Learning experience for Viking softballers
The ongoing education for South Tahoe High’s young softball team continued Tuesday at Tahoe Valley Elementary School.
The Vikings, fighting to establish an identity in a league where take-no-prisoners is the operative mode, ran into Northern Nevada mainstay McQueen. The Lancers handled the matchup with relative ease, winning 13-1.
“When I look at South Tahoe, I see a lot of potential. But they looked flat today,” said McQueen coach Nick Brockovitch, whose 19-8 team is fighting for second place in the league. “We tried to emphasize the importance of this being a conference game to get them ready to play.”
Tahoe’s Amy Johnson held the Lancers at bay early, allowing just one hit in each of the first two frames. But Laura Ferrera touched the junior for a three-run homer in the third inning, pushing the Lancer lead to 4-0.
The Vikings (5-17, 2-10 league) battled McQueen’s No. 1 pitcher, freshman Serene Hunter, tough through the first four innings. Kelly Patterson singled in the first and the Vikes followed McQueen’s fourth-inning addition of two more runs with a run in their half, as Brooke Peterson singled home Jennifer Perasso.
But Tahoe’s youth shone, prematurely ending the rally. A Viking freshman got picked off at first by the catcher after singling – the victim of a snap throw. Instead of possibly having the bases loaded with only one out and the chance to cut the 6-1 deficit, Tahoe had to settle for the lone run.
The Lancers quickly put it out of reach, adding two more in the fifth on two hits, an error and hit batter and five in the sixth, as Johnson tired, on five hits, a walk and hit batter. McQueen’s defense stiffened to allow no hits and just one Tahoe runner in the final three innings.
“Sometimes it’s hard to turn the momentum around once the ball gets rolling,” said Tahoe coach Jan Johnson. “We knew McQueen would be a tough team. It seemed like our timing wasn’t quite there.”
Playing teams like McQueen should serve as a wake-up call for Tahoe softball, according to Johnson, as programs in the Reno area play a consistently high level of competition not only during the high school season but throughout the year.
“We’re playing top-caliber teams with kids who are playing 75 to 100 games a year,” said Johnson, who fields an ever-blooming squad of three seniors, five juniors, three sophomores and one freshman. “We’ve got to take that next step if our kids want to play at that next level.
“We’ve got a good nucleus and we’re young. Most of these girls really want to play hard, enjoy the game and want to improve. We’ll get there.”
South Tahoe travels to Hug on Friday.
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