CHS baseball loses a heartbreaker
CHS leaves 10 runners in last six innings, cannot hold 7-1 lead in defeat
RENO — Carson High has lost some tough postseason games in the past three years, but none tougher than Tuesday’s 9-8 eight-inning setback at the hands of the Galena Grizzlies.
The loss sends Carson on the road today in an elimination game at Damonte Ranch. The regular-season co-champs dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 8 McQueen, First pitch is 4 p.m. with lefty Bryce Moyle expected to get the call on the mound.
What made this one tough to swallow was Carson, on the strength of six second-inning runs, led 7-1 entering the bottom of the second. In the last six innings, Carson stranded 10 of its 13 runners and managed just one third-inning run against three Galena relievers.
“All losses are tough,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian. “No one is more tougher to take than another.
“We stopped executing offensively after the second inning. We allowed them to claw their way back into it. Galena is a good team. They can hit the ball.”
The Grizzles outhit the Senators 20-17, 10 of those coming in the last four innings.
“It was a good high school baseball game,” said Galena coach Dave Kulikowski. “I know there were 37 hits, but I didn’t feel the pitching was that bad. We haven’t lost at home yet this year. We kept the faith and that carried us through.”
The inability to hit in the clutch over the final six innings, some bad luck and a couple of fielding mistakes spelled doom for the Senators. Carson left the bases loaded in the fourth, left runners at second and third in the fifth and runners at first and second in the sixth.
“That’s the reason we lost the game right there,” Manoukian said. “We didn’t hit well with runners in scoring position. We need to do a better job.”
The game started to turn in the fifth inning with the Senators holding an 8-4 lead.
After Tommy Lichty struck out, Jared Kiessling homered over the fence in left against CHS starter John Holton. Nathan Barry followed with a groundball to short. Josiah Pongasi bobbled the ball and then fell, allowing Barry to reach first. Tyler Assiff and Travis Bohall singled to load the bases with one out. Sammi Baig popped to second for the second out.
Mateo Lemus followed with a shot in the left-centerfield gap. Seamus Burns dove for the ball, and for the briefest of moments made a circus catch. However when he hit the ground the ball popped out. Burns didn’t realize the ball was on the ground, and was celebrating what he thought was an inning-ending catch. By the time centerfielder Cody Azevedo picked up the ball, three runs had scored and the game was tied at 8.
“It looked like he caught te ball near the heel of his glove and when he hit the ground it came out,” Manoukian said.
Terek Been came on to get the final out of the inning,
Carson threatened after two outs in the sixth when it put runners on first and second. Conner Pradere hit a bouncer up the middle and was thrown out at first on a bang-bang play.
Burns redeemed himself with two nice plays in the seventh.
With runners at first and second, Jared Kittilsen singled to left, Baig was headed home, but put on the brakes when Burns made a strong throw home.
Baig got back to third, but Lemus was thrown out between second and third. Wyatt Nebe followed with a ball deep in the gap in left-centerfield which Burns tracked down to end the inning.
Galena wouldn’t be denied in the eighth.
With one out, Kiessling beat out a high chopper to third, Brandon Allen fielded the ball, but elected not to make the off-balance throw. After Barry walked, Azevedo relieved Been. Assiff followed with a groundball to the right of Pradere at second base. Pradere elected to stay back on the ball, and his throw to second was too late, which loaded the bases. Bohall sent the home fans home happy with a deep fly ball that scored pinch-runner Evan Crosse with the winning run,
“We have to make routine plays,” Manoukian said, referring to the ball to Pongasi and the one to Pradere. “Those are plays you have to make if you expect to win playoff games. Trying to get the force or double play was the right move because the ball took him that direction.”
The offense clicked on all cylinders early, as Dawson Campos yielded seven runs on seven hits in 1.1 innings. Allen, Moyle, Kyle Krebs and Jace Keema had run-scoring hits in the six-run second and Pradere had a two-run single.
As quick as a magician waves a magic wand, the clutch hitting disappeared.