South Tahoe diamondmen win season opener
CARSON CITY ” Based on the number of times Truckee High got on a diamond compared to South Tahoe in the preseason, the Wolverines should have been a threat to beat the larger school on Thursday.
But the Vikings didn’t permit their sparse times on the field impact them as they routed Truckee 11-4 in their baseball season opener at the Carson tournament.
Junior pitcher Max DeLallo hurled four scoreless innings, allowing two hits and five baserunners at Ron McNutt Field. The right-hander fanned seven and walked two before giving way to sophomore Jamie Yelles and junior Tanner Braun.
DeLallo wasn’t pleased with his control, even though he was repeatedly able to pinpoint strikes on the outside corner.
“We haven’t done a lot of bullpen so far, so I’m pretty raw when I’m pitching,” DeLallo said. “Overall, I thought I had my velocity down, and I came in with a lot of good outside fastballs.”
South Tahoe’s top three hitters in the lineup accounted for seven of the team’s 10 hits. Senior Kyle DiGrande stroked a pair of two-run doubles and finished with three hits to lead the Vikings. A diving catch by left fielder Myles Allen in the first inning denied DiGrande of a third extra-base hit.
Seniors Derek Holmgren and Matt Marsh each delivered a pair of hits and combined for two RBI.
“Overall, we’re pretty happy coming out of the gym. The top of the lineup really hit the ball well,” said South Tahoe manager Matt Tillson. “It was a very productive day.”
Truckee skipper Mike Ellis wasn’t making any excuses after his club was unable to come up with the necessary plays, even though it has ventured out of the gym to find a playing field various times in the preseason.
“South Tahoe played really good. We’ve been on the field at least 15 practices,” said Ellis, whose club has found field time at Moana Stadium, Governor’s Bowl and in San Jose. “They’ve already seen some fast pitching and had some at-bats. South Tahoe just had a scrimmage, and I let them on Moana a couple of week ago to practice. You have to tip your hat to the way they played.”
Truckee’s Justin Vosburgh led off the game with a double on a fly ball that was lost in the sun. However, the Vikings erased him on the first of two double plays that started with a lineout to Holmgren at second.
After stranding a pair of baserunners in the first inning, South Tahoe began to rattle its bats in the second. Tanner Braun pounded a 2-0 pitch from starter Scott Mathot into the left-center gap, scoring Yelles. DiGrande followed with a two-run double into the right-center alley for a 3-0 STHS lead. Holmgren added the Vikings’ third double of the inning with a laser down the left-field line, scoring DiGrande to make the score 4-0.
Truckee’s Mike Taylor and Mike Fagen advanced as far as third base in the second and third innings, but DeLallo beared down each time for key strikeouts.
“I was finding my focal points,” DeLallo said. “When I got down (in the count), I tried to erase it from thoughts and tried to look at the top of the mountain, so it changes my mindset.”
The Vikings built a 9-0 lead by scoring five times in the fourth inning. Marsh and Yelles belted run-scoring singles, Chris Ewing hit a sacrifice fly and two more Vikings scored unearned runs.
The Wolverines broke up the shutout in the fifth, scoring twice without hitting the ball out of the infield. Brian Matthews and Jared McDonnel crossed the plate, with Jordan Diero and Kevin Decker each providing an RBI.
“I know it’s early, but we have to learn to hit the ball a little better,” Ellis said. “We have a good bunch of kids. They just need to go after it more and trust it.”
In the sixth, DiGrande’s two-run double to right pushed the Vikings’ lead to 11-2.
Truckee, however, didn’t go down quietly in the final inning. Two walks and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out. Taylor was hit by a pitch to score one run and a second run came home on Ryan Zusy’s infield single. Braun got the final out on a bases-loaded lineout to Marsh.
Vosburgh reached base three times and scored a run to lead the Wolverines.
South Tahoe (1-0) will continue tournament play at 11:30 a.m. today against North Valleys.
Notes: South Tahoe senior catcher Gary Prescott took his first batting practice on Thursday. Tillson expects his all-league catcher to return next week. Prescott has been sidelined by a damaged tendon in his nonthrowing elbow. Junior Ricky Braun filled in for Prescott on Thursday and went 1 for 2 with three runs scored.