Senators pound out win against Wooster
Appeal Sports Writer
Carson High used a little small ball and a couple of big balls to remain undefeated in Sierra League play.
The Senators laid down two run-scoring bunts in an eight-run second inning, and Tony Fagan and Nick Smallman each hit two-run homers to lead Carson past Wooster, 16-7, Tuesday afternoon at Ron McNutt Field.
Carson improved to 4-0 in league heading into Saturday’s double-header at Wooster starting at 10 a.m. Fagan and Smallman will take the hill for the Senators.
“We got two basehits bunting today,” Carson coach Steve Cook said. “We take pride in our bunting. Small ball is part of the game, an important part. We work on bunting everyday.
“Anytime they see a squeeze (or bunt) sign, there is confidence in our dugout that the batter will get it down.”
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the second, Smallman dropped down a one-out, two-strike squeeze bunt scoring Fagan with the Senators’ first run.
“What’s the worse that can happen?,” Cook asked. “If he fouls it off, we still have the bases loaded.”
After a strikeout, Markus Adams walked to force home another run. Drew Good bunted to drive in a run, Bryt Lewis singled home two runs, Paul Cagle singled home another and Fagan doubled home the final run before Wooster starter Jordan Lewis retired the side.
Lewis’ hit atoned for a first-inning, two-out throwing error that led to three unearned runs off starter Kyle Mandoki, who struggled mightily with his control early on.
A key play in the inning was when Fagan’s pop foul dropped between third and home.
“That extended the inning,” Cook said. “When teams extend the inning for us, we have been capitalizing on it.”
Carson added an unearned run in the third on two errors by Scott Green at shortstop. Smallman, who went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, had the Senators’ lone hit in the inning.
Mandoki yielded a leadoff homer to Brett Howsley in the fourth to make it 9-5, but he departed after walking two hitters. The runners moved to second and third, but Kyle Stone got Alex Gonzalez on a fly ball to center to end the inning.
Stone went on to throw the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs and five singles, to pick up the win.
“He (Mandoki) struggled a little bit,” Cook admitted. “He’s been struggling a lot this year. He was able to get back a little confidence after that eight-run inning.
“Stoner (Stone) is a sophomore, and he either has great composure or he’s too dumb to know the situation. It’s the second time in a row he’s come in and done a good job for us.”
Carson’s hitters took over in the final three innings, scoring seven more times on seven hits.
Cagle hit a one-out single in the fourth and Fagan followed with his third homer in the last four games. That made it 11-5.
“I’m just hitting fastballs,” Fagan said. “I got two in a row. I better be able to hit it sometimes. That’s the second game in a row I’ve hit a homer.”
Cook said he likes the way Fagan is swinging the bat, and he’s been successful in protecting the hot-hitting Cagle in the No. 4 spot.
A run-scoring fielder’s choice by Good and a run-scoring single by Cagle made it 13-5 in the fifth. The Colts scored twice off Stone to make it 13-7.
Smallman capped a tremendous outing when he slammed a two-run homer with no outs in the sixth. Carson added another run on two walks and a single.
“He’s been showing a little home run power,” Cook said. “He’s been a pitcher the last two years. We let him swing in the summer, and lo and behold he turned into a pretty good all-around player.”
Fagan credits Smallman’s power surge on the lasagna they consumed at Smallman’s house Wednesday night.
“He (Smallman) hits the ball hard in practice all the time,” Fagan said.
One other thing Cook liked seeing is the Senators’ ability to keep innings alive after two outs. Carson batters had six hits after two outs, including four in the eight-run second inning.
“I try to tell the kids that two outs doesn’t mean the inning is over with,” Cook said.
And, the Senators took that to heart and produced in a big way.
Notes: Cagle, Fagan and Smallman all had three hits, and the trio drove in nine of the Senators’ 16 runs …Carson hitters drew five walks, and three of those runners scored … True the Senators are 4-0, but they have the meaty part of their schedule coming up with Reno, Douglas and North Valleys.