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PREPS: Puckett shuts down Senators on 4 hits

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com

Jace Puckett did something no other pitcher has done to Carson High this season – pitch a shutout.

Carson’s normally potent offense was held to four singles by the left-handed Puckett, who pitched Galena to an 8-0 victory Tuesday night at Ron McNutt Field.

The loss dropped the fifth-place Senators to 18-8 overall and 10-7 in Northern 4A play.

Puckett was so dominant that Carson only got two runners in scoring position, and that was in the fifth when Brock Pradere reached on a two-out error and advanced to third on a single by Nick Domitrovich. A walk to Colby Blueberg loaded the bases.

“He did a good job of controlling both sides of the plate,” assistant coach Bryan Manoukian said. “We didn’t make any adjustments. I thought our approach was OK. It was two outs before we got a guy on three innings in a row.”

“He’s good, but I don’t think he was that good to keep us to four hits,” said Carson outfielder Austin Pacheco, who had one of Carson’s hits. “He was leaving the ball in the middle and we didn’t take advantage of his mistakes.”

It was ugly from the outset for the Senators and sophomore Charlie Banfield, who was roughed up for eight runs and six hits over the first three innings.

On his first pitch, Banfield plunked Jorge Medina. Daniel Ferguson followed with a roller to short. Carson shortstop Nick Domitrovich elected to stay back on the ball, and his underhand toss to Brock Pradere was too late to get the speedy Medina at second. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third. Medina scored on an infield roller by Jeremy Rosenthal and Zack Parkinson singled home Ferguson for a 2-0 lead.

In the first and second innings, Carson got singles from Colby Blueberg and Pacheco, but both were easily thrown out on steal attempts to end the innings.

Galena put the game out of reach in the third with six runs, as Banfield plunked two more batters and walked another.

Medina led off with a bunt single, advanced to second when Ferguson was hit by a pitch, moved to third when Rosenthal walked and scored when Parkinson was hit by a pitch. Dustin Granata drove in two runs to make it 5-0. Ryan Ford reached on a fielder’s choice to score Parkinson for a 6-0 advantage, and after an infield out No. 9 hitter Andrew Smagala ripped a two-run single to cap the rally.

Banfield allowed juts two baserunners the rest of the game, but the damage had been done.

“I don’t think he was really confident or relaxed,” Manoukian said. “His pitch count was good (93). He settled down (after the third). They didn’t get anything going. I don’t think he relied on his mechanics as much as he needed to.”

The closest Carson came to scoring was the fifth. After two outs, Pradere reached on an error, Domitrovich singled and Blueberg walked. Puckett kept the shutout intact when he got Rory Petersen to fly out to left.

NOTES: The teams clash again today, this time at Galena at 3:45 p.m. … Carson is expected to send Blueberg to the mound … Carson hosts Manogue on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. and then visits the Miners in the regular-season finale for both teams on Friday. Adam Whitt will start one of the games with Drew Moreland or Casey Wolfe the likely candidates for the other game against the Miners.