Senators, Grizzlies split in home run derby
RENO – Not surprisingly, the Carson Senators and Galena Grizzlies played home run derby during their Northern 4A baseball doubleheader on Saturday.
Carson started out strong by slamming five home runs en route to a stunning 19-2 opening-game verdict, handing the Grizzlies their first loss of the season.
Galena dropped four bombs in game two. Coupled with Josh Green’s sterling relief pitching performance and Joe Hooft’s alert base running, the Grizzlies rebounded to pull out an 11-10 victory.
Green pitched four shutout innings and the speedy Hooft scored the winning run on a wild pitch with one out in the bottom of the eighth to salvage the split that left Galena (11-1) and Carson (9-4) second and third, respectively, in the conference standings.
“Up here at Galena, you kind of live and die by the long ball,” said Green, who hit 3-for-4 with a key double and three-run homer in addition to finish as the winning pitcher in game two. “Today, we lived with it, but in the first game, we got burned.”
Game one was all Carson, as Matt Leck and Brian Kleidosty went deep twice while Joe Mercer homered once before the game was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.
Leck and Kleidosty hit two-run shots in Carson’s seven-run second inning, then Mercer and Leck homered back-to-back as the Senators added five more runs in the third to make it an 18-1 game.
“The kids came out ready to play today,” Carson coach Ron McNutt said. “We just had one of those games where we were hitting the ball and it was falling our way. And this is a home run park.”
Chris Padgett (4-1) was the beneficiary of Carson’s 14-hit barrage. The welcome support didn’t come as any surprise to the senior right-hander.
“I knew they would (score runs),” Padgett said. “Everyone came out ready to play ball, and this place has the short porch. They just put the ball in play and good things happened. It was real nice.”
The 300-foot porch in right field at Galena provides an inviting target for hitters.
“The fence is short for both teams,” Galena coach David Callaway said. “The first game was just embarrassing. Carson came ready to play and we didn’t, that was the main thing.”
Game two started out on a similar note. Leck hit a two-run homer to right as Carson took a 3-0 first-inning lead and Marc Liveratti hit a line drive two-run homer to right in the second to help the Senators extend their lead to 6-0.
Galena came back to score seven runs in the bottom of the second, ignited by back-to-back home runs from freshman Steve Lerud and Jeff Cowles, followed by Billy Paganetti’s two-run single and Green’s three-run homer to right-center.
“As a team, we didn’t think we were out of it,” Green said. “It was just a total team effort.”
Paganetti hit his 11th homer of the season, a two-run shot to give Galena a 9-7 lead in the fourth. Carson’s Evan McQuirk answered with a game-tying two-run shot in the fifth before Green came on to pitch in relief.
Carson scored one more run on a throwing error in the fifth, but otherwise, Green was untouchable. The senior left-hander retired 12 of the 15 batters he faced, allowed one hit, struck out five and walked one.
Green also doubled and scored to tie it at 10-10 in the seventh. The Grizzlies were in position to put the game away right there, but Carson starter Ken Heald (4-1) escaped from a bases-loaded, no-out jam thanks to two straight swinging strikeouts on full-count pitches.
Galena won it in the eighth when Hooft reached base on an infield hit. Hooft took second on a slow roller down the first base line, and the junior alertly dashed to third on the play. Moments later, he scored the game-winner on the wild pitch.
“I feel bad for the kids, that’s a tough way to lose a game,” McNutt said. “It was nice to come out of here with one win, but it’s hard to be happy when you know you could have had two.”
The Senators will send Randy Loff to the mound on Tuesday when they visit fourth-place Fallon for a 3:30 p.m. contest. Galena hosts Reed on Tuesday.