PREPS: Quilling beats Grizzlies with glove, bat
RENO – Chance Quilling will remember the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game at Galena for a long time.
Quilling ripped a two-run single to highlight a six-run inning and then in the bottom of the inning he made a sensational over-the-shoulder grab which the Senators turned into a double play en route to a 15-6 win over the Grizzlies.
Carson improved to 19-8 overall and 11-7 in Northern 4A play heading into today’s home game against Bishop Manogue. The Senators and Miners occupy the fourth and fifth spots in the standings and could see each other in the first round of the playoffs.
When asked what was bigger, the hit or catch, Quilling didn’t bat an eyelash.
“The catch,” Quilling said. “It was sick I have to admit. Originally when the ball went up I lost it in the stands …
“It felt good to get that hit after going 0-for-3 the previous night. I just wanted to help the team get some runs across the plate.”
Carson entered the sixth tied at 6, but when the smoke cleared the Senators enjoyed a 12-6 lead thanks to three hits and three Galena errors.
Pinch-hitter Carter Nuckolls reached on a one-out error by shortstop Daniel Ferguson. After Galena reliever Colby Duncan struck out Austin Pacheco, Nick Domitrovich hit an infield single. A single by Brock Pradere loaded the bases. Rory Petersen followed with a groundball up the middle. Ferguson tried to go to second base for a force, but his toss was late and Nuckolls scored the go-ahead run to make it 7-6.
Quilling followed with a two-run single to make it 9-6. Errors on back-to-back plays plus a double steal that enabled Quilling to score on the back end of the theft completed the barrage.
That set the stage for Quilling’s phenomenal play that was reminiscent of Willie Mays’ over-the shoulder catch against the Indians’ Vic Wertz in the 1954 World Series.
Taylor Higgins led off the Galena sixth with a walk. Andrew Smagala followed with a deep drive to center which Quilling tracked down, fell down and then threw to Domitrovich who fired a strike to Adam Whitt at first base to double up Higgins. The Galena runner would have been out no matter what because he failed to re-tag second.
The Senators tacked on three more runs in the top of the seventh against reliever Brock Raggio, two coming on a towering blast by Pacheco and one on Colby Blueberg’s single.
Blueberg pitched the first six innings. He gave up six runs on seven hits over the first three innings, but blanked the Grizzlies on two hits in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before turning the ball over to Drew Moreland, who pitched a scoreless seventh.
“Colby is a competitor,” Carson coach Cody Farnworth said. “He really battles. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he competed.
“We challenged them to respond (after losing Tuesday) and they did. We have to start believing in ourselves.”
Farnworth still was talking about Quilling’s play several minutes after the game. The catch kept Galena from a potential big inning.
“It’s what we saw in the summer from him,” said Farnworth, who played Quilling extensively in centerfield last summer. “That was a great catch.”
Quilling said he’s feeling more and more comfortable with each game he play. Certainly he’ll be even better by next spring.
Carson opened up a 4-0 lead in the first thanks to a two-run single by Adam Whitt, a wild pitch and a hit batsman with the bases jammed.
Galena responded with two in the first and three in the third for a 5-4 lead. Carson took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the third when Quilling and Blueberg both scored on a wild pitch. Galena evened the game in the bottom of the third, and the score remained deadlocked until Carson’s big inning.