Carson High’s Charlie Banfield threw one of the best games of his career, but Douglas’ Nolan Weintz was a tad better.
After a rocky first inning, Weintz finished with a five-hitter and nine strikeouts as Douglas knocked off error-prone Carson 5-2 Wednesday night at Ron McNutt Field.
The loss dropped Carson, which is in the playoffs, to 7-14 in league play while Douglas improved to 12-9. The teams close out the regular season today at Douglas at 3:45 p.m. Neither coach would announce a starting pitcher.
“Banfield is tough,” Douglas coach Bruce Jacobsen said. “He’s one of the best in the league. He and Nolan went at it for a while out there. It was the kind of game you’d expect to see late in the season. Nolan pitched well last year, and he’s been good this year. He can throw three or four pitches for strikes.
“We got those two early runs, and that ended up being big. We had some other opportunities (in the second and third) that we didn’t take advantage of.”
Carson gift wrapped Douglas’ first three runs thanks to five errors, four of which came in the first inning.
“That’s not a way to start any game,” Carson coach Bryan Manoukian said. “Douglas is a good team. They swing the bats, throw strikes and they don’t make errors. Weintz has a good arm. He had a good curveball and spotted his fastball. Charlie threw a great game. It’s unfortunate that we were unable to capitalize on it. That’s the best game I’ve seen Charlie pitch.”
Banfield, who fanned eight, walked one and allowed just two earned runs in 6.1 innings, was dismayed to come out on the short end of the score.
“When you have as many errors as you do hits you’re not going to win,” Banfield said. “I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. I’m starting to feel myself. I wish I’d started sooner. I’ve got more confidence in my change-up and curveball. I was pretty amped up and ready to go. I really wanted to win this one. I’m very disappointed.”
And, Banfield should be. He should have been safely out of the first inning without a run.
With one out, Chase White grounded a ball between first and second that Dom Norton gloved but threw wildly to first, enabling White to reach second. Kaleb Foster followed with a roller to first. Jace Zampirro bobbled the ball and then was unable to apply a tag to Foster, as White reached third. Weintz grounded to third to score White, and then Dillon Lopez hit a liner to left that Luke Maher dropped as Foster trotted home with the second unearned run of the inning.
Carson got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Gehrig Tucker and T.J. Thomsen singled. After Zampirro struck out, Maher atoned for his error with a run-scoring single. Thomsen moved to third on Banfield’s infield out and then Weintz retired Cody Schmidlin to end the inning.
Counting the last two outs of the first, Weintz retired 11 of the next 12 batters.
Banfield wiggled out of a second-and-third situation by retiring Dusty Fisher on pop-up to second and striking out White. In the third, the Tigers put runners at first and second with no outs. Banfield fanned Lopez, retired Cale Kynett on an infield pop-up and Joe Almeida on a fly to center.
Douglas scored another unearned run in the fifth when Foster reached on an error, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a single by Lopez.
The Senators trimmed the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the inning when Norton was hit by a pitch and went all the way around to third on an errant pick-off attempt at first by Weintz. After Casey Wolfe popped out, Tucker singled in the run. Tucker got all the way around to third on a wild pitch and stolen base, but was stranded when Thomsen fanned and Zampirro grounded to third.
After Banfield struck out the side for the second straight inning, the Tigers put together nice rally in the seventh.
Fisher singled, but was thrown out at second by Maher trying to stretch the hit into a double. White walked and then scored on Foster’s double to make it 4-2. Weintz singled Foster to third and Lopez followed with a run-scoring groundout.
Weintz easily set down the Senators in the seventh.