South Tahoe advances to finals, state tournament
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – One-inning breakdowns have been the downfall of many South Tahoe baseball programs.
Not on Sunday in the Babe Ruth 13-15 All-Star state qualifying tournament at Todd Fields.
Battle Mountain scored all seven of its runs in the fifth inning, but South Tahoe bounced back to earn a 10-7 victory, advancing to next week’s state tournament.
South Tahoe looked as if it would earn a third straight victory via the 10-run rule, building an 8-0 lead after three innings.
Tyler Sharp handcuffed Battle Mountain on one hit over four shutout innings. Sharp also fanned five hitters to earn his second win of the tournament – thanks, in part, to some strong relief pitching by Bobby Oakes.
“This means everything. We’ve never done it before,” Oakes said.
Oakes entered with one out in the fifth inning and South Tahoe leading 8-4. After yielding a two-strike, three-run double to Worth Nelson, Oakes gave up just one more baserunner in 2 2/3 stellar innings on the mount. He finished with four strikeouts, including three in a row in the seventh inning after giving up a leadoff double.
“We had to juggle it around a little bit before we got settled down,” said Higgins, whose club gave up four walks and hit a batter during Battle Mountain’s big fifth inning. “It’s the first time that we faced adversity in this tournament. We stayed strong and were able to finish.”
Oakes was also busy with his bat, too, knocking out three hits and scoring three runs.
Cody Higgins also put a charge in South Tahoe’s offense with two hits, two runs and two RBI. South Tahoe’s No. 8 and 9 hitters, Joey Wightman and Skylar Sheldon, each scored a pair of runs.
“There’ not a lot of drop-off. I like our ability to put the ball in play from the top to the bottom of the order,” coach Higgins said.
South Tahoe will play for the tournament championship on Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. Truckee, Fernley and Battle Mountain are still alive in the double-elimination format.
After Tuesday, South Tahoe can focus on surprising some of the big-city teams.
“We’re no pushover,” Higgins said. “We can go down there and compete. We’ve faced a few of those squads that are down there and had some success. The plan is not to settle for anything. The ultimate goal is to keep pushing.”
In other games on Sunday, Truckee stayed alive with a 16-2 trouncing of Hawthorne and Fernley ousted Fallon 12-5.
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