There were plenty of clutch performances to go around for the Carson American 11-12 all-stars in the 5-4 win over Reno American West on Tuesday in their opening game of the district tournament at Reno's Swope Middle School.
Carson beat one of th district's traditional powers in Reno American West. "It was one of the tougher teams in the tournament we just beat," manager Jim Blueberg said.
Mark McCraw hit a 280-foot home run in the third inning, a three-run shot, to highlight a four-run rally that gave Carson a 4-0 lead.
"A towering, towering shot," Blueberg said. "Way out. As long as I've ever seen in Little League. I mean it was a bomb."
Austin Pacheco started and allowed two unearned runs on one hit whil striking out five through three innings for the win. Reno scored two uneared runs after there were two outs to make it 4-2 in the bottom of the third.
Carson added a run in the fifth to make it 5-2 after Bryan Sommers doubled. Pinch runner Brock Pradere scored on Colby Blueberg's single.
Austin Law pitched the last three innings for the save, striking out three. He allowed a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth that made it 5-4.
After the homer, the next batter reached on an error and went to second on a passed ball. But when the runner tried to advance to third on another passed ball, Pacheco, who had moved to catcher, picked up the ball that bounced off the backstop and threw a strike to Pradere to nail the runner at third. "That killed them," manager Blueberg said.
Law struck out the batter at the plate on the next pitch to end the game. Connor Van Dyke also made a key defensive play in right field in the fifth when he trew home to cut off a runner trying to score. Carson eventually got the runner out in a rundown.
Among others who played outstanding defense was first baseman Griffin Wilcher. Connor Beattie and Adam Witt each added a hit and Blueberg went 2-for-3. In his first at bat, Blueberg hit a shot to deep right field that was caught.
"That was a thriller," manager Blueberg said. "it was a great game. It was a lot of fun. It was really a good team win."
Carson American and Carson National will put their 1-0 records on the line today when the Nationals play at 5:30 p.m. against Reno American East and the Americans play at 8 p.m. against Sparks National.