All-Stars to swing away
South Lake Tahoe’s 11-12 All-Stars are conditioned to make a run at the district tournament title this week in Carson City. How deep they advance in the first step to the Little League World Series will depend on how well they adapt to the intense tournament atmosphere and what the competition offers from Reno, Sparks and Carson City.
Manager Lou Lane and a long list of volunteers helped prepare the All-Stars with several two-a-day practices over the past three weeks. Early afternoon practices were devoted to conditioning and drills, while evening practices followed a typical baseball workout.
“Although the players had just finished a 15-game regular season I felt it was important to get into tournament shape, so we focused a lot on the conditioning during the first practices,” said Lane, whose team opens play against Sparks Centennial tonight at 8 at Governor’s Field. “Tahoe teams have seemed to run out of energy in a lot of the tournaments I’ve seen in the 35 years I’ve lived up here, and I didn’t want that to be a factor this time around.”
One of the conditioning workouts consisted of a team walk from South Tahoe High to Fallen Leaf Lake.
Lane, who helped coach the Pirates to the regular-season and postseason tournament titles in the 2006 South Lake Tahoe Little League, has received input from the area’s most knowledgeable baseball minds: Whittell High School skipper Don Amaral, South Tahoe manager Matt Tillson and former Tahoe Stars manager Gary Shidaker. Coaching input has also come from major manager/coaches, including John Dalton, Keith Latta, Chris Marchesseault, Marty Potnick and Randy Braun.
“I feel that the All-Stars are going to be as prepared as we could possibly be,” Lane said. “The players have worked very hard and are excited to start playing.”
Team strengths appear to be a deep pitching staff led by Alex Potnick, Jess Latta, Rylan Tepper, Leo Trebotich, Alex Vogt, Colton Marchesseault, Justin Dalton and Jake Braun. The All-Stars also have a nice blend of power hitters and hit for average players. Tepper, Moriah Lane and Alex Potnick combined for 17 home runs through the playoffs, and Vogt and Leo Trebotich are two of the “toughest” outs the league has to offer.
” I think we’re going to do pretty good,” said outfielder Craig Kondoff. “We have a lot of good players, we have really good chemistry, we can hit and we can defend. And we have looked really good in practice.”
Reno teams typically dominate the double-elimination tournament, but South Lake Tahoe teams have been more competitive at nearly every All-Star level in recent years.
“Sometimes it’s not always about how good you are, but more about how good the other teams are,” Lane said. “Most of them are from larger population areas and, therefore, have more depth. You can only play nine at a time, though, and I would match our players with anyone.
“We have been traditionally outsized and outmatched by the powerhouses in Reno, Sparks, Carson and the Carson Valley, and I’ve heard that there are some pretty good teams in this years tournament. I’m just thinking we may be one of them.”
The All-Stars will have an off day on Tuesday, before concluding pool play with games against Reno American East on Wednesday, Carson American on Thursday and Reno National on Friday.
Like all All-Stars, Kondoff dreams about reaching Williamsport, Pa.
“We want to get past this tournament and into the Little League World Series, that would be great,” Kondoff said.
What: Little League 11-12 District All-Star Tournament
Who: South Lake Tahoe vs. Sparks Centennial
When: Today at 8 p.m.
Where: Governor’s Field, Carson City
Little League 11-12 District All-Star Tournament
At Governor’s Field, Carson City
South Lake Tahoe vs. Sparks Centennial, 8 p.m.
South Lake Tahoe vs. Reno American East, 8 p.m.
South Lake Tahoe vs. Carson American, 5:30 p.m.
South Lake Tahoe vs. Reno National, 8 p.m.
Manager Lou Lane
Coach Keith Latta
Coach Mike Zanetell
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