Mountain boys getting it done on diamond | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Mountain boys getting it done on diamond

Steve Yingling

What the heck is going on with the South Tahoe Babe Ruth All-Star teams?

They are winning so often in tournament play the past few weeks that other clubs must be wondering if South Tahoe is using high school players instead of the regulation 13- to 15-year-olds.

All three all-star teams have exceeded expectations, winning at least two games.

The 13-year-old squad went 5-3, finishing second in the small league tournament and then proving it belonged with the big boys in the valley, going 2-2 at state.

The 14-year-old all-stars were 2-1 with impressive victories over Carson City and North Valley heading into an elimination game with Sparks last night. Their three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning on Monday night serves as a valuable lesson to all young ballplayers – never give up when you still have a few outs left, no matter how bleak it might look.

Of course, the most pleasing club has the been the homestanding 15-year-old all-stars, who won their first two games in the state tournament at Todd Fields. To play well with the added pressure of family and friends filling the stands says a lot about John Rice’s club.

That’s nine Babe Ruth all-star wins among the three teams. If this has happened before, it must have been in the ’70s or ’80s. The kids are obviously receiving good coaching and putting their baseball knowledge into play on the field.

Now if the parents on the hill will give new South Tahoe High coach Matt Tillson a chance to cultivate that talent, the Vikings may start turning the tables on Carson City and Douglas in the spring.

Tillson must avoid a depressing trend of Vikings bolting to successful programs in Carson City and Zephyr Cove.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The public still needs to ante up to save STHS winter and spring sports. Fund-raising has been encouraging so far, but will the momentum continue to save all sports?

Bloom’s career in NCAA’s hands

Next week we’ll probably learn the fate of moguls skier Jeremy Bloom’s football career.

As different as moguls skiing and college football are, it’s a shame – but not surprising – that the NCAA won’t allow Bloom to collect endorsement money while playing football in its jurisdiction. College sports are one of the biggest businesses in our country and the NCAA obviously wants to continue monopolizing them.

Bloom, a Colorado junior, has lost every court ruling so far and recently forced the NCAA’s hand by beginning to accept endorsements.

One of the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team’s top performers focused on college football last year – where he scored four touchdowns for the Buffaloes – but wants to put more time and money into his skiing career this year as the 2006 Winter Games near.

If only the U.S. Ski Team could pay Bloom a salary to cover all of his skiing expenses, then maybe he could avoid clashing with the NCAA. But the U.S. Ski Team doesn’t cover all of their team members expenses and oftentimes skiers need to take out a loan from mom or dad to pursue their passion.

The NCAA does permit athletes to play professionally in one sport while competing as an amateur in another, but the only endorsements the college governing body allows are commercials promoting – you guessed it – the NCAA.

Bloom is widely known in the Tahoe Basin for winning the 2003 World Cup freestyle title and for his close friendship with 2003 World Cup champ Travis Cabral of South Lake Tahoe.

You have to like his tenacity for taking on the NCAA, but his odds of winning are about as long as Stanford going to the Rose Bowl this fall.

– Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or syingling@tahoedailytribune.com


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