Hug owns Vikings’ home opener |

Hug owns Vikings’ home opener

Rick Chandler, Tribune Staff Writer

A week ago, South Tahoe High’s home softball field was covered with snow. On Tuesday, it was covered with Hug baserunners.

The Vikings were treated rudely in their long-awaited home opener, losing 14-0 to the Hawks, who must have found the mountain air to their liking. Hug collected 15 hits in the five-inning rout, including a grand slam by winning pitcher Melinda Payne.

“But at least we got to play at home,” said Viking catcher Megan Humphreys. “Despite the score, we’re still pretty excited about that.”

Until Tuesday, softball season had been one long road trip for the Vikings – 16 games in the inhospitable, yet dry, state of Nevada. But on Tuesday the field at Tahoe Valley Elementary School – which the Vikings call home – was finally dry enough on which to play a game.

“The girls were really looking forward to this,” said Vikings assistant coach Steve Humphreys, filling in for head coach Jan Johnson who took some time off to watch his daughters Angela and Amy play softball at Belmont University in Knoxville, Tenn. “When they took the field you could see the smiles on their faces.”

While the rest of the league seems to be in midseason form, South Tahoe’s players are barely getting unlimbered. The Vikings have most of their practices in the school gym, and have only been able to practice outside for the past week.

Then there are the actual games. A long road season is nothing new for the Vikings – Humphreys estimates that the team traveled approximately 4,000 miles last season.

“It can be kind of a drag,” said Megan Humphreys, a senior. “In my four years (on the softball team), we’ve played maybe 15 percent of our games at home. We’d like to play more home games to give our fans a chance to come out and support the team.

“But being girls, a road trip is also a good excuse to have a party.”

Tuesday was no party for South Tahoe, who went through two pitchers and fell behind, 7-0, after four innings. The game was called after five innings due to the 10-run rule.

“We hung in there for awhile (the game was scoreless through the first two innings), but Hug really put the bat on the ball today,” Steve Humphreys said. “We didn’t play that badly in the field. We just couldn’t hit.”

South Tahoe managed just two hits – singles by Melissa Johnson and Stephanie Terry.

Hug (9-8 in league) took a 1-0 lead in the third on a run-scoring single by Erika Singland, and scored six in the fourth to put the game away. Payne’s slam – a line drive over the left fielder’s head – was the big blow.

Senior third baseman Kathryn Baer and sophomore first baseman Jill Barna played well defensively for the Vikings (2-15).

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