One rough inning bumped the Tahoe Twins out of first place in the Reno-Tahoe NABA standings on Sunday.
Playing on a soft new dirt-clay mix on the infield of their Tahoe Vista ballpark, the Twins booted two potential double plays in a five-run, game-tying fifth inning by the Reno Giants, who went on to score the go-ahead run in the ninth to hand the Twins an 8-7 loss.
“It was a tough infield with the new dirt, but both teams had to play on it,” said Twins manager Bob Habeger, adding that his team committed seven errors on the day while the Giants had four. “But they have a good team, so I'm sure we'll see them again in the playoffs.”
The Twins, at 10-2, dropped a half game back of the Reno Bandits, who are 11-3 coming off of three consecutive wins.
The Tahoe Braves, meanwhile, played the third-place Reno Creepers (8-3-1) to a 7-7 tie on Sunday, one week after they defeated the Giants 10-8. The Braves (6-4-1) are now in fifth place behind the Giants (8-4-1) in the 10-team wood bat league.
A couple of North Tahoe grads, Zack Tomlinson and Chris Cahill, continue to hit the ball well, said Braves manager Jack Bernardo, as both players had two hits in the tie.
Another Braves player, Truckee grad Michael Taylor, represented his team well in the Reno-Tahoe NABA all-star game on Saturday. Taylor made several highlight catches in center field and hit two doubles to earn the game's MVP award.
Joe Thomas of the Twins flexed his muscles in the home run derby, as he hit two in the first round and four total to win it.
Against the Giants on Sunday, the Twins controlled the action early behind starting pitcher Jesse Hildebrandt, as they scored three runs in the first inning and held a 4-0 lead through three innings and 7-2 after four. But the Giants knotted the score with their five-run uprising in the fifth and held the Twins scoreless the rest of the way en route to the win.
Hildebrandt allowed five hits, five walks and seven runs in seven innings, striking out five along the way. Joe Thomas pitched the final two innings, giving up a hit and a run.
Leadoff hitter and shortstop Bobby Habeger led the Twins at the plate, going 5-for-6 with two runs scored, while Jesse Brown was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, and Kevin Decker and Joe Thomas each had a hit and RBI.
Brown leads the Twins with a .600 batting average. Cory Munoz is hitting .484, Thomas .419, Gabe Sandersius .413, Scott Decker .400 and Steve Derby .395.
The Braves overcame their worst defensive game with one of their best offensive performances in their 10-8 win over the Giants on July 14.
“At times, it seemed like our infielders would have been better off playing with a fork rather than a glove,” Bernardo said, explaining how his team committed seven errors, leading to seven runs.
But the offense made up for the miscues as several players recorded multiple-hit games. Recent Truckee grad Ryan Smith was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Dayton grad Ryan Ransdell was 2-for-5 with a long home run to left field and North Tahoe grad Sean Bernardo was 2-for-2 with two doubles and two RBIs.