Max DeLallo, Notanee Vasquez lead South Tahoe to win over ROP | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Max DeLallo, Notanee Vasquez lead South Tahoe to win over ROP

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

South Tahoe High probably didn’t expect to go the distance with Nevada 2A’s Rite of Passage on Tuesday afternoon at Todd Fields in South Lake Tahoe.

Minus two starters and many Vikings ailing with a cold and cough, an 11-2 nonleague victory over the Rams was a welcomed remedy for a five-game losing streak.

Junior Max DeLallo was a homer shy of hitting for the cycle and knocked in three runs, while senior Notanee Vasquez threw three hitless innings to pick up his first varsity victory.

Senior second baseman Derek Holmgren and senior catcher Gary Prescott missed the game because they were on a recruiting trip to Cuesta College.

“I wasn’t really concerned. I know what talent we have on this team. We can go three deep, and it gives somebody else a chance to step up and show what they have,” Vasquez said.

Despite losing by nine runs, former Tahoe Avalanche and STHS junior varsity coach David Santee was pleased with the play of his Rams.

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“Today went exactly how we wanted it to go, except for a win,” said Santee, whose club has been 10-runned in all but four games this season. “They played hard. They’ve come a long ways. If you would have seen us day one, we couldn’t throw the ball 10 feet and break the thinnest pane of glass. Now we’re out here making plays, hitting cuts, but we have to hit the ball better.”

ROP, which produced one base hit through two innings, rallied for three hits and two runs in the third, cutting the Vikings’ lead to 5-2.

But that was the extent of the Rams’ offense, as Vasquez relieved Christian Winslow and went after the ROP hitters. He fanned six of the 10 batters he faced and stranded a runner on third base in the sixth with his final punchout.

“Everyone tells me to throw strikes and keep pounding the zone. It makes the game go faster,” Vasquez said.

The Vikings didn’t allow ROP starting pitcher Luis Infante to get settled, loading the bases three batters into their lineup. Kyle DiGrande hit a sharp single to left, Ricky Braun reached when his sacrifice bunt was mishandled by Infante and Matt Marsh walked. DeLallo followed with a two-run single to right. Matt Blank’s sacrifice fly and Rick Norlie’s infield single plated runs to make the score 4-0.

DeLallo increased the lead to 5-0 with a two-out, RBI double in the second inning.

After ROP cut the Vikings’ lead to 5-2 in the top of the third, the home team got one back in the bottom of the inning when a bases-loaded walk to Ricky Braun scored Matt Blank, who had singled.

DeLallo led off the fourth with a triple, triggering a two-run outburst. Blank’s second sacrifice fly chased home DeLallo and Norlie’s base hit scored Vasquez, putting STHS ahead 8-2.

“It was a collective effort,” said Vikings’ coach Matt Tillson. “We were putting the ball in play and forcing them to make plays on defense. If you can do that, you can win games.”

Vasquez and Jamie Yelles delivered RBI singles during a three-run Vikings’ fifth inning. But the Vikings left the bases loaded, then stranded a runner on second base in the sixth as they tried to close out the Rams prior to a regulation game.

DeLallo got two cracks at hitting for the cycle but walked in the fifth inning and flew out in the sixth.

“I wasn’t even thinking about it at first, and all of sudden (my teammates) were like, ‘You are going to hit for the cycle,'” said DeLallo, who said he has never accomplished the feat at any level of baseball.

Past South Tahoe teams have responded to playing in their home park, and the 2009 club appears to be on a similar path. The Vikings (7-15 overall) take a 2-1 home record into the first game of a three-game series with Fallon on Thursday.

“We’ll be at full strength on Thursday, and we’re looking forward to this series and being in our yard,” Tillson said.