Lancers stick it to Vikings
The dog days of summer may be months away, but South Tahoe High’s baseball team, out of the playoffs and hemorrhaging players, is feeling the dog days of spring.
“I think we’re a little bit down,” said Vikings skipper Doug Russell after his club dropped both halves of Wednesday’s home doubleheader to McQueen. “We’re not achieving what we hoped to be achieving. We’re in our own little dog days right now.”
McQueen (14-7 overall and in Northern Nevada 4A play) moved into a third-place tie with idle Carson against a South Tahoe (3-17) team that already was depleted, but has lost even more players to academic ineligibility and injury. The Lancers took command early in the 10-inning doubleheader, dropping South Tahoe 13-2 in the first game, and 28-1 in the second.
“It’s tough,” said South Tahoe senior infielder, outfielder and pitcher Tim Sprinkles, whose club has just one more home game – Friday against Elko – remaining. “It really is – not just for me, since it’s my senior year, but for everybody. Only winning three games is hard on you, really.”
Toby O’Brien was solid on the mound for South Tahoe, scattering five hits over four innings, but the nine errors in the field behind him doomed South Tahoe. Jordan Lucas, who moved up to start for the varsity on Wednesday after a successful stint on the JV, also threw well, but had little support as South Tahoe fell behind 11-0 in the first frame.
“He threw some good stuff today,” Russell said. “He ran into a team that’s swinging hot bats right now.
“They’re swinging the bats,” Russell said of McQueen. “They’re one of the top four or five teams in the league, and that’s because they swing the bats so well.”
O’Brien helped his own cause with a home run in the first game, and was 2 for 2 in the second. Ryan Cullen had two hits in the second, and Justin Osborne, another JV promotion, was 2 for 2 in the second game and had three hits on the day.
The Vikings are at the bottom of the Northern Nevada 4A standings, and won’t make the playoffs. Still, Sprinkles, a senior who had a single and scored the team’s only run in the second game, urged his younger teammates to still go out and win to learn what it’s like for the future.
“You’ve still got to play every game like it’s your last,” Sprinkles said. “Anything’s possible. If you want it bad enough, you can go out and get it done.
“Every team we play from here on out is beatable, and I’d like to see this team get a few more wins before the end of the year. That’d be a huge confidence boost.”
Russell echoed his player’s sentiment.
“I think we can all work on our mental game, or mental approach to baseball,” Russell said. “We can work on supporting our teammates when things don’t go so great, and all the little learning opportunities that are there, we just need to start learning, capitalizing. If we can learn that, we can all be better ballplayers.”
South Tahoe returns to action on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. game at Fallon, returns home to play Elko on Friday, then is at Reed for a noon Saturday doubleheader against the Raiders.
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