South Tahoe’s Smith says ‘No-No’ to Sparks
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Opposing batters facing the South Tahoe softball team are going to be much happier come next season. And there are now 196 reasons why.
The exclamation point on Mel Smith’s night last night came in the form of a no-hitter. It put some momentum into a team, who streaked to a 10-0 win in five innings over Sparks, that will need to come up big today against rival Truckee if they want to sneak into the No. 1 seed in the eight-team playoff that starts next Friday.
“If we can win (tonight) against Truckee, and then sweep our games tomorrow against Incline, we’ll get the overall top seed in the regional,” head coach Steve Kolesnik said. “I look at this game as an opportunity to redeem ourselves … definitely a game I would like to have.”
After their game at home today versus Truckee, the South Tahoe Lady Vikings still have two games in front of them. Both come against Sparks – the same team South Tahoe and Smith dominated Wednesday.
“Mel had just a fantastic game,” Kolesnik said. “We are very fortunate. There just isn’t anyone else in her league right now. Her speed, her command, her ability to throw a variety of pitches. She is just a phenomenal high school pitcher and she showed it tonight.”
Coming into Wednesday’s game between South Tahoe High School and Sparks, Smith had sat down 184 batters on strikes this season. Now at 196 going into today’s battle with Truckee, she’ll get the nod again and try and get a bit of her own redemption which her coach says runs deep.
“Oh she wants this one,” Kolesnik said. “She wants this one more than just about anyone on our team. She knows she’s a better player than what she showed in those first two games. The weather looks like it’s going to be good, we’re healthy, or at least as healthy as we’re going to be. It’s going to be a different type of game.”
Today’s game, if nothing else, also has significant playoff implications when looking at the one through eight seeds inside the 3A north regional.
Right now with two losses each, the winner of today’s game keeps the one game advantage in the loss column and the upper hand in the race for the top seed.
Just two weeks back on a rain-soaked, wind-blown night, starting South Tahoe catcher Sid Loomis broke her finger in the first game with Truckee. It happened on just the fourth pitch of the game when a Smith pitch was fouled back against the outside of her glove.
With a muddy infield and rain/snow soaked outfield, Smith too was physically hurt as she slipped going after a ball in left and suffered a mild concussion.
“The paper made it sound like we were losing and just gave up,” Kolesnik said. “That wasn’t the case at all. It just wasn’t safe to have our girls out on the field, and that’s a call I made.”
A South Tahoe forfeit led into the second of two games which took place in South Lake.
Both Loomis and Smith were still relegated to a bench role due to their injuries in the first game, and the conditions again led to a South Tahoe calling the game. All that leads into tonight’s match-up which is set for a 4 p.m. start in South Lake.
No hitter v. Sparks
Aside from another Smith pitching clinic, the 10-0 five-inning win for South Tahoe was a big one because it happened on a night when Smith and two other seniors, Mel Sabec and Amanda Rivas, were honored by their team, coaches and the home fans.
“Tonight was a great night for the seniors,” Kolesnik said after the game Wednesday. “Mel, Mel (Sabec) and Amanda (Rivas) have all been great individuals to coach. Add to that tonight’s win keeps us in the hunt for that number one seed in zones and that’s a pretty good night.”
Sabec had a solid night at the plate batting out of the leadoff spot. She was two for three with a walk, single, home run in the fifth and added two runs batted in.
All-in-all the Lady Vikings pounded out 13-hits on the night. Along with Sabec, the team also got big nights at the plate from Rose Campion, two for four with a homer, double and two runs batted in, and Bailey David who had three hits of her own.