The stakes were high and so was the tension, but South Tahoe baseball earned its bid to the 1A state tournament by beating Spring Creek 10-8 Saturday morning.
After losing Friday’s second game, the Vikings needed to win one more to make it to Reno next week.
“We started off a little slow, but once we got the bats going we were in it,” said head coach Starbuck Teevan.
However, it was the defense that ensured the trip to the tournament.
With South Tahoe clinging to a 10-8 lead, with the bases loaded and no outs Dakota Lynch induced two grounders with River Quinn and Spencer Harnett each throwing to Aaron Phister for the outs at home. The next batter hit a grounder down the first base line that was fielded by Harnett while Lynch covered first and recorded the last out of the game sending the Vikings to the state tournament next weekend in Reno.
“I can’t understate the significance of what the team has accomplished. I was overjoyed. We’ve accomplished what we set out to do this year. Getting South Tahoe baseball competitive again was my goal,” Teevan said. “This team will go down in South Tahoe history.”
Spring Creek took a 3-0 lead in the second inning with a two-run double by Adrian Avina and an error.
The Vikings got on the board with two in the third inning when Aaron Phister reached base on an error, Spencer Harnett was out on a fielder’s choice by Kolby Eymann. Eymann would steal second. Dominic Diana singled in Phister and Eymann.
South Tahoe then took the lead in the fifth when Eymann reached on an error with two outs. Lynch singled bringing up Diana. Diana’s RBI single scored Eymann to tie the game. Lynch gave South Tahoe the lead on a wild pitch. Sergio Burgueno drew a walk to bring up River Quinn. Quinn doubled to score Diana and Burgueno, giving the Vikings a 6-3 lead.
Teevan made a pitching change with two outs in the fifth inning replacing starter Lynch with Diana. Lynch went 5.2 innings with three runs, four walks and three strikeouts.
Diana walked in a run before ending the inning with a strikeout.
The Vikings added to the lead in the seventh when Garrett Harley singled. Harley advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Phister. Harley would eventually score on two wild pitches by Spring Creek’s Avina. Eymann drew a walk and Lynch had a base hit. Both would advance a base when Avina tried to pick off Eymann at second with a throw that ended up in center field. Diana was issued his fourth intentional walk of the tournament. Burgueno followed with a two RBI single scoring Eymann and Lynch. The Vikings led 9-4.
Spring Creek began its comeback with two walks and a two RBI double from Mike Smith. Burgueno then took the mound putting Diana back at shortstop.
The Spartans plated two more cutting the lead to 9-8. South Tahoe’s defense combined for a double play to end the inning.
R.J. Rivera reached base after being hit then advanced to second on a wild pitch and went to third on a ground out by Harley. Phister executed a squeeze bunt scoring Rivera making it 10-8.
Spring Creek didn’t go down without a fight. The first two batters reached base after being hit. Teevan replaced Burgueno with Lynch, who took the mound for the second time in the game.
“Unfortunately, we were down on pitching, but I thought it was the best move to bring Dakota back in,” said Teevan.
Lynch did his job securing the win.
With the win, the Vikings were scheduled to take on Fallon for the fourth game in two days, more than any other team in the tournament. The Vikings fell to the Greenwave 13-3 in six innings.
Despite the uneven score, the game had a few highlights including Lynch with a diving catch in left field in the first inning and Moises Cuevas recording six outs on the mound and earning a base hit at the plate.
In the fifth inning, Paul Hoefer caught a fly ball and threw the runner out at home from right field for the third out.
With the loss, South Tahoe is seeded No. 2 in the north and is scheduled to play No. 1 from the south Faith Lutheran High School at 1 p.m. Thursday at Sparks High School.