Emeralds come home, bump duty for author | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Emeralds come home, bump duty for author

Mike Traum

There’s no place like home.

That’s the rally cry of the Tahoe Emeralds, Lake Tahoe’s only semipro baseball team, as the squad will play its first home games of the season this weekend at South Tahoe Middle School’s Todd Fields.

Tahoe, 9-6 overall and 9-0 in Casey Stengel action, will host the Merced Mustangs on Saturday and the Nevada Yankees on Sunday. Both games begin at 1 p.m.

Admission is free and the snack shack will be open, with the Emeralds donating all of the proceeds to South Tahoe’s Babe Ruth leagues.

“If you like great, wholesome entertainment, this is the place to be. These are the games we get up for,” said Emeralds manager Gary Shidaker. “It’s a rare opportunity to see this team at home. Every kid in town who aspires to continue on in baseball, from T-ball to Babe Ruth, should come out this weekend to check out the level of skills they need to play past high school.”

Shidaker said while he’s not sure what to expect from Merced, which is making its first appearance in Tahoe during a road trip through Northern Nevada, he knows they’re a competitive bunch consisting mostly of Central Valley junior college players.

The Yankees, on the other hand, have become a primary rival of the Tahoe club. The Gardnerville-based team boasts a plethora of Division 1 college guys, including a slew of Nevada and Las Vegas players.

On Saturday, Tahoe will counter with starting pitcher Mark Wood, a right-hander currently starring at Arkansas. Sunday, it will be pitch by committee, with former South Tahoe High hurler Mike Traum tentatively scheduled to start on the bump.

The Emeralds consist of mostly Tahoe-area college players, including Aaron Wicklund, Forest Westover, Starbuck Teevan and Matt Tillson. Former Carson High star Mike Stucker joins the group, along with Reno-area athletes Dustin Bria, Jimmy Wood and Brett Pagni. Steve Maltase and Dan McCauley round out the list of familiar faces.

“This is going to be an exciting weekend for baseball in Lake Tahoe. We’re fresh and ready to roll. C’mon out, have a hot dog and enjoy it,” Shidaker said.

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