Carson’s Nelson beats Douglas
Joe Nelson didn’t get much offensive support, but he didn’t need it.
Nelson, an incoming junior, threw six strong innings of four-hit ball and helped himself with a run-scoring ground out to lead the Carson Blue Jays to a 2-0 win over Douglas Saturday afternoon at the Reno Knights Memorial Day Tournament at Ron McNutt Field.
Later on Saturday, Carson dropped its first game of the season, 4-2, to the Susanville Renegades.
Nelson threw 91 pitches before turning the ball over to Terek Been, who registered the save.
“That was an outstanding pitching performance,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “His last few starts for the JV team were shaky.”
“I was overthrowing; trying to throw too hard,” Nelson said of his JV outings. “I was throwing my splitter today and locating it well. I was hitting my spots with it.”
Nelson escaped a bases-loaded situation in the first and a first-and-third situation in the fourth. Douglas also left a runner in scoring position in the seventh.
The Tigers were unable to come up with a clutch hit much to the chagrin of coach Bruce Jacobsen.
“You are not going to win any games when you don’t score,” Jacobsen said. “We’re not the type of team that is going to get 10 to 15 hits in a game, so hopefully we’re going to get the clutch hits when the opportunities present themselves. If we had put a couple of runs on the board in the first it would have made a big difference in the game.”
Tomas Lightenbauer led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Cale Kynett walked and Blake Murray moved the runners to second and third with a ground ball to the right side. Logan Fencl walked to load the bases and Nick Wilkinson lined out to Josiah Pongasi at short.
Carson scored the only run it really needed in the bottom of the first off lefty Ben Penwell when Connor Pradere walked and was forced at second by Pongasi, who stole second, was balked to third and scored on Nelson’s roller to shortstop.
Douglas threatened to tie the game in the third, but Nelson caught Fencl looking at a third strike with runners at the corners.
Carson scored its final run of the game in the bottom of the inning, again without the benefit of a hit.
Pradere was hit by a pitch, stole second, moved to third on Pongasi’s infield out and scored on a wild pitch.
Penwell allowed just two hits and was effective in keeping Carson off balance.
“This is such a great hitting league, soft-throwing left-handers are either real effective or don’t last long,” Manoukian said. “He (Penwell) did a good job of making good pitches when he had to and he did a good job of keeping us off balance.”
Zach Davies was the only player in the game to get two hits.
The hitting woes for the Blue Jays continued in the nightcap. Carson managed just three singles off Garrison Collier, giving it five hits in 14 innings.
The Blue Jays grabbed the lead in the first when Pradere was hit by a pitch and moved to third when shortstop Daniel Perry mishandled a throw at second on a potential double play ground ball. Pradere scored when Nelson grounded into a force play.
Carson starter Bryce Moyle was nicked for an unearned run in the second thanks to a throwing error by catcher Joe Birri which allowed Jake Hatzell, who had reached on a walk, to get to third, Izak Davenport walked and stole second, and then Travis Fuller beat out a perfectly placed bunt for a single to score Hatzell. Moyle fanned the next two hitters.
The third proved to be Carson’s undoing.
Justin Spinner reached on a throwing error by Pongasi. Perry followed with a fly to left centerfield. Jessie Lopez never saw the ball, watching helplessly as it dropped in for a double. With runners at second and third, Colby Chavez singled to left to score both runners for a 3-1 lead. The Renegades got runners to second and third, but Moyle retired the next three hitters to keep the damage less than it could have been.
“Jessie never saw the ball,” Manoukian said. “He didn’t communicate to the center fielder (Cody Azevedo) that he’d lost it.”
Carson made it 3-2 in the fourth when Pongasi was plunked and later scored on Jace Keema’s infield roller.
Perry made it 4-2 when he slugged a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left, knocking Moyle from the game. Been pitched well, allowing one hit in his three-inning stint.
Collier was equally effective over the final three innings, allowing two base runners, both in the sixth.
Carson left just one runner on for the game, as Susanville turned three double plays and picked off a runner.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Manoukian said. “Susanville had four or five junior college kids plus some seniors. They were an old team.”