From the beginning, Coach Teevan has said that pitching and focus from start to finish will make or break the Vikings this season.
Both ended up costing South Tahoe an 11-10 loss at Portola High School on Wednesday. The Vikings struggled to find the strike zone, and a wild pitch eventually ended the game.
“We need to finish the game,” Teevan said in an email. “Can’t stress that enough.”
Most of the Vikings’ pitchers saw some work Wednesday. South Tahoe ace Tyler Sharp threw two innings and gave up no runs. Most of Portola’s damage was done in third inning. Kolby Eymann began the inning Bobby Gonzales came in relief.
Errors and walks contributed to a handful of unearned runs. Jordan Mann pitched the fifth before giving way to Cody Higgins. Dominic Diana relieved Higgins in the sixth and was pitcher of record for the loss.
“Unfortunately, we struggled throwing strikes today, and Portola took advantage of their opportunities,” Teevan said. “They hit some balls hard that found holes, we hit balls hard right at the defenders. Hats off to Portola, they made the plays.”
But South Tahoe didn’t quit. Down 10-4 in the sixth inning, the Vikings regained focus and determination, and scored four runs. River Quinn led off with a walk, Sergio Burgueno walked and Christian Coats delivered an RBI single. Dominic Diana followed up with a two-run double, and Sharp added an RBI double.
Higgins and Diana shut down Portola in the bottom of sixth inning.
“We again showed our fight and put something together in top of seventh, scoring two runs to tie the game,” Teevan said.
Taylor Weik was patient at the plate and earned a walk. Burgueno picked up his second walk, and Coats laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners up.
Diana came up with a big hit up the middle scoring two runners and tying the game at 10. He was thrown out at second attempting to stretch hit into a double, but it took a perfect cutoff, and perfect throw to get him at second, coach Teevan said.
“I loved the aggressiveness, we try to get these young men to give their absolute best and I saw good signs of that today,” Teevan said. “We weren’t able to keep Portola off the board in the bottom of the seventh, but we again gave ourselves a chance to win in the end. I’m hoping these tough one-run loses we’ve been involved in will help us in the long run.”
Higgins hit the ball hard all day, returning to the lineup after missing several games.
“Having Cody’s Bat and presence back in the lineup is a big lift for us,” Teevan said.
Diana drove in five runs for South Tahoe, leading the charge late in the game.