Lopez ends the drought for CHS vs. Reno
Jesse Lopez wiped out many years of frustration with one swing of the bat.
Lopez hammered a 2-1 fastball in the right-centerfield gap for a one-out double to drive in three runs and give the Carson Senators a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Reno Huskies Tuesday afternoon at Ron McNutt Field.
The win was the first regular-season victory against the Huskies since March 22, 2008, a span of 14 games. Carson did beat Reno on March 12, 2011 in the season-opening Mike Bearman Tournament.
“This team (Reno) has not allowed us to win many games, if any, in my career here,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said after the win. Steve Cook was the head coach the last time CHS won a regular-season game against the Huskies.
This was as improbable win as there ever was. Reno outhit Carson, 9-4, and the Senators were helpless at the plate for the first six innings against crafty lefty Christian Chamberlain, who fanned nine and walked just one. Except for an unearned run in the first, Carson didn’t get a runner past first until the fateful seventh inning.
Chamberlain walked Jace Keema to open the seventh, and Reno coach Pete Savage brought in Roger Koci to relieve Chamberlain. Simply put, the move backfired because Koci couldn’t throw strikes.
After striking out Abel Carter looking, Koci walked Terek Been and plunked Bryce Moyle to load the bases. Koci fell behind 2-1, and then grooved a fastball to Lopez, who ripped one into the gap. Keema and Been scored easily, and Moyle, with Manoukian running alongside and wildly waving him home, beat the relay throw easily. “It was my first walk-off ever,” said a smiling Lopez, who was mobbed out by second base when the play ended. “It was a fastball. He had been struggling trying to throw strikes and I knew he didn’t want to walk me. I timed his first fastball pretty well. I think that was the hardest hit ball I’ve had all year.”
“Jesse has been working really hard; working hard in the cage,” Manoukian said. “It couldn’t happen to a nicer kid.”
Lopez’s hit made a winner of senior right-hander John Holton, who yielded nine hits, but made some big pitches when needed.
Holton breezed through the first two innings, but was touched for two runs and four hits in the third.
With one out and runners on first and third, Chamberlain helped his own cause with a run-scoring single. Jackson Pappas delivered a run-scoring infield hit on a groundball between third and short. Carter made the pick-up, looked at second and then threw too late to first.
Holton worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth and gave up a run-scoring double in the sixth to Ryan Boucher which made it 3-1.
“I thought everything was working pretty good,” Holton said. “They are a good hitting team.”
“John is a senior,” Manoukian said. “He’s a warrior. That was a tough, gritty performance, one you need in a game like this.”
Manoukian was a little disappointed with the offense which managed only four hits. Six times Carson hitters looked at called third strikes.
“We have to stop worrying about the umpire’s zone,” Manoukian said. “We fouled off a lot of hittable pitches. We have to fix that.”