All-Stars prepared for larger assignment
They do their best when the heat is on.
With temperatures hovering around the century mark last weekend in Fallon, the South Lake Tahoe Babe Ruth 13-Year-Old Stars had several chances to fold and go home.
Instead they dug in and competed like they were the kids accustomed to playing in an incinerator. In a 13-6 opening win over host Fallon, South Lake Tahoe scored seven runs in the eighth inning after Fallon pulled off an momentum-changing six-run rally to force the extra inning.
“They didn’t want to play the 7 p.m. game that night. It was either do it or suffer in the heat, and they came through big-time,” said Tahoe manager Steve Weldy.
The next day, Truckee jumped ahead of South Lake Tahoe 6-0, but Andrew Chavez steadied the pitching effort with a strong relief performance, and eventually the bats came alive for a 12-8 victory. Chavez’s only trouble spot was a two-run fourth, but he threw scoreless relief the rest of the way.
“He’s someone who hadn’t pitched during the season,” Weldy said. “He did above and beyond his duty.”
The two wins added up to South Lake Tahoe capturing the qualifying tournament title and advancing to the state tournament, which starts Saturday in Reno.
South Lake Tahoe (2-0) will open with a 1 p.m. matchup against Sparks on Saturday at Reno West’s Park on 2775 Apollo Way.
“I know we are going to go up against some tough teams there, and we are gonna have to hit the ball,” Weldy said. “But for a bunch of small 13-year-olds, I’m really proud of them. They all seem to want this really bad.”
Weldy said there is one decided edge in Tahoe’s favor going into state.
“Our kids have gone up against 14- and 15-year-olds, and the (other teams) only have gone against 13-year-olds (during the regular season),” Weldy said.
A victory on Saturday will propel South Lake Tahoe into a 4 p.m. winners’ bracket game on Sunday, while a loss drops Tahoe into a 10 a.m. game Sunday. The double-elimination tournament continues through Thursday.
South Lake Tahoe lost to North Valleys 4-2 last weekend in the district tournament, a game in which it left numerous runners on base. South Lake Tahoe’s bats heated up in its next game as it pounded Truckee 17-0 in five innings and secured a spot in this weekend’s state tournament at Governor’s Field in Carson City.
South Lake Tahoe opens state against Truckee at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Last year in the state tournament, the South Lake Tahoe 14s lost to South Reno 3-2 in the championship game. Many players on this year’s 15-year-old team were on that team.
15-Year-Old Babe Ruth State Tournament
Truckee vs. North Valleys, 4 p.m.
South Tahoe vs. Sparks, 4 p.m.
South Tahoe-Sparks loser vs. Truckee-North Valleys loser, 4 p.m.
South Tahoe-Sparks winner vs. Truckee-North Valleys, winner, 7 p.m.
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