Pongasi’s 3-run HR helps CHS win league opener
Josiah Pongasi was inserted into the lead-off spot three games ago, and he’s been productive, reaching base nine times in his last 12 at-bats.
On Tuesday, Pongasi showed off his power. The junior second baseman laced a three-run homer to highlight a four-run third inning and spark Carson to an easy 13-2 win over North Valleys at Ron McNutt Field in a game called after 4 1/2 innings because of the mercy rule.
Carson, 4-2 overall and 1-0 in league, goes for the sweep on Thursday when it visits North Valleys at 3:45 p.m. Dustin Dutcher is the probable starter for the Senators.
Pongasi is 5-for-8 in his new spot with five runs scored.
“It was a fastball down the middle,” Pongasi said when asked about his homer. “Base hits is all I’m thinking. If I do everything right (the power) will come.
“We came in early and got batting practice. We were all focused. It was our first home game. I think it (being home) is a big deal. We got support from the fans, and we needed that.”
Pongasi wasn’t the only offensive stalwart. Gehrig Tucker went 3-for-3 and Dom Norton went 3-for-4.
All told, Carson’s offense produced 15 hits.
“It was nice to start league with a win,” CHS coach Bryan Manoukian said. “We did a good job with our approach. We worked on that in practice, and it was nice to see us carry it over to the game. We did a good job of driving the ball when it was middle or middle in, and we had some opposite-field hits.
“Josiah is strong and really quick (at the plate). He handled that pitch well.”
After a scoreless first inning, Carson scored four in the second, six in the third and three in the fourth.
In the second, John Holton was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single by JV call-up Joe Nelson. TJ Thomsen dropped down a bunt. NV pitcher Nick Everton threw wildly to first, allowing Holton to score. Pongasi followed with his homer to left to make it 4-0.
In the third, Jace Zampirro singled, moved to second on Holton’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Brandon Allen’s deep double to center. The two-bagger was Allen’s third extra-base hit in two games. After Nelson struck out, Thomsen drew a walk. Pongasi singled home Allen, and Norton tripled to right-centerfield to score Thomsen and Pongasi for a 8-0 lead. Tucker and Zampirro followed with run-scoring singles on bloopers to right to up the margin to 10-0.
In the fourth, Nelson was hit by a pitch and Thomsen walked. After Pongasi fanned, Norton hit a two-run a double and then came around to score on a single by Chazz Nystrom.
That was more than enough support for Blueberg, who worked four scoreless innings before giving way to Nystrom, who gave up both North Valley runs.
Blueberg fanned three and walked six. Not bad for a guy who was ill on Monday.
“Chase did a fantastic job,” the CHS coach said. “He was really sick yesterday, and I wasn’t even sure was going to have him. It was definitely not his best performance in terms of location, but he showed some real guts today.”
Douglas 7, McQueen 0
MINDEN — Kyle Johnson’s three-hit, 13-strikeout performance Tuesday led the Douglas High baseball team to a 7-0 Northern Division I victory against McQueen.
Johnson struck out six of the last seven batters he faced to close out his second shutout in as many starts so far this season for Douglas (5-1 overall, 1-0 league). The senior right hander has thrown 12 scoreless innings to go with 22 strikeouts, including a 10-0 five-inning win against Truckee last Thursday.
Kaleb Foster’s two-run homer over the right field fence ignited a five-run third inning that put the Tigers on top for good. Cole Peck also hit a two-run single in the third.
Cale Kynett added an RBI single in the fifth as Douglas scored two more runs to extend its lead to 7-0.