South Tahoe softball rallies past Sparks, captures second straight league series
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe softball team dropped its opener against Sparks last weekend, but that didn’t keep the team from winning its second straight Div. I-A Northern League series. The Vikings swept the Railroaders in a doubleheader Saturday, April 2, rallying to capture the three-game set.
In Saturday’s twinbill, South Tahoe (4-5 I-A Northern) started fast to even the series with a 6-3 win then rallied for a 9-6 victory to take two from the Railroaders. Sparks (1-8) won the first game of the series 11-4 on Friday, April 1.
“I was confident that we would get back on track and that we would take two out of three from this group,” Vikings coach Eric Owens said. “They made errors Friday, and we just had to put the ball in play.”
South Tahoe jumped on Sparks quickly in the first game Saturday en route to victory. In the first inning, junior Kendra Conard and senior Nora Anderson launched back-to-back home runs to put the Vikings ahead 2-0 — and the hosts added two more in the second.
Sparks scored three in the top of the fourth to make it a one-run game, but Conard kept the visitors off the scoreboard for the final three frames. South Tahoe added two in the bottom of the sixth to seal the victory and even the series.
Anderson had a home run and two doubles in Saturday’s opener, and finished 4-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs. Senior Bailey Barcellos went 2-for-3 with an RBI while Conard was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs.
Conard threw a complete game, allowing three runs — none earned — with 11 strikeouts and no walks in 7.0 innings. South Tahoe did all its scoring off Sparks sophomore Riley Nelson in the victory.
In the series finale, South Tahoe produced a big comeback to deliver a 9-6 victory. Trailing 6-0 in the fourth, the Vikings scored nine runs unanswered for a dramatic victory.
“This game was a complete team effort,” Owens said.
Sparks opened the scoring with two runs in the top of the first and added four more in the fourth. South Tahoe began its comeback with a run in the next half-inning, before adding three in the bottom of the fifth to make it 6-4.
In the sixth, the Vikings scored five runs to take a 9-6 lead. Conard then retired Sparks in order in the top of the seventh — on three straight pop-ups to first base — as South Tahoe completed the comeback.
Conard led South Tahoe with three hits — all doubles — and went 3-for-4 with two runs. In the circle, she pitched a second straight complete game and allowed six runs — three earned — on six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
Anderson and Barcellos each collected multiple hits in the series finale. Anderson went 2-for-2 with three RBIs and two runs, and Barcellos finished 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs.
South Tahoe opened the series with an 11-4 loss to the Railroaders on Friday. Playing without Conard, the Vikings couldn’t overcome a slow start en route to defeat.
“We had to hit and we just weren’t hitting,” Owens said. “We were swinging at balls and letting strikes go through.”
Sparks jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first two frames off South Tahoe freshman Teagan Williamson. In the bottom of the third, the Vikings made it 6-4 with three runs on four hits — including a two-run triple from junior Drue Chapman — but that’s as close as they would get.
The Railroaders extended their lead with two runs off of Barcellos in the next half-inning, and iced the game with three more in the top of the seventh. South Tahoe was held scoreless in the last four innings by Sparks’ Marisa Coleman, who scattered two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in relief.
Chapman went 2-for-3 with a triple, three RBIs and a run in Friday’s loss. Anderson finished 2-for-4 with a run.
The Vikings returned to action Tuesday, April 5, at Dayton. South Tahoe plays a three-game road series at Truckee starting Friday, April 8. First pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. with Saturday’s doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.