Prep Baseball: Northwest Cabarrus 7, Carson 6

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2012

By Jordan Honeycutt
CHINA GROVE — A good baseball player is much like a good steak — they both need seasoning and time to marinate to reach their full potential.
The Carson Cougars are beginning their own seasoning process as most of Chris Cauble’s 2012 opening-day lineup was filled with players getting their first taste of varsity baseball.
That first taste would turn out to be a sour one Tuesday as Carson fell 7-6 to Northwest Cabarrus.
“We’ve got a young team but still you have to execute and we didn’t do a very good job of that tonight,” Cauble said.
The Cougar hitters showed no fear, scoring six runs to support ace pitcher Ethan Free.
Greg Tonnesen led the way for the Cougars offensively in his first varsity start, going 3-for-3 with two RBIs.
“I tried to keep it simple,” Tonnesen said. “Going 3-for-3 in my first game feels great but I wish we could have done more to pull out the win. Just have to practice harder, learn from it and get better.”
Where Carson showed it’s growing pains wasn’t at the plate, but in the field.
A total of four errors were committed by the home team, but even those weren’t the most disastrous occurrences.
The fourth inning was filled with promise for the Cougars but turned out to contain nothing but peril.
Carson had runners on first and second with nobody out and came away empty due to a couple baserunning blunders and a strikeout.
“We just can’t do that,” Cauble exclaimed. “That fourth inning killed us but even so I’m proud of how we fought back later in the game, just didn’t have enough tonight.”
Carson did plate two more in a mini-rally in the sixth before Northwest pitcher Jaron Hogue shut the door.
Credit the Cougars for not showing another kind of fear –– “Seagerphobia.”
Not only did Free and reliever Austin Bracewell pitch to the future first-round draft pick, they each struck him out one time apiece.
“I think Ethan kinda let it get to him after striking him out,” Cauble said. “He got a little excited and you could tell he was a bit rattled from there on out.”
An almost seemingly relieved Northwest Cabarrus coach Joe Hubbard knew his team had survived a scare.
“Carson’s a great team and they have really good young hitters and pitching and we got a little jitters and nerves,” he said. “But glad my guys were able to hone it in and close the game out.

NOTE: Carson travels to Cox Mill today.