Bad first inning dooms CHS |

Bad first inning dooms CHS

Darrell Moody

SPARKS — It was the ugliest inning that Carson High has endured in several years, and it ultimately cost the Senators the game.

Reed sent 15 batters to the plate against Chase Blueberg in the first inning, and came up with 12 runs en route to a 19-8 win Thursday afternoon at Lee Mitchell Field.

Carson dropped to 6-5, while Reed improved to 7-4. The teams meet Saturday at 11 a.m. at Ron McNutt Field.

Each team had 12 hits on a windy day, but the Raiders made more use out of theirs. Of Reed’s 12 hits, five were homers and four were doubles. Carson got homers from Blueberg, Josiah Pongasi and T.J. Thomsen, plus a double by Blueberg. The rest were singles.

“Offensively, I thought we did a fantastic job,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “I’m proud that they didn’t give up. It would have been very easy to pack it in, but the guys kept battling back. We seem to out-hit teams (or be even), but we get beat. This isn’t the first time. I’m not sure what the problem is.

“It was one of those days where Chase didn’t have it. Once his pitch count got between 40 and 50, we needed to go out and get him. It just wasn’t his day. We’re only at the halfway point; we don’t need to stretch pitchers out yet. I thought (Dustin) Dutcher did a good job and so did Guthrie.”

Baseball is a game of numbers, and Blueberg’s weren’t pretty. He was charged with 11 runs, five hits and three hit batsmen in getting just two outs in the first inning. Dutcher gave up three runs, two earned, in 1.2 innings, while Guthrie gave up a run and two hits in 2.2 innings. Reed scored four in the sixth, all four coming off Josiah Pongasi, who gave up two-run homers to Joey Dice and Patrick Burrows, the last one getting the Raiders to a mercy-rule situation.

“It was a windy day, and the ball was flying out of here,” Reed coach John Phenix said. “As a hitter, sometimes everything you see is big, and other times it’s not. Hitting is contagious. A couple of guys get on a roll and everybody else picks it up.

“We started to try and hit it out of the park. I was impressed with Carson’s approach. They squared it up and tried to make solid contact. With the wind is blowing like this, you are going to score more.”

Blueberg helped himself with a solo homer in the first as the Senators grabbed a 2-0 lead.

However, Blueberg gave a three-run shot to No. 9 hitter Jacob Lehmann and doubles to Austin May and Alec Leighton, and he also hit three batters before handing the ball off to Dutcher, who gave up a three-run homer to Patrick Burrows. Only Burrows’ run was charged to Dutcher.

Reed extended its lead to 13-2 in the second on a run-scoring double by Leighton. A two-out error by Gehrig Tucker kept the inning alive. Carson made it 13-4 in the top of the third on a solo homer by Thomsen and a run-scoring single by Dom Norton. Reed made it 14-4 in the last of the third on a bases-loaded walk to May. Guthrie came on to retire the next two hitters.

Carson enjoyed its most productive inning in the fourth, scoring four times on four hits to make it 14-8.

Connor Leahy singled and scored on Pongasi’s homer to right-centerfield. Thomsen singled, Jace Zampirro walked and Blueberg reached on an error that scored Thomsen. Norton hit into a 6-4-3 double play that scored Zampirro with Carson’s final run.

Brandon Kozuth’s solo homer off Guthrie made it 15-8, and the Raiders closed it out with the aforementioned four-run sixth.