South Tahoe baseball downs Lowry, wins third straight series
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — In its third straight series against a team in the lower half of the Div. I-A Northern League standings, the South Tahoe baseball team continued to maintain the upper hand. The Vikings took a three-game series from Lowry last weekend, April 15-16, at Todd Fields Park, winning the first two games against the Buckaroos to remain firmly in playoff position.
“We’re playing better defense and throwing more strikes,” Vikings coach Starbuck Teevan said. “If you can do that, you have a chance to win every ballgame.”
South Tahoe (7-14, 7-9 I-A Northern) took the series opener 8-1 on Friday and won the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader 3-0. Lowry (8-11, 5-10) avoided the sweep in the series finale, as the Vikings started slow en route to a 9-4 loss.
“It’s big moving forward, but we’re not where we want to be yet,” Teevan said. “We’re happy to win another series, but at this point we have to keep winning them.”
Under the lights at Fields Park on Friday night, South Tahoe lit up Lowry 8-1. Sophomore Chris Pfister held the Buckaroos to four hits in a complete game, and the Vikings did all their scoring in the first three innings to take the opener.
In 7.0 innings, Pfister allowed an earned run on two hits with six strikeouts and two walks. The right-hander has thrown a complete game in each of the Vikings’ last three Friday games, and allowed one earned run over 20.0 innings in those starts. Lowry’s run in the top of the fourth ended his 17-inning scoreless stretch.
“Chris had a dominating outing,” Teevan said. “He’s throwing really well for us and gives us an opportunity to win every time he throws.”
South Tahoe opened the scoring Friday with a pair of runs in the first, before adding four in the second and two more in the third. Senior Will Mori led the Vikings offensively, finishing 2-for-4 with a double, RBI and run.
Junior Garret Harley was 1-for-1 with two RBIs and three runs in three plate appearances. Senior Paul Hoefer went 1-for-4 with three RBIs, senior Josh Sullivan finished 1-2 with an RBI and a run, and freshman Kevin Lehmann had a hit and RBI in his varsity debut.
“He’s going to be playing with us the rest of the year,” Teevan said. “He showed me a lot of things this weekend at shortstop and at the plate. I’m happy about that.”
The Vikings opened Saturday’s doubleheader with a 3-0 victory to capture the series. Senior Moises Cuevas threw 6.0+ shutout innings and South Tahoe delivered just enough offense to prevail.
Cuevas held Lowry to two hits with two strikeouts and two walks, and was pulled in the top of the seventh after allowing the first two Buckaroos batters to reach safely. Pfister came in and recorded the final three outs around a walk, ending the game on a pop up to junior Caleb Russell in foul territory near first base.
“It’s nice to see a couple guys stepping up and throwing strikes,” Teevan said.
South Tahoe opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, with Harley turning a leadoff walk into the game’s first run. In the second, Sullivan reached on a hit by pitch and junior Tristan Deatherage pinch ran for him. Deatherage eventually scored on a double steal to make it 2-0.
In the sixth, South Tahoe added to its lead when Russell lined a two-out single to left field that scored Lehmann. The freshman walked in all three of his at-bats. As a team, the Vikings had four hits in the win.
“We didn’t hit that well all weekend,” Teevan said. “We did take advantage of some opportunities they gave us — they made errors.”
With the series in hand, South Tahoe dropped the finale 9-4 on Saturday. The Vikings fell behind Lowry early and couldn’t recover on the way to defeat.
“Lowry was a little bit upset that they lost the first two games and they had opportunities to win both,” Teevan said. “They came out with a little more fire than us and I give credit to them.”
Both teams traded a pair of runs in the first two frames, with Sullivan smacking a two-out, two-run triple in the bottom of the second to make it 2-2. But the Buckaroos answered with seven straight runs to avoid the sweep and win by a comfortable margin.
In the top of the third, Lowry put its first four batters aboard to chase Lehmann — and it led to a four-run inning. The Buckaroos didn’t trail the rest of the way, and extended their lead to 9-2 before Mori and Lehmann delivered run-scoring hits in the bottom of the sixth.
“We only hit three or four balls hard,” Teevan said.
Russell led South Tahoe with two hits in the series finale, finishing 2-for-3 with a run. Mori was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run, while Hoefer went 1-for-3 with a run.
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday, April 19, at Dayton. The Vikings host Fernley in a three-game series this weekend, April 22-23, at Todd Fields Park. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. with a doubleheader Saturday set for 11 a.m.