Small ball, long ball, defense lead Bluejacks over Truckee
June 24, 2011
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – Tyler Sharp didn’t have his usual command Tuesday. That didn’t matter to the Tahoe Bluejacks.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Joey Wightman and Oliver Curial sparked a six-run inning, breaking the game open and fueling a defense which took over from there.
The end result was a 7-2 win for the Bluejacks, who also improved their overall summer record to 7-1. Tahoe’s ability early on this season has been unquestionable, and their willingness to do what it takes to win baseball games was a high point of praise for head coach Kevin Higgins during his postgame speech.
“I want you guys to enjoy this right now. Enjoy the fact that you are 7-1,” Higgins said to his team. “I want you to be able to show up to the ball park and not think you have a chance to win, but know you can win. That’s where we are right now I believe. The attitude and effort tonight were great and the way we executed and played defense was outstanding.”
Wightman got the start in left field and made the most of his opportunity on both sides. His leadoff double in the bottom of the third inning set the table offensively, but his diving stab in left to start the fourth was what had the crowd and Bluejacks dugout buzzing for much of the mid-game.
“You probably won’t see many catches like that again,” Higgins said. “Very proud of Joey and the way he played.”
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In the bottom of three, Wightman’s leadoff two-bagger set the table for Curial who’s sac bunt attempt carved the inside of the third base line to earn a base hit and move Wightman up 90-feet.
Truckee attempted to get Curial at first, but an errant throw plated Wightman to make it 1-1 and kept the Jacks in business offensively.
With one out and one on Derek Clelan was hit by a pitch. That put two aboard for Jake Braun who ripped an RBI single through the infield to plate Curial and make it 2-1 Tahoe.
Sharp, who earned the complete game win with seven strong innings on the mound, helped himself after Braun’s single by following suit with an RBI rip of his own. With the score 4-1 now, Colton Marchesseault took the first pitch fastball and drove it into the pine trees in left for a two-run bomb that made it 6-1 Tahoe after three.
“We did a better job of being aggressive early in the count on strikes,” Higgins said. “For the first two innings, for some reason, we just weren’t swinging the bats. A big part of what we did right tonight came from Tyler on the mound. He did not have his best stuff, but he worked with Jake and got guys out.”
An RBI double from Truckee in the top of five plated one and made the score 6-2. Tahoe though would get that run back in the bottom of six after Marchesseault led off with a double, moved to third on a balk and then scored on a wild pitch that made it 7-2.
After walking the first two batters in the top of the seventh, Sharp fell behind 3-0 in the count but battled back to get the third hitter on strikes. He then fielded a come back groundball, checked the runner and third and fired a strike to Dominic Diana at first for the second out.
Diana caught the baserunner at second sleeping and completed the inning-ending double play by getting the ball to Marchesseault who applied the tag to end the game.
Truckee out-hit the Bluejacks 8-6, but fell victim to errors in the field and on the basepaths.
Sharp picked off three runners from the mound and sat down another six on strikes in earning the win. At the plate for Tahoe it was Marchesseault with the big night going two for three with two runs batted in, two runs scored, a double and his two-run blast.
Braun, Sharp, Wightman and Curial had the other hits for the Bluejacks, whose next game comes in Sparks Wednesday, June 29, against the Reno Muckdogs.