FALLON — Whew.
The final out sent the South Tahoe baseball team into a frenzy and nearly brought coach Starbuck Teevan to tears.
The Vikings held on for dear life to secure a 10-7 win over Fallon on Saturday and clinch the program’s first postseason bid in 20 years. It is only the second time in program history South Tahoe has reached the playoffs.
For Teevan, who was a junior on the 1994 team, Saturday’s win was as sweet as it was emotional.
“They are resilient,” Teevan said. “They have been all year. It takes a good group of seniors to lead the guys and not let them quit. I am just very, very proud.”
South Tahoe will host the Northern Division I-A tournament Friday and Saturday at South Tahoe Middle School. The Vikings, who earned the fourth seed, will battle No. 1 Elko at 10 a.m. Friday.
Fallon, the No. 2 seed, will tangle with third-seeded Spring Creek at 12:30 p.m. in the double-elimination tournament.
“It means a lot,” Teevan said. “I was part of the team in ’94 and this is one of the reasons I came back to coach. It meant a lot to me as a player, and this is something they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I am just very proud as a coach.”
South Tahoe’s weekend, though, started rough. The Vikings needed one win to clinch a playoff berth, but were throttled by Fallon, 12-2 and 14-4, in the first two games.
But South Tahoe didn’t quit. The Vikings handed the ball to Dakota Lynch, who threw a gem in the series finale. He allowed five hits, four runs — one earned — and walked four in 5 2/3 innings.
“He pitched outstanding, and probably his best pitched game all year,” Teevan said of Lynch. “He’s probably are No. 3 or No. 4, but he pitched like our best pitcher today. We got everything we could get out of him.”
Dominic Diana, who was suspended for the first game of the series, entered the final game in his first relief appearance of the season for Lynch and iced the win. Diana allowed two hits and three runs — one earned — in 1 1/3 innings.
Lynch provided another spark on offense when he jumped over Fallon catcher Tyler Bagby to score on a single by River Quinn in the sixth inning. Sergio Burgeno led the offense with three RBIs, while Kolby Eymann, Lynch, Diana and Quinn each had an RBI.
“I just told the guys to be aggressive,” Teevan said. “I just told them to let it fly. We got nothing to lose. It only takes one guy to light a fire and get the bats going.”
South Tahoe’s bats, meanwhile, exploded for three runs in the first inning to set the tone. The Vikings raced out to a 7-1 lead, but Fallon battled back.
The Greenwave cut the lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning, but South Tahoe scored three insurance runs in the top of the seventh to pull away.
“When you have a decent lead, you are just counting outs,” Teevan said. “They played good defense until the end.”
Fallon sweeps Lady Vikings
The South Tahoe softball team capped its season with a trio of losses to Fallon on Friday and Saturday.
The Vikings fell 8-0 on Friday and lost Saturday’s doubleheader 13-3 and 12-0.
Under first-year head coach Shawna Mayo, South Tahoe finished 7-15 in the Northern Division I-A and 8-18 overall.
“Fallon is a good team,” Mayo said. “For us to come out and play with them, we had to have no errors. When we didn’t have errors, we did well. When we had errors, we didn’t do so well. I don’t take it (the losses) as a bad experience, I take it as what we need to work on for next year.”