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Listless Vikes searching for pride

Michael Traum

Out of the Northern Nevada AAAA playoff picture, the South Tahoe High baseball team had the perfect chance to play the spoiler role.

But instead of dealing Churchill County (Fallon) a serious blow to its postseason possibilities, the Vikings played as if they themselves had been left out in the sun too long.

The Greenwave pounded the Vikes, 15-1, at the South Tahoe Babe Ruth Field on Thursday, avenging a season-opening loss while keeping alive hopes for No. 6 playoff spot.

“They stepped up to what we had the first time. We had to get revenge. Plus, it was a big win,” said Fallon’s John Farris, whose three-run bomb in the third inning broke open a one-run game.

The visitors touched Tahoe starter Bret Uppendahl for a run on three hits in the first inning. The junior got the ball up at times but settled to generally initiate out-inducing plays. He took the loss, allowing 10 hits and eight runs, with three fans and two walks in three-and-a-third frames.

“For the most part, ‘Uppy’ pitched well. But we need to score more than one run to win,” said Viking coach Ralph Clelan.

Tahoe’s lone plater came in the third, as Adam Heggaen singled and moved to third on a Scott Souers double. Greg Bruso’s fielder’s choice scored Heggan. But the Vikes’ rally quickly turned bad, as Souers unsuccessfully tried for third on the Bruso play. The aggressive mistake proved even more costly as a subsequent single by Chris Barna, who is seeing a watermelon-sized ball in every at bat, could have cut the lead in half.

The Greenwave pounced on the momentum swing, erupting for eight runs in the fourth. By the time Bruso, who entered in relief, induced an inning-ending pop fly, Fallon had nearly batted around twice.

“It’s hard to come back when you get down by so many and the morale goes down,” Uppendahl said.

Fallon coach Wymon Smith said he could sense that Tahoe had been dealt a fatal blow.

“They didn’t roll over, but we could tell they weren’t as sharp as they were early,” he said. “It’s always difficult coming up here. It worked out well for us.”

South Tahoe’s seventh straight loss left Clelan genuinely perplexed.

“We can’t seem to stay away from the big inning. It kills us every time. They’re a well-coached team and did what it took to win,” he said. “All we’ve got left to play for now is pride and a little self-respect.”

Uppendahl agreed.

“I think sometimes that baseball is not always on everybody’s mind. Maybe since we’re out of the playoffs that guys would rather be doing other things. We’ve just got to do our best and come out positive by winning a couple of more games,” he said.

South Tahoe (8-18, 4-15 league) hosts a twinbill with Hug on Saturday.


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