Loss doesn’t thwart softballers’ enthusiasm
South Tahoe High’s softball team simply played its best game of the season Tuesday at Tahoe Valley Elementary School.
Despite losing to Galena, 6-0, the Vikings gave the defending state champions one heck of a battle. The girls played super defense, solidly hit the ball and never gave up.
Tahoe’s (5-20, 2-13 league) playoff hopes remained alive even with the loss. The Vikings host Elko (4-10 league) Saturday. If Tahoe wins both, it’ll secure a playoff berth, as long as Elko loses to Carson earlier in the week or Tahoe dispatches Lowry on Friday.
“They played well. I think we were a little surprised,” said Galena’s starting pitcher Kourtney Davis, a sophomore who got the win in last year’s state title contest. “They just need to keep working and they can be really good.”
After the first inning, when the Grizzlies (14-1) scored five times, four unearned, South Tahoe settled in to produce a crowd-pleasing softball battle. Starter April Peterson offered the ball up for play and the Tahoe defense responded.
“Galena’s the kind of team that can run you right out of a game,” said Tahoe coach Jan Johnson. “We couldn’t be happier with the way the girls played.”
With two out and the bases loaded in the second inning, shortstop Bekah Foster scooped up a well-hit ball and tossed to third to end the threat. The senior repeated the drill many times, routinely fielding sharp smacks to the left side, which only helped to boost Peterson’s bump confidence.
“Today, we really wanted it. Maybe that first inning was a little tougher than we expected. But we got used to it and I think we really worked together,” she said.
Peterson helped her cause at the plate, collecting the only two hits Davis allowed in four innings of work. The sophomore belted a first- inning triple and third-inning single. The Vikes, who struck out only three times, displayed some stick but just couldn’t break the cycle of hitting it right at someone.
Still, the Grizzlies were forced to make plays. With one on, one out in the third, Foster lashed a liner up the middle. Galena shortstop Heather Curtis scrambled back on her heels, making a reaching-running catch before firing to first to double up the runner. Curtis later ended a Tahoe threat in the sixth with a skillful grab and toss to third.
“We’re trying to get prepared for zone. The competition is going to be tough. (We used today) in preparation for that,” said Galena coach Teresa Burrows.
Galena added an insurance run in the fourth when Nichole Whisman found a gap in center field and didn’t stop running until she touched them all. Whisman finished the day with two hits, as did Curtis. Jenn Liebenster had three base knocks.
Jennifer Perasso added Tahoe’s other hit, coming in the sixth off Galena reliever Jamie Dermody.
“Take a couple of plays away and that was a couple-run game,” Johnson said. “The girls just have to give themselves some time and they’re going to see good things happen. They need to keep playing and they’ll win games. It’s definitely doable.”
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