Highlanders sink Lakers at Aces park, crush Pershing County
The Incline Highlanders enjoyed a break from their playoff push earlier this week to play an exhibition against their rival on a professional baseball field.
The Highlanders played North Tahoe Tuesday, April 24, at Aces Ballpark in Reno and winning 9-1 likely made it more enjoyable.
But the next day they jumped right back into the struggle to reach postseason and ripped Pershing County 24-2 in five innings for their seventh win in the last nine games, eight wins in 10 tries including the exhibition.
Against North Tahoe, Highlander head coach Billy Knight used one pitcher per inning and they combined to surrender just two hits and three walks.
Zach Poalilo had three hits, including a triple, and scored three runs and Tristan Summers continued his torrid hitting throughout the season with a single, double and three runs batted in to lead the offense.
“Each team used one pitcher per inning and my set of pitchers were a little better than theirs,” Knight said. “But the kids got a chance to get out there, and enjoy all the field has to offer and have fun.”
The Highlanders got on the bus the next day for a roughly two-hour ride to Lovelock, Nevada and smashed their hosts.
Incline scored 11 runs in the fifth inning to put Pershing out of its misery.
Summers again led the charge going 4 for 4 with two doubles, three runs scored and three driven in.
The senior has pushed his batting average to an amazing .633 (31 for 49) for the season. He leads the team in nearly every offensive category. He is tied for the team lead in runs (23), and is all by himself in hits (31), RBIs (22), doubles (12), triples (2) and home runs (2).
He’s also pitched the second most innings on the team with 22 and has 43 strikeouts.
“He’s a senior and this year he is really producing, hitting, throwing, fielding, he’s had an outstanding year,” Knight said. “And there are no cheap hits in there, he deserves everything he gets.”
Also at the plate for Incline, Brayden Hock went 3 for 3 with a double, three runs scored and two RBIs, Jake Harrell singled, doubled and drove in two, Dalton Fry scored three and drove in two, Tyler Knight has three RBIs, Trent Green singled, doubled and drove in two and Jacob Leoncio and Chase MacDonald each scored twice.
The Highlanders (9-7 2A Northern League) play a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. Friday, April 27, against Pershing (3-12) at Incline Middle School and will finish the regular season with three homes games, May 3-4, against Battle Mountain (12-3) where their playoff lives likely will be decided.
The top four teams in the league reach postseason and as of Thursday, the Highlanders are a half game behind North Tahoe (9-6). But they have beaten the Lakers two out of three games and own the tiebreaker. Yerington (13-2) owns the top spot.
“First, we’ve gotta take care of business at home,” Knight said. “But this is a great situation to be in. We’re not just playing out the string. We’re playing for something.”
North Tahoe plays three against Battle Mountain Friday and Saturday, so by the time the Highlanders face the Longhorns next week, they will know how many wins they will need.
“We’ll know by the time we take the field against Battle Mountain exactly what we need to do,” Knight said. “We control our own destiny. I truly believe, with how we’ve gotten better throughout the season, we’re a dangerous team if we get into the playoffs.”