Smoke finds its groove on second day of tournament |

Smoke finds its groove on second day of tournament

Where there’s the Tahoe Smoke, there’s a win.

The Tahoe Smoke, the South Shore’s U16 softball club, rebounded from some tough games in the early going to take fifth in the Stockton U16 Softball tournament on Saturday and Sunday. While the team lost its first three games on Saturday by a combined score of 31-2, the Smoke rallied to split its two games on Sunday and take fifth place.

“Even though the score doesn’t reflect it, we played really well, definitely,” said Smoke head coach Rich Barna.

The first three games on Saturday proved to be tough outings: In Saturday’s round-robin tournament, the Sacramento Scorpions gave up just three hits to Tahoe, while riddling pitcher Vanessa Porter and the Smoke for seven in a 14-0 win. In the second game for the Smoke, the Stockton Strike Zone struck out 12 Smoke hitters in 15 at-bats, surrendering just one hit in an 11-1 win. And in the third game, the RR Gold squad gave up three hits to Jill Barna, Heather Roderick and eighth-grader Melissa Archer while rolling to a 6-1 win over Corrine Edwards and the Smoke.

“We were really struggling Saturday, trying to get into the games,” Rich Barna said. “We struggled to get into a groove.”

Sunday, though, the Smoke got part of its groove back: The Tahoe squad drew a rematch with the eventual tournament-champion Stockton Strike Zone, but the Smoke players put on their game faces and cut the margin to 7-5 in a loss. Then, in the consolation bracket, the Modesto High Voltage rallied to tie the game in the fifth inning, then forced international overtime, where each team advances its last batted out to second base, and has an inning to score. After Modesto took a two-run lead in its half of the inning, the Smoke rallied to tie, then win with Roderick batting in the winning run for a 6-5 win.

The RR Gold won its rematch with the Smoke 7-0 for Tahoe’s final game. The Smoke finally wrapped its day after nearly five and a half full hours of softball. While it was a long day, it might have been just what the squad needed.

“That’s exactly what we intended to go out and do,” Rich Barna said.

He highlighted the play of Jill Barna and Roderick. Roderick hit .500 throughout the tournament and batted in the Smoke’s winning run against Modesto. Jill Barna was 7-for-15 batting.

The squad was back in action with the second of two fall tournaments after playing from May to July. The team wrapped its season in Stockton, but eight of the 11 Smoke team members play for South Tahoe High.

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