South Tahoe baseball can’t break through at Div. I-A Northern Region tournament, falls to Elko, Fallon
SPRING CREEK, Nev. — As the last team to make the Div. I-A Northern Region tournament, the South Tahoe baseball team faced a tough task at regionals. Ultimately the sixth-seeded Vikings couldn’t break through for a victory, making their postseason stay a short one.
“We definitely didn’t play as well as we wanted to, which kind of carried over from the season,” Vikings coach Starbuck Teevan said. “It’s unfortunate that our seniors went out on the losing end.”
South Tahoe (9-22) fell to third-seeded Elko and fourth-seeded Fallon in consecutive days last Thursday and Friday, May 12-13, to end its 2016 season. The Indians and Greenwave eventually met in the regional title game Saturday, May 14, with Elko winning 7-6.
“Elko and Fallon hit the cover off the ball, had very good pitching and very good defense; it showed and they took it to us both games,” Teevan said. “Those were the teams that we were shooting for, and it goes to prove that we have a lot of work to do.”
The Vikings opened tournament play Thursday morning with a 12-2 loss to Elko in five innings. The Vikings avoided the shutout with a two-run single from senior Mason Cain in the top of the fifth after the Indians scored three runs in each of the first four frames.
“Elko was just head and shoulders above us,” Teevan said. “There was really nothing that we didn’t do. It was everything they did do.”
Junior Garret Harley collected a team-high two hits in the loss, finishing 2-for-3 with a double and a run. Cain was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and senior Paul Hoefer went 1-for-3 with a run while seniors Will Mori and Caleb Russell added a hit apiece.
On the mound against Elko, senior Moises Cuevas started and lasted 3.1 innings. The right-hander allowed nine runs (seven earned) on 11 hits with two strikeouts and five walks.
“Moises threw well, he just couldn’t throw a secondary pitch for a strike,” Teevan said. “His curveball and changeup weren’t going for strikes, so he became a one-pitch pitcher — and Elko can hit a fastball as well as anybody.”
The loss dropped South Tahoe to the loser’s bracket to face Fallon, who split a pair of games on the first day. With their season on the line, the Vikings couldn’t avoid elimination in a 10-3 loss to the Greenwave.
“We had multiple opportunities to score runs and we left a bunch of runners on base,” Teevan said. “We got our hits, but we couldn’t get the clutch hits when we needed them — and Fallon did.”
Mori had four of South Tahoe’s 10 hits against the Greenwave, finishing with a double and a run in four at-bats. Senior Josh Sullivan went 2-for-3 with a double while freshman Kevin Lehmann had a two-run double — Russell, senior Justin Ruger and junior Tristan Deatherage each added a hit.
Sophomore Chris Pfister threw 5.0 innings against the Greenwave, allowing 10 runs on 14 hits with five walks. Russell threw a scoreless frame of relief, scattering a hit and a walk.
Each of South Tahoe’s postseason opponents went on to knock off the league’s top two teams Saturday — league champion Spring Creek and second-seeded Fernley. After coming through the loser’s bracket, both Elko and Fallon delivered two wins to eliminate their unbeaten counterparts and punch their tickets to state.
“Both those teams can score runs in bunches, and have a shot at winning the whole thing this year,” Teevan said.
South Tahoe had its share of ups and downs throughout the 2016 campaign. After starting the season with 11 straight losses, the Vikings bounced back to make a third straight playoff appearance.
“We struggled early but ended up playing .500 baseball for the rest of the year and won a few series,” Teevan said. “We just never ended up playing our best game all season. We were hoping to do that in the playoffs, it just didn’t happen.
“The group of freshman, sophomores and juniors that we had this year are all excited about moving forward with determination. We have to want it a little bit more.”