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‘Gross’ game for Vikings

Michael Traum

The weatherman delivered, as did the fans.

But the South Tahoe High baseball team didn’t.

Under crispy blue skies and with the stands packed with Viking faithful, the Carson Senators handed South Tahoe a 18-4 thrashing at the Babe Ruth Field on Thursday.

“That’s the grossest play for a Tahoe team that I’ve seen in five years,” said Tahoe coach Ralph Clelan. “I’m not taking anything away from Carson, but we came out flat and folded. You name it, we did it bad.”

The Senators (17-3, 11-3 in league) got rolling in the first. With one on, Austin Leck took Tahoe starter Greg Gerken out of the yard for a 2-0 lead. Leck finished with three hits, including another bomb in the seventh.

Darrell Rasner got the win while Gerken took the loss.

Tahoe’s Chris Barna had a day at the dish, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. He cut the Carson lead to one with a single in the first.

“I was real relaxed and just saw the ball well. It was almost like I knew what he was pitching,” Barna said.

But Carson quickly started to pull away. Chad Eaton doubled in Brian Murdock in the third, putting Carson ahead 3-1.

And the floodgates swung in the fourth. Two walks and a Matt Staub single loaded the bases for Francisco Melendez, who collected two RBIs with a chopping single over a drawn-in Tahoe infield. Eaton next singled and went to second when the ball was kicked by the Tahoe centerfielder. Melendez scampered home from first on the error.

“This was a game we needed to win,” said Carson coach Ron McNutt. “The loss to Hug last weekend was unexpected, but that’s baseball. The kids came back and played really well.”

South Tahoe brought in Carson Triggs to try and stop the bleeding. But the wound just wouldn’t close. Still in the fourth, Justin Serrano reached on an error, went to second on a passed ball, to third on a bloop single and scored on a wild pitch. Carson batted 11 times and pushed its lead to 9-1 in the frame.

“There were simple plays we just couldn’t take care of,” Barna said. “One day a great defensive team shows up, then there’s the team you saw today. We played like we were asleep and ended up looking very bad.”

The Vikes looked to make a game of it in the bottom of four, as Gerken and Scott Fair both singled and scored. But Carson added two more in the fifth. With two out, an Eaton RBI single and Serrano run-producing double make it 11-3.

After a Bret Uppendahl RBI single scored Scott Souers in the fifth, Carson hit eight guys in the top of the sixth. Melendez highlighted the frame with a two-run double, again with two outs. Tahoe coughed up three walks and an error in the inning.

Then in the seventh, after Leck’s leadoff bomb to center, Tahoe got two quick outs. But a walk and consecutive singles brought Melendez to the plate with the sacks packed. The junior tagged a triple that plated all three runners and later scored on an error, pushing it to 18-4.

“You have to play perfect to beat Carson. You’ve got to show up ready to play and we didn’t even show up,” Clelan said.

Carson’s Eaton finished with three hits as did Serrano and Melendez. Triggs, Adam Heggen, Uppendahl, Gerken, Fair and Ryan Waller each had hits.

McNutt, who once coached Clelan on the Carson Capitols, said the young coach just needs to stick with it.

“Tahoe’s known as a basketball school. But I think if Ralph gets the support he needs, he can really turn this thing around. He’s got a good group of coaches. It’s going to take some time,” McNutt said.

Tahoe dropped to 8-14 overall, including 4-11 in league.

In the junior varsity contest, five Tahoe homers gave the Vikes a 10-8 win over Carson.

Travis Ealy, who banged the go-ahead bomb in the sixth; Andy Morrow; Beau Barkley; Junior Giffin and Tim Sprinkles each went yard. Sprinkles also shined at first base.

Jeff Jensen went the distance, collecting 10 strikeouts.

“It was a big win for us. Sprinkles made some great defensive plays to keep us in it and Jensen pitched a jewel,” said Tahoe coach Ray Fernsten.


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