South Reno capitalized on mistake to secure win
FALLON – Simple things in baseball like fielding a routine grounder and catching a lazy pop fly often seem more difficult than they appear.
That was the case in Thursday night’s 14-year-old Babe Ruth state championship game between South Tahoe and South Reno.
South Reno took advantage of a dropped fly ball in right field to come from behind in beating South Tahoe, 3-2, for the state title at Fallon’s Babe Ruth baseball field.
After tying the game in the sixth inning, South Reno’s Luke Hess drew a walk with two outs and then stole second with Jeff Kamper at the plate.
Kamper belted a routine fly ball to right field and hustled to second as soon as the ball popped out of the South Tahoe outfielder’s glove. Hess, who earned the win by pitching five innings, easily scored to give South Reno its first lead of the game at 2-1.
Vic Walker added an insurance run by driving in Kamper on a single.
South Tahoe didn’t give up without a fight in the bottom half of the seventh. The first three batters reached base on a walk and two hit-by-pitches to load the bases with no outs.
Kyle Di Grande hit a razor-sharp line drive to center field for the first out before Colt Johnston walked in a run.
Reliever Curtis Butler forced Max Simonian to ground out to third base and forced Jack Garratt to fly out to right field. Butler earned the save.
Simonian, though, had a better plate appearance in the third inning when the score was knotted at zero.
Jake Leonard reached base on a walk and Di Grande was hit by a pitch to set up another scoring opportunity for South Tahoe. Simonian smacked a first-pitch single to left field to drive in the game’s first run.
Both teams had opportunities to score in the first inning of the game.
South Reno loaded the bases with only one out after Josh Evans singled and Hess and Kamper each walked. Hausfeld used his crafty pitching to retire the next two batters with the last one on a strike out.
South Tahoe stranded its bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom of the inning. Di Grande singled, Johnston walked and Joel Morris was hit by a pitch with two outs. Hess struck out catcher Gary Prescott to end the threat.
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