South Tahoe baseball falls to Fernley in regular season finale, looks ahead to postseason
Div. I-A Northern League Tournament
Thursday-Saturday, May 12-14 at Spring Creek
Game 1: (4) Fallon (19-10) vs. (5) Dayton (16-11), 8 a.m.
Game 2: (3) Elko (17-11-1) vs. (6) South Tahoe (9-20), 10:30 a.m.
Game 3: Fallon-Dayton winner vs. (1) Spring Creek (24-5), 1 p.m.
Game 4: Elko-South Tahoe winner vs. (2) Fernley (19-10), 3:30 p.m.
Game 5: G2 Loser-G3 Loser, 8 a.m.
Game 6: G1 Loser-G4 Loser, 10:30 a.m.
Game 7: G3 Winner-G5 Winner, 1 p.m.
Game 8: G4 Winner-G6 Winner, 3:30 p.m.
*Game 9 (if G3 Winner loses): 8 a.m.
*Game 10 (if G4 Winner loses): 8 or 10:30 a.m.
Game 11 (Championship): 11 a.m. or 1 p.m.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe baseball team celebrated its nine seniors Monday, May 9, but couldn’t close out the regular season with a victory. The Vikings lost to Fernley 14-4 in six innings at Todd Fields Park in a Div. I-A Northern contest between playoff-bound clubs.
“That’s not the way that we wanted to end our season,” Vikings coach Starbuck Teevan said. “We competed there for a few innings and kept it close until the fifth; then the gates opened.”
South Tahoe (9-20, 9-15 I-A Northern) advances to the postseason as the sixth seed. For Fernley (19-10, 18-6), the victory locked up second place and secured a first-round bye.
“We definitely have to step up our game,” Teevan said.
The Vaqueros hit the ball hard against the Vikings throughout Monday’s game, and it didn’t matter who the hosts threw at them. Fernley finished with 17 hits and scored in five of six frames, including a six-run sixth to go ahead by double digits.
“Fernley hit the cover off the ball today,” Teevan said. “They’re a well-coached team, they play defense, they hit the ball and they have good pitching. I think they’re going to do well out at [regionals].”
After falling behind by 10 runs, South Tahoe put two aboard in the bottom of the sixth, but couldn’t score to extend the contest. With runners on second and third and one out, the Vikings struck out twice to end the game.
The Vikings got on the board in the bottom of the third, scoring on a two-run double from junior Garret Harley that made it 5-2. Fernley scored five in the first three frames off of South Tahoe senior Moises Cuevas and three against sophomore Chris Pfister in the next two innings to build an 8-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Vikings mounted a two-out rally to cut into Fernley’s lead. Freshman Kevin Lehmann hit an RBI single, and two batters later senior Josh Sullivan drew a bases-loaded walk that made it 8-4 — but a strikeout with the bags full kept South Tahoe from getting any closer.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Teevan said. “It’s been a long, tough year for us, but the guys keep fighting. They’re still having fun, but we still hate to lose.”
Harley went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run in South Tahoe’s regular season finale; Sullivan finished 1-for-1 with a pair of walks, RBI and a run; and Lehmann was 1-for-4 with an RBI. Seniors Will Mori, Caleb Russell and Josh Herrera each added a hit.
For Fernley, seniors Giovanni Piroddi and Carlos McIntyre collected four hits apiece. McIntyre finished 4-for-5 with five RBIs and a run. Vaqueros leadoff hitter Kyle Throckmorton stole three bases in the contest, bringing his league-leading total to 29 for the regular season.
The Vikings honored their seniors with a postgame ceremony Monday, a group that also includes Paul Hoefer, Justin Ruger, Mason Cain and Prince Obere. South Tahoe started the game with eight seniors in the field along with Harley in right field.
“All in all, they’re good kids,” Teevan said of the senior group. “It was special to get them all out there at the same time. Those kids have grown up together, and they deserve to be on the field at the same time.”
South Tahoe returns to action Thursday, May 12, when it faces third-seeded Elko (17-11-1) at 10:30 a.m. to open play in the double-elimination Div. I-A Northern League Tournament at Spring Creek. The Vikings were outscored by the Indians 31-1 in a three-game sweep earlier this season, and have lost eight straight meetings between the teams.
“The key for us is to play our best baseball, and we haven’t yet,” Teevan said. “It’s still out there and I’ve seen stranger things. Baseball is a funny game and anything can happen.”
With a win, the Vikings would advance to play second-seeded Fernley on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. A loss would drop South Tahoe to a loser’s bracket matchup Friday, May 13, at 10:30 a.m. The championship will be held Saturday, May 14, with the top two teams moving on to the Div. I-A State Tournament.
“We’ll see if we can rattle some cages,” Teevan said.
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