Student Athlete of the Month: Connor Long’s hard work pays off for South Tahoe baseball
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Connor Long started playing baseball at age 4.
He’s played every year since but has never had as much fun as he did this past season as a senior at South Tahoe High School.
The Vikings didn’t qualify for the state tournament, which was their goal, but they put together a good season and Long was a major factor in their success.
“The players and coaches were awesome,” Long said. “We had good chemistry and I felt included in it all. I’m not satisfied with not making it to state, but we did the best we could. I thought we were good enough to make it, but it just didn’t work out for us.”
Long, a first baseman, was among the team leaders in batting average and runs batted in all while carrying a 4.10 grade-point average.
His strong season coupled with his astronomical GPA makes Long the perfect choice to be the Tribune’s Student-Athlete of the Month.
“Winning this award means a lot to me,” Long said. “This was the first year I was considered a starter and I was able to prove myself to everyone.”
“Connor had a very good year for our team,” said Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan. “He played very well defensively at first base and we couldn’t have gone as far as we did this season without him. He deserves this recognition. He works very hard in the classroom and on the field. I’m very proud of his effort throughout the years at STHS and look forward to seeing his growth in the future.”
Long finished second on the team in batting average (.376, 35 for 93), runs batted in (23) and slugging percentage (.505).
His batting average rose as the season wore on after starting the year 0 for 11. He went 9 for 12 with eight RBIs over the next few games and his roll continued through the end of the season. He hit .426 after the first few games.
He enjoyed a monster series against Dayton, which has become some of his favorite memories this season.
On April 13, Long mashed his first and only high school home run and went 4 for 4 with four RBIs in a 14-7 victory.
Two days later, Long and the Vikings played Dayton at Greater Nevada Field, home of the Reno Aces, and had another big day.
“I had a double and triple against one of the best pitchers in our league,” Long said as the Vikings won 5-2 and finished a three-game series sweep.
“He was a constant in our lineup, driving in a bunch of runs with clutch hits,” Teevan said.
Long, who has also skied all his life, even competitively in seventh through 11th grade in USASA events at Sierra-at-Tahoe, has already been accepted into the San Diego State University.
Division I baseball is not in his plans but he plans to major in television, film and new media.
“I’m born and raised here and 18 years is a long time,” Long said. “I’m just looking for a little change.”