Blue Jay defense falters
Bryan Manoukian didn’t pull any punches.
“This is definitely the worst game we’ve played so far,” the Carson Blue Jays coach said. “You lose eight seniors and you are playing with a bunch of young kids. You can’t make six errors and expect to win many, if any, games. Some of our returning players made plays they don’t normally make.”
The Blue Jays made four of their six errors in the first two innings, and the Galena Black Sox went on to post a 12-6 win Friday night at Ron McNutt Field. The win was Galena’s second straight over Carson in a span of three days. Carson dropped to 4-4 on the season.
Carson starter Joe Nelson certainly deserved a better fate. He threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs and only one of them was earned. In one stretch, he retired 10 of 11 batters.
“Joe threw fantastic,” Manoukian said. “I think only one of those runs was earned.”
“The guy on the hill shut us down (after the first),” Galena coach Steve Cook said. “A lot of those runs early came off extra outs they gave us, and when our guys had opportunities they came up with big hits.”
After Sami Baig doubled and went to third on an infield out, Wyatt Nebe (3-for-4) followed with a run-scoring single. Jared Kiessling was safe on a Brandon Allen miscue and Parker Kittlesen was hit by a pitch to load the bases, After a strikeout which should have ended the inning, Matteo Lemus was safe on a Josiah Pongasi error to score a run and Nathan Barry walked to force in the third run.
In the second, Carson made two more errors which led to two more unearned runs and a 5-0 Galena lead.
Allen made up for his error with a run-scoring single in the fourth, slicing the deficit to 5-1.
Nelson, meanwhile, breezed through the third, fourth and fifth innings, allowing just one hit. He turned the ball over to Terek Been with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth. Been induced a 4-6-3 double play out of Tuner Gustafson to end the inning.
The Blue Jays battled back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring three times, to make it 5-4.
Connor Pradere singled and moved to third on Pongasi’s single. Pongasi stole second, and both runners scored on a single by hot-hitting Bryce Moyle. Been was safe on an error, allowing Moyle to score from second to make it 5-4. After Allen walked, Galena starter Parker Campos departed in favor of Zach Williams, who escaped further damage.
The momentum Carson had gained went out the window in the top of the seventh when Galena struck for five runs and three hits, including a two-run single by Tyler Assiff, to make it 10-4. Galena added two more in the eight to make it 12-4 before Carson scored twice on a bases-loaded walk and a hit batsman with the sacks jammed.
“We didn’t make good pitches (in the eighth),” Manoukian said. “And, they had a couple of seeing eye singles. We’ve got to get back to playing better defense.”
“I was happy with the last two innings,” Cook said. “We got a five spot and a two spot, and it was pretty much all us.
“We put a lot of pressure on them defensively to make plays. The ball found the holes.”
Nelson and Conner Leahy led Carson with two hits apiece.
Carson will put seven players on the field in all-star play today at Peccole Park.
This year’s juniors will play at 1 followed by the seniors at 6 p.m.
Bryan Manoukian is one of the coaches for the South junior squad.
The South squad is made up of players from Carson, Douglas, Damonte, Galena, Bishop Manogue and Wooster. The North squad includes players from Reno, Reed, Spanish Springs, McQueen, Hug and North Valleys.
Allen and Pongasi will play for Carson in the 1 p.m. game, while Jace Zampirro, Dom Norton, Chase Blueberg, Gehrig Tucker and T.J. Thomsen represent Carson in the senior contest.