left him there and he came back with curveballs.”

Branco’s command had Wolverine hitters watching a lot of pitches as the senior pitcher cause several right-handed batters looking at backdoor breaking balls.

His stuff was good, but Branco’s pick-off moves to first were also catching runners off guard.

On two separate occasions the Senator starter wound up and caught a Truckee runner flat-footed, leading to two pick-offs at first base.

“He’s an ultra-competitor,” said Manoukian. “He doesn’t ever give in. … A really good pitching performance and hopefully he can build on that.”

After Fontaine opened the contest against Lowry, trey Thomas and Garritt Benavidez came on in relief and threw three innings without allowing a hit.

Taking advantage of free bases

In the second game of the day, Carson saw a lot of its success at the plate come from the same places as it did Friday night.

Thomas, who had a walk-off double against Douglas Friday night, went 1-for-2 against Truckee with three RBIs.

Jade Stotts matched his 1-for-2 line with two RBIs of his own in the second game while also recording a hit against Lowry.

Tanner Hunt was credited with Carson’s only other RBI after drawing a bases loaded walk in the opening frame.

In the opening game against Lowry, it was Bryce Baker, Kenny Aydelott and Garritt Benavidez who each drove in a run for the Senators.

In the two games combined, Carson put together 11 hits as a team while drawing 12 walks at the plate.

Carson now sits with a 4-1 record through five games of the year, but Manoukian knows that the true test for the Senators is just around the corner.

UP NEXT: Carson hits the road its first four Northern Region contests, traveling to Galena (Thursday), McQueen (Saturday) before bussing out to Damonte Ranch and Reno next week.

“This preseason tournament was more about finding guys that can fill roles while we get healthy,” said Manoukian. “That’s as tough a stretch as there is and we’re going to find out what we’re made of real quick.”