Old faces appear in Tahoe Smoke | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Old faces appear in Tahoe Smoke

Darin Olde, Tribune Sports Writer

Some old names will return to a new Tahoe Smoke club softball team this summer.

Rich Barna, the team’s manager, raised the age class for the club team to include girls 18 and under, which he hopes will boost the level of competition for those still playing for South Tahoe High School.

The new age limit will allow first-year college players to compete. Previously the limit was 16 and under.

Barna is excited to have four college freshman on the team, but he has reason to celebrate the return of pitching/catching duo of Vanessa Porter and Jill Barna.

The two have been playing together at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif., where they just finished their freshman year. They have also been playing together since they were about 10 years old.

“We usually do the best together,” Barna said of her pitching partner.

Barna has been calling Porter’s six pitches — a fastball, changeup, riser, drop, screwball and curve — for the last several years, including their year at Feather River.

As a senior, she received Northern Nevada 4A honorable mention. While only going 5-38 overall, Barna was second in hitting with a .293 average.

Also returning this year is Tabitha Porter, who, as an assistant coach at Chico High School, helped the team reach the playoffs this year.

Stefanie Terry, who played second base for Santa Rosa Junior College, will also play this year.

The Santa Rosa Bear Cubs finished first in the Bay Valley Conference and reached the playoffs, but weren’t able to pass San Mateo, even after beating them earlier in the tournament.

Terry said one of the biggest differences between college and high school ball is the intensity of the workout and the commitment of the other players.

There’s more of an emphasis on honing skills rather than working on the fundamentals.

She thinks having a few college level players on the team will be good to raise the level of competition for the Vikings.

“Having a few college level players on the team is going to raise expectations a bit and have them play at a higher level,” she said.

Filling out the roster are starters from last year’s team, which include Erika Schimmel, Missy Lucero, Kylie Novasel, Libby Bigelow and Alisha Bettencourt.

— Darin Olde can be reached at dolde@tahoedailytribune.com or (530) 542-8008.

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