Little League All-Stars show grit |

Little League All-Stars show grit

Michael Traum

The regular season was delayed by weather. The teams had to play up to four games per week. And the playoffs happened smack dab in the middle of previously scheduled all-star contests.

But this year’s South Tahoe Little League All-Star teams stood tall – and delivered some fine results along the way.

“With what these kids had to go through, I’m proud of them,” said 11-12 year-old all-star coach John Corey, who is now taking a break following his 26th year of Little League coaching. “This was probably the best group of kids I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

Added 9-10 coach Jack Harrington, “My young ballplayers demonstrated championship character in a tough situation. This valuable experience will serve these kids well in the years to come.”

The 11-12 bunch finished 2-2, the best since 1983, according to Corey.

Tahoe opened with an 11-5 win over Valley Providence. Down 5-3 going into the fifth inning, Matt Bobman and Kevin Woodman each homered to lead an eight-run outburst. Marcus McKinnon, Ryan Kraw, Tyson Cunningham and Woodman each finished with two hits. Woodman and Allen McDermitt combined on the mound.

Tahoe next fell to Reno Continental, 11-1. Ryan Kraw singled and scored on a Leon Abravanel single in the first inning.

With a 1-1 record in the double-elimination format, Tahoe next beat Truckee, 9-4. And again, a big inning was the key – along with starter Kraw. Up 2-0 after three frames, Tahoe busted out for seven runs in the fifth. Abravanel led the stick attack, belting a grand slam, as 11 hitters came to the plate. Tyler Corey was 3 for 3 with two doubles, a stolen base and two runs scored. Kraw went the distance, allowing just four hits and one run with six strikeouts through six innings before tiring in a three-run Truckee sixth.

The 11-12 group met the end in a 4-3 nailbiter to Sparks American. Woodman supplied a solo shot in the sixth inning, but Tahoe left the bases loaded. Tahoe stranded nine other runners, including the bases loaded in the fifth frame as well. Kraw, Corey and McKinnon split six of Tahoe’s 10 base knocks.

“We were one out away from winning that last game. It was heartbreaking,” coach Corey said. “The kids’ camaraderie, work ethics and attitudes were great and refreshing. Their wasn’t a selfish bone in any of them. The just picked each other up and wanted to win.”

South Tahoe’s 9-10 group also went 2-2 in All-Star play.

After falling to Carson Valley in the opener, a loss Harrington attributed to “first-game jitters,” the locals rallied for a pair of wins, beating Truckee, 11-10, and Washoe, 19-13.

In the Truckee game, starter Cody Harrington went the distance and provided a two-out, go-ahead double with the bases loaded in the last inning. David Schue added an inside-the-park homer. Kevin Mullen chipped in on defense, throwing a bullet from right field to nail Truckee’s potential tying run in the sixth.

In the Washoe win, Martin Rubio tossed three innings of no-hit ball, as Tahoe cruised to a 12-0 lead through three innings.

Tahoe was finally ousted by Reno American, 11-6. Trailing 6-5 in the fourth, Schue belted a two-out, bases-loaded shot deep to right field, where the Reno player athletically grabbed it to kill the rally.

“If that ball is over the right fielder’s head, we score three runs and turn the whole game our way,” Harrington said. “But baseball is a game of inches and we came up a few inches short on Schue’s shot.”

South Tahoe’s Hooligan team also fared well, finishing tournament play at 2-2. “We had a real good year,” said assistant coach Doug Van Gordon.

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