Senators baseball sweeps Mustangs
Senators baseball sweeps Mustangs
BY MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – With three Sierra League series remaining in the season – against North Valleys, South Tahoe and Wooster -the Carson Senators baseball team picked the right time to start heating up.
The Senators, now in fourth place, swept a doubleheader against the third-place Mustangs Saturday, winning 6-4 and 11-10, at Damonte Ranch High School.
Carson, which had a combined 29 hits after losing the series opener, 8-6, Thursday at Ron McNutt Field, improved to 7-5 in conference play and 16-10 overall, while dropping the Mustangs to 8-4, 16-6.
“Today was very important. We pulled them two games closer,” said Carson coach Steve Cook. “Our bullpen did a very nice job, I thought. We try to tell these kids in practice to get a little better every day. The day you get satisfied, you get beat.
“We’ve had tough wins against Reno, Douglas and Damonte Ranch. The expectations for us are very high. We know what it takes to beat a good team. We can’t take anyone lightly.”
Though they lost their series to Reno and Douglas, the Senators found a way to win one game against each team.
And on Saturday they not only found ways to win, but may have found a permanent closer in junior David Perce, who picked up two saves.
With two outs and trailing 4-3 going into the seventh inning of game one, shortstop Markus Adams, who reached base with a double off starter Cody Stevens, moved over to third when third baseman Kyle Stone flew out to center field.
Then, in a radical departure from Carson’s effective small ball approach, Adams timed Stevens when he wound up to deliver his pitch to Paul Cagle and stole home to tie the game at 4-4.
“Me and Cookie talked about it. He asked me if I had it,” said Adams, who has been playing most of the season with a severely broken nose. “I was just worried if Cagle was going to take my head off. He’s a big kid.”
“I have a reputation for being too conservative,” Cook said. “Markus was at third base with Cagle up with two outs, he looked at me like, I got it, I got it. I said, ‘See how far down the line you can get (on a lead).’ He said, ‘I got it, I got it. Give me a pitch (to go on).’ Then the kid took off.”
And so did Carson’s fortunes.
Stevens walked Cagle before being replaced by Joey Webb, who surrendered a single to Carson starter Rob Valerius and a walk to pinch hitter Dustin Buttner. Right fielder Tommy Preston (2-for-4) came up with a two-RBI double to put Carson up and set the table for Perce.
“Tommy’s just a solid player,” Cook said. “He can run, he can bunt and he fields his position in the outfield. He’s been in the right spot at the right time for us.”
So was Perce.
At 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, Perce generates a surprising amount of power and he struck out leadoff batter Brian Walsh, Ray Daniels and Anthony Rosa to end the game.
Valerius went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned,) four hits and two walks, while striking out six. Reliever Tyler Smith, who went 1 1/3, gave up one hit and hit one batter, but took the win.
“He’s been on again and off again, but sometimes you can’t touch him,” Cook said of Perce. “He and Smitty are looking very good. We have a lot of confidence in those two.”
Stevens, who took the loss, gave up 10 hits and four earned runs, hitting a pair of batters and striking out three.
Valerius was 3-for-4 and scored two runs for Carson, which scored two runs in the second and one in the third before surrendering its 3-0 lead one run at a time in innings three through six.
In game two, the Senators sent 11 batters to the plate in taking a 7-0 lead in the first inning.
Damonte battled back, scoring three runs apiece in the first two innings to get within one at 7-6.
Carson starter David Eller lasted two innings, giving up six earned runs and seven hits, before reliever and eventual winner David Charles came in to start the third.
Speedster Dew Good, who ran down several balls in center field throughout the day, literally knocked Mustangs starter Anthony Rosa out of the game in the fourth inning, drilling a hard-hit ball that injured Rosa’s hand and ended his day.
First baseman Brett Valley, who went a combined 7-of-8 with 5 RBI, drove in Good with a double, and Stone (2-for-5) brought in Valley when he grounded into a double play to give Carson some breathing room with a 9-6 lead.
Valley went 5-for-5 with four RBI in game two and put Carson up 10-7 in the fifth when he drove Preston home with a single.
“I though we played really well and had some clutch hits,” said Valley, a junior. “Everybody contributed today. I think it was a great team effort. Everything was pretty flat – it wasn’t too hard to see (at the plate). They were a good ballclub with some good pitchers. “
Daniels brought the Mustangs to within 9-7 with a groundout in the fourth and, after Stone capped off Carson’s scoring with an RBI double in the fifth (to make it 11-7), Damonte Ranch nearly came back.
Chad Schryer had a solo homer in the fifth off Charles, before Walsh added a sacrifice fly and pinch hitter Sean Barrett had an RBI double off Smith (who pitched one inning) to make it 11-10 in the sixth.
That left it up to Perce to put the game away in the seventh, which he did. Perce forced Schryer to foul out to first, struck out Devin Carter, walked Taylor Bates and whiffed David Belardes to bring it home for the Senators.
“We all contributed in this win,” said Perce, who has battled back from a torn tendon in his throwing elbow. “I knew my defense had my back if (the Mustangs) hit it. I was feeling good.”
And that’s the way the Senators hope to keep feeling as they head into the stretch of their conference season.
Carson hosts Manogue in a non-conference game Tuesday, beginning at 6:30 p.m., before traveling to face North Valleys in game one of their three-game set Thursday at 3:30 p.m.
• Contact Mike Houser at email@example.com or 881-1214.