If there is one word Blue Springs Rod’s Sports A’s manager Tom Bush used to describe third baseman Sam Carlson it’s “tough.”
He’s definitely displayed toughness the past couple of days.
In Game 1 of a doubleheader against rival Blue Springs Post 499 Fike on Tuesday, a ground ball off the bat of Tommy Mortallaro took a bad hop and smacked Carlson in the mouth.
One of his teeth pierced his skin above his upper lip and he was kneeling for 20-plus minutes until Bush and a few other coaches helped him stop the bleeding. He was still bleeding even when he got to the dugout and Bush was going to take him out of the game.
Carlson had other ideas.
“The numbness blocked the pain out when it first happened,” Carlson said. “Then when I got into the dugout the pain started coming. Coach gave me some wet rags and I started icing it.
“Whenever (Bush) saw that the tooth went all the way through he said, ‘You’re done.’ And I said, ‘No, coach. I need to play.’”
Added Bush: “He’s a tough kid. I couldn’t take him out last night. It was swollen up pretty bad and was still spitting blood, but he’s just such a tough kid.”
He ended up finishing that game but sat out the second game of the doubleheader. He said he felt better Wednesday evening and was a major contributor in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Independence Post 21. He was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run, including a walk-off single in the sixth inning for a 11-1 mercy-rule win at Hidden Valley Park.
“Today, I felt good and was ready to play,” Carlson said. “After yesterday, we didn’t hit the ball good. Today, I felt like we got back in our groove.”
The A’s swept the doubleheader with a 14-2 mercy-rule victory in five innings in the nightcap.
In the first game, Carlson was a part of a four-run sixth inning, in which Bryce Perdieu and Christian Garcia were hit by pitches with the bases loaded and Jared Larson drew a bases-loaded walk off Post 21 relief pitcher Tyler Johnson.
The A’s (15-7, 11-1 Zone 2) jump-started the offense in the first inning with Garcia’s line-drive, two-run double to left field. Carlson added an RBI single, Colter Nelson hit an RBI triple to deep center field and Dempsey Graves followed with an RBI groundout.
That’s all the run support Matt Eisenreich needed as he tossed all six innings and allowed just one run on six hits and no walks and struck out five. He had great command of his fastball and kept hitters off balance with his off-speed pitches.
“I felt pretty good,” Eisenreich said. “We had a great game called and great coaching. I was able to execute and (Cam Leftwich) called a great game. My changeup and offspeed were working pretty well and that just helps a fastball that’s also working.”
Bush was certainly impressed with Eisenreich, who he said has been his most consistent pitcher this season.
“Outstanding – he only threw 80 pitches,” Bush said. “His offspeed is always there. His best pitch is his fastball because he throws pretty hard. The key for him is staying around the plate.”
Larson scored on a wild pitch in the fourth and Hunter Loving drove in Post 21’s only run with an RBI single in the fifth. Cameron Lusso was the losing pitcher for Post 21.
In Game 2, Cade Bissell tossed all five innings and allowed two unearned runs one four hits, walked five and struck out three to pick up the win.
Carslson helped pace the offense once again by going 2-for-4 with two runs and one RBI; Perdieu was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs; and Larson was 1-for-2 with three runs and one RBI.
Cody Pleacher was the losing pitcher for Independence (3-15). Bradley Menzies had a hit and an RBI and Lusso had Post 21’s other RBI.
“Our pitchers have to improve,” Post 21 manager Greg Lundquist said. “Walks will kill you. I am looking for the team to come back. We don’t have the desire to come back. You have to want it.
“These are younger kids. We’re going to take our lumps.”