South Tahoe baseball swept by Elko in home debut, still winless on season
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Two series into Div. I-A Northern League play, the South Tahoe baseball team is looking for wins — and answers. The Vikings were swept by visiting Elko last weekend, March 25-26, at Todd Fields Park, results that keep them winless in 11 games this season.
South Tahoe (0-11, 0-6 I-A Northern) scored only one run in the three-game set, which came in an 11-1 defeat in the series finale Saturday, March 26. The Vikings were outscored 32-1 in the series by Elko (6-4-1, 6-0), and rarely helped their own cause against one of the league’s top teams.
“We beat ourselves the entire weekend — errors, not throwing enough strikes and we had plenty of base runners on,” Vikings coach Starbuck Teevan said. “It’s not a good recipe for success.”
The Vikings plated their lone run in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, an RBI single from senior Will Mori that scored freshman Caleb Caramazza in the bottom of the fifth. Mori went 3-for-3 in the loss, and accounted for all of South Tahoe’s hits along with senior Paul Hoefer (2-for-3).
Elko put its first four batters of the game on base, leading to a five-run first inning against South Tahoe sophomore Chris Pfister. In the bottom half, the Vikings put their first three batters aboard before leaving the bases loaded with three straight strikeouts.
“We had some opportunities to score, and it’s stuff we work on every day — hitting, bunting and situational stuff,” Teevan said.
Pfister pitched two straight scoreless innings until the fourth, when the Indians capitalized on a Vikings’ error to go further in front. With two outs, Elko’s Dustin Baum hit a ground ball to third base that was mishandled and allowed a run to score. In the next at-bat, Indians’ second baseman Kyle Whitted sent a shot over the scoreboard in right-center field that made it 8-0.
After South Tahoe scored in the bottom of the fifth, Elko answered with three runs to stretch its lead to 11-1. In the bottom of the sixth, the Vikings went down in order as the Indians completed the sweep in six innings.
Pfister allowed eight runs — seven earned — on six hits with one strikeout and five walks. For Elko, Julian Loera threw 6.0 innings and limited the Vikings to one run on five hits while striking out 11 and walking two.
In the first game of Saturday’s twinbill, the Vikings fell to Elko 8-0. South Tahoe had six hits in defeat — its most in the series — but left the bases loaded twice en route to being shutout.
Junior Ben Bushrow led the Vikings with two hits in Saturday’s opener, finishing 2-for-4. Mori started on the mound, and allowed six earned runs on five hits in 3.1 innings with eight walks — including five runs in the first two frames.
South Tahoe dropped the series opener 13-0 in five innings Friday, March 25. The Vikings were held to one hit — a single from senior Justin Ruger in the fourth — in the loss.
“It’s a punch in the face and it’s a punch in the gut. We could lose all our games, but if I see some fight I’m OK with that,” Teevan said of the team’s 11-game losing streak. “We’re going to shake things up a little bit, because I don’t see the heart and the fight in this group.”
The Vikings’ winless start to the campaign is its longest in five seasons under Teevan. South Tahoe is one of four teams without a win in league play along with Sparks, Truckee and Dayton — with six teams qualifying for the regional playoffs, at least one from this group will play in the postseason.
“We have some youth on the team and we’re taking our lumps right now, but in the long run we’ll be OK,” Teevan said. “Both Elko and Fallon are top-tier teams in our league and it shows.”
South Tahoe returns to action Friday, April 1, when it opens a three-game series against Sparks (3-4, 0-3) at Todd Fields Park. First pitch Friday is scheduled for 3 p.m. with a doubleheader Saturday, April 2, starting at 11 a.m.
“We have a hard week of practice ahead of us and we have a lot of things we need to clean up,” Teevan said.
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