INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Anyone moseying beyond the outfield fence during the North Tahoe at Incline baseball game on Tuesday was in harm’s way.
The lakeside rivals launched four home runs between them, three of which shot out of the small-dimension ballpark like rockets, as the Lakers outsluggged the hosts 14-6 to end the regular season.
“We swung the bats a little bit,” said North Tahoe coach Matt Drury. “It was good to see our offense come alive and put some pressure on the defense. And we had some big hits with runners on base, which has been a problem for us lately.”
Incline sophomore Tommy Dolan was the first to go yard Tuesday. After North Tahoe sophomore Mitchell Myers gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-run double, Dolan answered with a three-run bomb off of Myers in the bottom half of the inning, as he waited on a curve ball and crushed a line drive over the scoreboard in left field.
The Highlanders scored another run in the inning on an RBI single off the bat of Ben Snyder, extending their lead to 4-2.
But the Lakers were just beginning to heat up off of Incline starter Masxsimo Battel. They scored a run in the second to pull to within a run. Senior catcher Baird Bishop, fresh off competing in a home run derby at Aces Ballpark on Sunday, then connected for a no-doubt grand slam deep over the left-field fence, putting the Lakers in front 7-4.
Bishop wasn’t done, however, as he lifted his second home run of the game to right-center field in his next at-bat to lead off the fourth, off of reliever Tommy Thompson.
North Tahoe senior Colin Spencer got in on the home run fun an inning later. After a sacrifice fly by Shane Christian, Spencer blasted a line drive off of the light post in left field for a two-run shot, and an 11-4 Lakers lead.
“It’s kind of a tough place to play,” Incline coach Jeff Clouthier said of the middle school field. “A lot of routine fly balls turn into home runs. So it’s a challenge, especially for the pitchers.”
Incline scored a run in the fifth when Dolan doubled and was later driven in by Battel, cutting the score to 11-5, but that was as close as the Highlanders could get.
With the win North Tahoe (14-9) completed the three-game season sweep while spoiling Incline’s chance to host the opening round of the Northern Division III postseason. Instead the Highlanders (8-16-1) will travel to Pershing County for a best-of-three playoff series Friday and Saturday.
The Lakers earned the right to host their playoff series win or lose Tuesday, as they will take on Whittell in a best-of-three series Friday and, if needed, Saturday. The Northern Division III tournament is May 10-11 in Ely.