But they only got two of those key performances Thursday as Carson earned a series split with a 5-4 road win.
With the score knotted at 4-4 in the top of the sixth, T.J. Thomsen singled and became the go-ahead run for the Senators with one out.
Reed starting pitcher Spencer Jones induced a groundball to shortstop and it could have been a tailor-made double play. But the throw from short to second base went into right field. Thomsen advanced to third on the Raiders’ third error of the game. Jake Means relieved Jones after the Gehrig Tucker fielder’s choice.
Means struck out the first batter he faced, but a Nick Domitrovich jam shot dropped down into shallow left field, pushing across what proved to be the eventual game-winning run.
Down to its final two outs of the game, Reed made it exciting. Senior A.J. Silva doubled off the base of the fence in left field.
Chuck Stroberg followed, lifting a fly ball to right field. Silva was on the verge of scoring the game-tying run on Stroberg’s two-bagger, but Silva was called out at the plate for not avoiding contact. Silva slid too far out of the base path in an attempt to disrupt the catcher even though he would have been safe otherwise. Stroberg tried to move up to third when the ball got away from the catcher, but he was called out at third, ending the game.
“The play at the plate, I didn’t see it very well because I was watching the trail runner, but it was the right call. He went out of the base path instead of sliding straight in and he would have been safe,” Reed assistant baseball coach John Phenix said. “We’ve got to learn from that experience.”
Reed broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the second when it appeared Carson got out of the inning. With runners on the corners and two outs, Carson pitcher Drew Moreland put a spin on an old classic pickoff move, stepping off the rubber and faking to first before spinning and gunning to third.
Most in attendance thought Reed base runner Joey Dice was dead to rights at third. The Senators started running off the field and even Dice wandered off third base like he had been called out. However, the umpire called him safe and Brett Chaney alertly hustled to second from first with no one covering.
That set up Connor Cox’s two-run bloop single off the end of his bat into shallow right field, handing the hosts a 2-0 lead. It was short-lived.
The Senators benefited from their own good luck in the top of the third and recorded their first hits off Jones. With one out, Tucker hit a fly ball to right field that Drew Bryant did not see. The ball carried over Bryant and Tucker scampered into third with a triple.
Brock Pradere stepped up to the plate and sent him home with a high chopper through the hole between shortstop and third base, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
With two outs, Carson claimed a 3-2 edge as Luke Maher launched a towering fly ball that carried and carried over the fence in right-center field despite initially looking like it would stay in the ballpark.
Still, the Raiders were not about to let the Senators keep the lead for long.
Reed’s Ryan Butler ripped an 0-2 hanging curve off the fence in left for a leadoff double. Beau Tittensor did his job, advancing Butler to third with a grounder to second.
Silva sat on a first-pitch breaking ball and drove it opposite field for a game-tying base knock.
Moreland tried holding Silva on at first, but a third straight pickoff attempt was off the mark and Silva sprinted all the way to third on the two-base error. Silva trotted home when Stroberg hit a 1-2 curveball through the drawn-in infield, making it a 4-3 ballgame in favor of the home team.
The visitors came right back and knotted the game at fours in the top of the fourth frame. Thomsen’s one-out double down the left-field line from the No. 9 spot in the order initiated the game-tying rally. A misplayed grounder at short put runners on first and third. Reed almost got out of the inning unscathed, but an attempted double play was a split second too slow, enabling Thomsen to score on Pradere’s RBI fielder’s choice.
Chuck Barfield picked up the win in relief for the Senators after not allowing a run.
Dice was 2-for-2 for the Raiders, while Silva and Stroberg were both 2-for-4. Thomsen, Domitrovich and Casey Wolfe all rapped out two hits apiece in Carson’s 10-hit attack.
Reed (11-10, 6-8 in Northern 4A) will have another chance to pick up a league sweep when it heads to North Valleys Saturday for Game 1 of its series against the struggling Panthers. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
“I thought they’ve come along the last four or five weeks. Sometimes it takes time,” Phenix said. “Some guys are starting to step up a little bit. We’ve had three or four guys who have been pretty consistent. And now some of the other guys are picking it up a little bit.”