Darrell Moody: Carson’s boys of summer enjoying success
Carson High’s baseball team opened some eyes this past spring when it finished in the first division of the Northern Nevada D-1 standings.
And, the results have been even better this spring.
The Blue Jays have posted an 19-6 record entering Reno’s annual July 4th tournament which starts on July 2.
“Hopefully we’ll just keep flying under the radar,” coach Bryan Manoukian said earlier this week. “I really don’t pay too much attention. We haven’t won anything (yet) that matters.
“The ultimate goal is to be a good high school team in the spring. That’s why we play these games because we want to get better. I think we can be a good team.”
The Reno tournament could be a true litmus test, as Carson will play Boise, NorCal-Sacramento, a team from Seattle and the Sun Devils in addition to Damonte Ranch.
“We play four teams where even if we play well we could lose,” Manoukian said. “We will be facing some quality opponents.”
It isn’t that surprising that Carson is playing so well this summer. The team lost just four seniors off this year’s squad, including starting infielders Brandon Allen and Josiah Pongasi, both of whom are headed to Lassen, and part-time starter Seamus Burns and reserve utility player Nolan Shine.
This is a team that got plenty of experience as underclassmen, and that experience is paying big dividends.
Connor Pradere (.414, 18 RBI) is coming off an all-league season as is catcher-pitcher Kyle Krebs (.421, HR, 18 RBI). John Holton saw action at first, third and the mound in the spring, and is hitting a robust .395 this summer. And, then there is wily all-league left-hander Bryce Moyle, who is 2-3 with a 1.50 ERA and a .260 average.
And, when you throw in sophomores-to-be Jared Barnard and Abel Carter into the mix, things look even better.
Carter is hitting .386 with 16 RBI and only nine strikeouts in 80 plate appearances, and he’s done a great job at third base defensively. Barnard is hitting .418 with 11 RBI, and has been stellar on the mound with a 6-3 record and 1.21 ERA.
“Abel Carter is playing a good third base and he’s improving in the outfield,” Manoukian said. “Both of those guys haven’t given me any reason to question them being on the varsity team next spring or competing for a starting jobs.”
Another key piece to the puzzle is a healthy Joe Nelson, who battled some shoulder/arm issues during the high school season which affected his hitting. Nelson is hitting .441 with two homers and 23 RBI. He is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA on the mound, but he is throwing without pain which is huge.
“He’s hitting really well,” Manoukian said. “It did affect his hitting. He told me that it sometimes hurt more to swing a bat than it did to throw.”
Manoukian has praised the efforts of outfielder-pitcher Cody Azevedo, who is 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA and is hitting .450 with 20 RBI, which is second on the team.
“He is looking like the Cody of last summer and not Cody from this past spring,” Manoukian said.
As we look ahead to the spring, the Senators will have a plethora of arms with Moyle, Azevedo, Holton, Nelson, Barnard, Krebs, Terek Been and possibly Derek Schafer, who is 2-0 in 15 innings this summer.
Manoukian will only need three starters, and in my opinion I’d love to see him keep Krebs behind the plate all year. Having to pitch and catch this past spring did a number on him. Krebs is an outstanding defensive catcher; a smart guy behind the plate.
Barnard can catch, but I’m not a big fan of a starting pitcher also catching. It is too much wear and tear on the arm.
Either way, I think folks in Carson have been treated to a solid summer of baseball, and barring injury, good things are ahead for Manoukian & Co.