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Seniors overwhelm Carson

Michael Traum

Fans who watched South Tahoe’s Senior Babe Ruth team take apart Carson Thursday night in South Lake Tahoe could’ve chanted, “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie,” or “Bruuuu-so.”

Either would’ve been appropriate.

Eddie McDonnell belted two home runs while Greg Bruso tossed a two-hit shutout as Tahoe (9-5) won in five innings, 13-0.

“Maybe I’m a new self now,” said McDonnell, a freshman at the University of San Diego who has three home runs in his last five at-bats. “This is totally new for me. I’ve been experimenting with my swing and I guess this is the right one.”

McDonnell’s first blast, a three-run liner to left center in the first inning, put Tahoe ahead 3-0. It was more than enough for Bruso, a prototype fireballer who had Carson fooled with a combination of pinpoint fastballs and knee-stiffening changeups.

“I don’t think I had the pop. But I was throwing strikes and wasn’t that wild. I had a lot of strikeouts with my changeup, which I usually use as a second or setup pitch. They were freezing,” said Bruso, who finished with four Ks. “I was also working on inside pitches. I knew we had the five-run lead, so that helped confidence wise.”

Carson starter Justin Escajeda was in trouble early, allowing four runs in the first, before settling to hold Tahoe scoreless through the next two frames. But the right-hander tired in the fourth, when Austin Merritt doubled and scored on a McDonnell single. Then in the fifth, Escajeda lost control, walking five straight batters before Adam Heggen drove in David McKenna and Merritt. McDonnell followed with a game-ending two-run blast, doing a half-cocked cartwheel as he stepped on home plate.

“I thought Justin threw a good game. It was just his second outing,” said Carson coach Ken Ruppert, whose team didn’t have the arms to replace Escajeda or play the second game of the scheduled doubledip. “You can’t learn anything when you get to that stage of the game. We just ran out of players. It’s just batting practice for the other team.”

McDonnell said Tahoe’s confidence came from having Bruso on the bump.

“I love playing when Greg is pitching. No one else has control like him. It’s like a real baseball game when he pitches. Everyone’s got big-time confidence when he’s pitches,” he said.

Added Tahoe coach David Santee, “When Greg’s on the hill, they go out and make the plays. They know they’re not going to get a lot of walks and that he’s going to get outs himself. It’s like they know they can win. Carson is a good team.”

Tahoe next plays a doubleheader vs. the Reno Raiders at Noon on Saturday. Carson (9-9) hosts Atascadero for a pair on Friday.

Game note: Bruso returned from a recuiting trip at Marshall University prior to Thursday’s contest. He decided not to accept a scholarship to the school and plans to make a school choices withn a week or so. He said he’s exploring opportunities at UC Davis and Sacramento City College.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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