Pinto slam sparks Reed past CHS
For the second consecutive game, the Carson Senators dug a hole they were unable to extricate themselves from.
Jon Pinto whacked a first-inning grand slam, and Reed went on to score in every inning save the seventh in a 14-7 win over Carson on Saturday at Ron McNutt Field in a Northern Division I baseball game.
The win gave the Raiders a sweep of the two-game series. Carson dropped to 6-6 in league play entering Tuesday’s 6 p.m. home game against McQueen.
Carson coach Bryan Manoukian’s team is scoring enough runs to be better than a .500 team at this stretch of the season. The Senators’ pitching staff just isn’t getting people out with any regularity.
“Reed is an outstanding-hitting team,” Manoukian said. “They have a pretty good idea of the strike zone. They are aggressive at the plate and don’t get cheated.
“We walked too many (five) and hit too many (two). That’s too many free bases. That is how they got to 14. They controlled the count, the at-bat. We weren’t able to. We can’t seem to get out of the first inning.”
On Thursday, Reed scored 12 times. It scored four yesterday.
Alec Leighton singled and Kevin Kozuth walked against CHS starter Dom Norton. Joey Dice’s flyball to deep center sent Leighton to third. Brandon Kozuth was plunked with a pitch to load the bases, and Pinto hammered a grand slam to right field for a quick 4-0 lead.
“That jump-started us,” Reed coach John Phenix said. “It lifted everybody up.”
The Raiders made it 5-0 in the second when Leighton doubled and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
The winners tacked on three more in the third. Brandon Kozuth led off the inning with his fourth home run of the year, the seventh long ball by Reed in the series. After retiring the next hitter, Norton walked Pinto and yielded a single to Logan Draper. After Austin Dutra struck out, Austin May drove in two runs with a single to make it 8-0.
As was the case Thursday, the Senators showed some fight. Carson struck for five runs, though all five runs were unearned thanks to a two-out, bases-loaded error.
Josiah Pongasi singled, moved to second on an infield out and moved to third on Gehrig Tucker’s infield single. After Jace Zampirro was retired, Chase Blueberg was walked to load the bases. Norton’s misplayed groundball scored Pongasi to make it 8-1. Brandon Allen followed with a two-run single to slice the deficit to 8-3. The fourth run scored on a wild pitch, and Danny Guthrie singled in the fifth run.
Guthrie went to the mound to start the fourth, and he gave up four runs to make it 12-5. Three of those runs came on pinch-hitter Louis Henry’s double. A wild pitch accounted for the other score. Guthrie hit and walked a batter in the inning, and both scored.
Carson quickly trimmed the lead to 12-7, as T.J. Thomsen walked, and Reed starter Dillon Schlecht was replaced by Thomas Sertic. Tucker greeted Sertic with a two-run homer to right-centerfield. Carson put runners at first and second with two outs, but Sertic got Allen on strikes to quell the uprising.
Reed added single runs in the fifth and sixth off Pongasi, who took over for Guthrie.
It was a rough afternoon all around for the CHS pitchers.
“You don’t want to throw fastballs in fastball situations, but that’s what we had to do because we were getting behind in the count,” Manoukian said. “We don’t have to pitch backwards; we just have to get ahead and not let them control the at-bat. It’s hard to pitch from behind.”
Even though his team won, Phenix knows very well that his pitching needs to improve because a team can’t count on outscoring everybody.
“We are giving up too many runs,” Phenix said. “We have to be able to shut the door.”