Historic win for STHS baseball program | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Historic win for STHS baseball program

By Jeremy Evans

Tribune staff writer

CARSON CITY – Somebody forgot to tell this year’s South Tahoe High Vikings about decades of never beating Carson. Somebody forgot to tell them about their 2-40 Sierra Division record since 2003 going into Thursday’s game.

In the end, though, maybe somebody forgot to remind the Senators that this might not be the traditional South Tahoe club.

“That isn’t the same South Tahoe team that I’ve seen,” said Steve Cook, Carson’s first-year coach and a long-time assistant for the Senators. “They have a new coach and a new attitude.”

Zach Kropf pitched a complete game four-hitter and the Vikings scored six runs in the first three innings en route to a 6-1 win over Carson at Ron McNutt Field.

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According to former South Tahoe player and coach Ralph Clelan, it was the Vikings’ first-ever official win over the Senators, one of the most storied baseball programs with three large-school state titles. In 1998, South Tahoe recorded a win over Carson but later had it taken away once it was discovered the Vikings had used an ineligible player.

“This is by far the biggest win of the season, probably the biggest win for any of these kids,” said first-year South Tahoe coach Matt Tillson. “Today, we won all the battles. We hit, pitched and fielded the ball. If you win all the battles, you’re going to win the war.”

South Tahoe jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first after Kyle Jones tripled, Nick Heng reached on an error and Stephen Yarrow doubled. Jones scored on the error, Randy Henson scored Heng on a single and Chris Diana belted an RBI double to plate Henson. Heng was called for the inning’s second out during a play at home plate, an aggressive piece of baserunning which indicated the Vikings’ desire to win.

Kropf ensured it happened, striking out five batters and giving up only three hits to the Senators, who started the season 17-2 and were 6-0 in division play coming into the game. But the sting of a 19-7 loss to McQueen on Tuesday was further compounded by South Tahoe in the third inning.

Diana, Buck Pershing and Garrett Datrio each recorded an RBI in the inning, giving the Vikings a 6-1 advantage. In the bottom of the second, Carson’s Derek Shoaf scored Brooks Greenlee on a sacrifice fly to right field, but that’s the only offense the Senators generated against the sophomore pitcher.

“It’s a confidence booster,” Kropf said. “Everybody played great defense behind me. We need to make a charge if we want to make the playoffs and this is a good to start. It’s unbelievable. I can’t even describe how it feels.”

Carson (17-4 overall, 6-1 division) attempted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh. Shoaf reached on a fielder’s choice and Jeremiah Teeter singled to put runners on the corners. But Kropf forced Jack Jacquet and former South Shore resident Kevin Schlange to pop up and end the game.

After a slew of fielding errors that resulted in lopsided division losses to Reno, Wooster and Douglas, South Tahoe only committed one error against the Senators. The Vikings (6-14, 1-9) also outhit Carson 8-4 and had four extra base hits. The Senators didn’t have any.

“Baseball isn’t football or basketball where you need the biggest, strongest and fastest kids to win,” Tillson said. “You just need to play smart baseball to win games. Today we played smart baseball.”

The same two teams meet on Saturday for a doubleheader in Carson City.

“I don’t expect a different South Tahoe team to show up on Saturday,” Cook said. “The first 19 games of the season, we were a really good baseball team, not a great team but a good team. Right now, I don’t know what to think. For us to win games, we need all 21 guys to be playing well. That’s not happening right now. Four hits and one run, you’re not going to beat anybody doing that.”

Carson softball 10, South Tahoe 0

Mandy Carvin pitched a one-hit shutout as the Senators beat the Vikings in five innings Thursday in Carson City. Mollie Novasel recorded the only hit for South Tahoe, while Jen Bigelow’s double play early on provided the lone defensive highlight for the Vikings.

South Tahoe (0-7) travels to Reno on Saturday for a doubleheader against Wooster.