Senior Babe Ruth Team pitches armed with championship |

Senior Babe Ruth Team pitches armed with championship

Take the metal bats out of ballplayers’ hands and pitchers better be able to dominate.

That was the storyline for the South Tahoe Senior Babe Ruth club in the Labor Day Holmade Wood Bat Tournament Saturday through Monday in Auburn, Calif.

Behind superlative pitching performances South Tahoe swept all four of its games to win the third annual round-robin tournament at James Field.

“It’s just a completely different game with wooden bats,” said South Tahoe manager Don Lee. “There were no home runs and the games were all close. There’s just a lot of singles and it comes down to defense.”

And pitching.

South Tahoe pitcher Cory Poulen carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and finished with a complete-game three-hitter in blanking the Nevada Union Miners 5-0 to wrap up his team’s perfect tournament Monday.

“He didn’t have hard stuff at all; he just baffled guys,” Lee said. “He mixes in a knuckleball and throws all kinds of junk.”

Matt Norfleet provided two hits and Thomas Hunter and Matt Olsen each stroked singles for South Tahoe.

South Tahoe’s three other starting pitchers were sharp. Brandon Lee handcuffed Auburn 4-2 and Toby O’Brien stymied Carson 4-2 on Saturday; and Chris Hannum baffled the Reno Silver Sox 7-2 Sunday. Norfleet saved the first two wins and Poulen closed out the win over the Silver Sox.

The championship was of historical significance to South Tahoe, which hadn’t won a tournament in the five previous years that Lee managed the team.

“They felt real confident about their game, and they had the pitching, that’s the thing,” Lee said.

Norfleet led South Tahoe with six hits and two walks and Hannum contributed five hits in the four games.

South Tahoe, 7-4 overall, returns to action on Saturday with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against the Sparks Tribe at Todd Fields in South Lake Tahoe. The local nine is also scheduled to face Vacaville at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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