The Carson Oil baseball team showed new coach Jeff Lahti something Monday that he hadn’t seen in the first seven games this summer: “A little excitement.”
“I told the guys that I was tired of talking and that they needed to start firing each other up,” said Lahti, whose team improved to 3-6 in American Legion play with a split of Monday’s doubleheader at Sandy.
“And the next thing you know, the whole atmosphere changed. They started cheering each other on and talking it up in the dugout. You could tell they were starting to loosen up and have a little fun,” he said.
Carson Oil completed a grueling week of games Monday by taking game one, 8-5, on a come-from-behind effort that saw the entire team contribute.
A five-run fourth inning helped Carson come back from a 5-1 deficit, and two more runs in the fifth helped seal the game for pitchers Casey Hampton, Bryan Nishimoto and Luis Jimenez.
Ryan Pratt and Jeremy Belcher each went 2-4 to lead a nine-hit offensive explosion, and both continued to swing the bat well in an 8-6 game two loss.
Pratt hit a three-run homerun in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3, but Sandy came back with three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to go up 8-3.
But Carson battled back to score three runs in the top of the seventh to make things interesting.
“Our guys were really workin’,” Lahti said. “Anyone can lose games if they just sit back and let things happen. But our team is beginning to figure out that you have to work hard to win games. That was the biggest positive I took away from Monday,” he said.
Carson had just played a nine-inning game Sunday against 3A powerhouse Estacada, which they lost by a score of 4-1.
Carson committed just one error on the day and pounded out nine hits. But they also left six runners on base, which ended up being the difference in the ballgame.
“Their pitcher was pretty strong and kept us off balance the whole game,” Lahti said. “But we played solid defense the entire way and hit the ball well. We just couldn’t get the hits with runners in scoring position.”
Jeremy Belcher pitched the first four innings and gave way to Jarrod Fogle for the remaining five. Official hitting stats were not available at press time.
Carson also played a Friday home doubleheader against Benson, and split the twin bill with a 13-3 win in game one, and a 7-4 loss in game two.
Lahti credited Jeremy Fogle and Milo Prideaux with “great execution” of two hit-and-runs in the critical fourth inning of game one. Game one hitting stars were Danny Newton (2-3, 4 RBI) and Jarrod Fogle (2-4, 3 RBI). Fogle also pitched four shutout innings in relief during game two.
Carson plays a home doubleheader Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Marshall.