Mercy: South Tahoe sweeps past Whittell
It was an idyllic day at Lampe Park: A cloudless early spring sky with a bracing, late morning chill and only a whisper of wind. As good a setting for baseball as Lampe has provided in recent years.
South Tahoe found the weather especially nice. Viking hitters from top to bottom feasted upon Whittell pitching while South’s hurlers held Warrior bats in check, winning big in a twin-bill sweep Saturday. South Tahoe posted monster double-bat-around innings in each game as both ended via the mercy rule, 26-1 and 28-1.
The Vikings started quickly and never trailed. Dominic Diana was the siege gun for South in Game 1, smacking four hits including two doubles and a triple. The junior shortstop scored four times with three RBI. Catcher Tyler Sharp drove two doubles among his three hits, scoring three times with three RBI. Starting pitcher Jordan Mann also provided extra-base pop, tripling in the fifth.
Everything worked for the blue and gold. Swing-away power gave way to small ball for a time in the third, as leadoff hitter Sergio Burgueno, Christian Coats and Kolby Eymann all reached safely on well-placed bunts. Then coach Starbuck Teevan emptied his bench, giving all his Vikings playing experience.
“We got contributions by every player on the team. Players who don’t normally get a lot of playing time found themselves with several at-bats, time in the field, which they deserve as everyone works hard at practice,” Teevan said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to remain focused when the games get one-sided, but as a whole we did a good job.”
Mann and Coats reached base on every plate appearance, each with four hits in the game. Burgueno had two hits and might have had four, but for Warrior third sacker Avery Laub, who speared two screaming “atom” balls for outs.
Mann struck out 10 Warriors, allowing only four hits and walking three for the win.
“Our pitchers threw strikes all day and kept our defense off the field and our offense at the plate. It always starts with pitchers throwing strikes,” Teevan said.
Whittell broke up the shutout in the third when Matt Elliott muscled an opposite field triple and Robbie Poet singled him home. Poet had two hits in the game, Quinn Kixmiller and Cody Gibson also singled for the red and gold. Freshman Chris Evans made his pitching debut for Whittell and struck out two in an inning’s work.
South Tahoe’s lineup continued to fatten their averages in the nightcap.
Mann had the big power numbers this game with a double, triple, two singles, three runs scored and two RBI. Burgeno laced two doubles, scoring three times with four RBI. Coats again reached safely every time up, lining four singles, scoring three runs and three RBI. Diana added three more hits, including a long double, and three RBI. Sharp and Taylor Weik also had two hits for the game.
Viking ace Tyler Sharp surrendered four hits and earned the win in Game 2. Bobby Gonzalez relieved in both games and threw three scoreless innings.
Kixmiller knocked in the Warriors’ lone run in the first inning. Elliott, Gibson and Alex Barnes also singled. Jake Sharp’s nine-game hitting streak was snapped in the opener, but the scrappy sophomore started anew by legging out an infield single in the nightcap.
UP NEXT: The Warriors (4-7, 0-2) will hit the road again, this time trekking to Battle Mountain for Friday and Saturday games in a crossover tournament. South Tahoe (5-3-1, 3-0) plays Portola High School (3-4) on Tuesday. The Vikings will then play in a Ruby Mountain League crossover tournament this weekend.
“Lowry, Elko, Spring Creek are all quality opponents and will be a good test for our team,” Teevan said. “We have an opportunity to build on the Team Concept we’ve been stressing to all players. Picking each other up, playing for the team, one pitch at a time are keys to our success the next few games and the rest of the season.”