The 11- and 12-year-old Truckee Hooligans made history at the Little League Regional Hooligans Tournament by reaching the tournament finals — a feat that, so far as anyone can remember, has never been matched by a Truckee team
Truckee battled through four games, winning three, to get to the finals and finish runner-up.
The Truckee Hooligans consist of a select team of Truckee Little League 11- and 12-year-olds who played in the Majors Division.
The selected players included Mason Cutler, Gavin Kelly-Caruthers, Garrett Kirk, Soren Kraus, Gus Loring, Evan Loring, Timothy Reeve, Ethan Reichwald, George Skaff, Eric Spillman and Hayden Sumner.
As if the tournament wasn’t challenging enough, Gus Loring broke his wrist Wednesday afternoon just before the first game against Washoe, the perennial favorite. Gus would have been a starting pitcher and a strong bat for Truckee.
Truckee took an early 1-0 lead after Evan Loring was hit by a pitch and scored. The score remained until the fifth inning, when the Washoe bats came to life.
Despite the loss, the Truckee Hooligans were not to be discouraged and came back fighting the next day.
In the second game against South Lake Tahoe on Thursday night, Truckee put together a strong performance that resulted in a 10-2 win.
Leadoff hitter Hayden Sumner did his job with two walks and a base hit to get Truckee going. Eric Spillman homered in the third inning after George Skaff’s RBI single.
The win gave the Hooligans a bye on Friday and set up a showdown Saturday against Centennial, who is always strong.
The Hooligans fell behind 6-0 in the first inning. They were not going to give up and battled back in the second to score three runs, led by smart and aggressive base running by the entire team.
Ethan Reichwald went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the offense. Truckee scored six more runs in the third inning behind a single from Soren Kraus and a double from Timmy Reeves.
Truckee maintained its lead as the entire team started to contribute at the plate, but the incredible pitching by Gavin Kelly-Caruthers the first five innings was really the key.
Truckee led 16-11 after five innings, but things got interesting in the sixth.
Centennial, which was the home team, came back to pull to within a run, at 16-15. With two outs and runners on second and third, the Centennial batter hit a shallow fly ball to right field, where Garrett Kirk made the play of the game by fielded the ball cleanly and firing to first base to gun down the runner for the final out.
With two wins under its belt, Truckee advanced to play Reno Continental on Sunday morning. The winner would move on to play a doubleheader on Sunday with the second game being for the championship.
Reno Continental put up a great battle but couldn’t overcome the Truckee’s solid pitching.
Mason Cutler pitched a beautiful six-inning game. He mixed in an effective changeup that left many a batter swinging at nothing but air. Truckee won 7-4 to advance to the championship game against Washoe.
No matter the outcome of the championship game the tournament was already a complete success for Truckee. Washoe showed its depth in the championship game with a shutout victory.
The Truckee Hooligans were led by Scott Sumner, Andy Reichwald and Greg Loring.