Carson extends winning streak over Tigers |

Carson extends winning streak over Tigers

by Donnie Nelson

When will it end?

The Carson High School baseball team extended its winning streak over Douglas to eight games Thursday with a 4-1 victory.

The visiting Tigers managed just two hits against Darrell Rasner, who is arguably the top pitcher in the Class 4A Northern Zone. The loss dropped Douglas to 8-3 in league and into fourth place. Carson improved to 10-1 and, coupled with Fallon’s loss at Lowry, took over sole possession of first place.

The Tigers can’t spend too much time dwelling on the loss or the streak because they jump right back into action today with a doubleheader at McQueen. The Tigers are in a must-sweep situation if they hope to stay in the title race. Today’s games mark the half-way point of the league season.

“We played a clean game, that’s what I asked for. I told them to put it out of their heads by the time they get on the bus,” Douglas coach Lars Baker said after Thursday’s loss. “We need to sweep this weekend. After that, we have 13 more games to focus on.”

The Tigers certainly didn’t shoot themselves in the foot at any time Thursday and they had chances to win. Brady Ovard turned in a fine performance on the mound, giving up seven hits and three walks while striking out four against a potent Carson lineup. But, the Senators came up with the big hit and Rasner got the right call time and time again.

“We couldn’t put the ball in play and make something happen,” Baker said. “(Rasner’s) particularly tough to hit when our players don’t see that caliber of pitcher but once or twice a year.

Carson stuck first with one run in the bottom of the second.

Austin Leck, the clean-up hitter, started the rally with a single up the middle. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Staub and then scored on a one-out double to the gap in right-center field by Steve Bauman.

Ovard was ahead of Bauman in the count, 0-2. His third pitch to the No. 6 hitter in Carson’s lineup looked good but was called a ball.

Carson extended the lead to 2-0 with another run in the third.

Cisco Melende, the lead off hitter, started the rally with a one-out double to left field. He scored five pitches later when Justin Serrano pounded a single through the left side of the infield.

Ovard had two strikes on both Melende and Serrano and appeared he should have had a called third strike on both batters, but couldn’t get a break.

“There were a lot of close pitches, four of them, that could’ve gone our way,” Baker said. “Sometimes you get those, sometimes you don’t. Brady needed them because he is not a power pitcher.”

Dave Jones was Douglas’ lone bright spot on offense. He had both of the Tigers’ hits, including a solo home run over the fence in right-center in the fourth. Jones’ second-inning single snuck just inside the bag at first and his homer carried well with the steady left-to-right wind.

Douglas batters couldn’t create their own breaks. They struck out 11 times against Rasner, including six times looking. They walked four times, including three times with one out or less, but never got past second base outside of Jones’ homer.

The Senators added an insurance run in the fifth and seventh.

Staub doubled to right-center to open the Carson fifth. He moved over to second when Bauman walked on four pitches and then stole third. He scored on a ground out to second by Joe Mercer.

Staub opened the Carson seventh with a single and eventually scored on a single by Mercer.

The Douglas defense, however, didn’t give the Senators anything more than they earned.

Bauman eventually reached third base in the fifth, but he was picked off. Mercer advanced to second in the seventh, but he was caught stealing third. Douglas catcher Tom Joyner kept everything in front of him and third baseman Bruce Jacobsen made a couple of nice put outs.

Ovard threw 97 pitches with 59 going for strikes. He threw 45 of those pitches in the third and fourth innings combined, but only 16 in the first and fifth innings combined. He got the Senators to go three up and three down in those two low-pitch innings.

Rasner threw 99 pitches with 63 going for strikes. He threw 43 of those pitches and issued four walks in the sixth and seventh innings combined. The Tigers also went just three up and three down twice.

Douglas mounted a bit of a rally in the seventh when pinch hitter Nate Muren and Joyner walked with one-out, but Rasner struck out the last two batters looking.

“(Rasner’s) outstanding,” Baker said. “He can put the ball all around the plate.

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