South Tahoe advances to consolation finals |

South Tahoe advances to consolation finals

STEVE RANSON, Tribune News Service

South Tahoe has been living like a cat with nine lives.

The most recent life was used Tuesday afternoon when South Tahoe rallied for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Sparks 10-9 in the Nevada State Babe Ruth 14-year-old tournament.

South Tahoe will find out tonight if it has yet another life in the consolation finals tonight at 6 at Fallon’s Babe Ruth field. South Tahoe plays Reno West.

“We keeping coming back,” said South Tahoe manager Dan Holmgren, shaking his head in disbelief. “We had a lot of hits today but stranded a lot.”

South Tahoe pummeled Sparks’ pitching for 16 hits, but Max Simonian’s single in the seventh inning turned out to be the team’s most significant base hit.

After Sparks tied the game 8-8 in the sixth inning, South Tahoe regrouped. With one out in the seventh, Cody Johnston stroked a hard double to right/centerfield, then Simonian then jumped on the first pitch he saw and drove a single to right field to score the winning run.

“It was a fastball,” Simonian said.

Holmgren, though, said the big hits were “not working until the final inning.”

South Tahoe’s pitching corps has seen many innings in this year’s tournament, and Holmgren said hurler Joel Morris came through despite his defense’s eight errors.

“I need a good performance from him,” Holmgren said. “Joel kept his composure and stayed with it.”

For the most part, Morris had controlled Sparks until Ryan Baker blasted the tournament’s first home run. His two-run shot tied the game and cleared one of the deepest parts of the park.

“It was a low fastball … looked nice. I put a good swing on it and it went over,” he said.

Morris was mad at himself but said after the game he was happy for the Sparks slugger.

“The home run made me mad,” Morris said. He reached down and drove the pitch.”

“That was a hell of a shot over the fence,” Holmgren added.

Both teams battled each other with the tenacity of a bulldog.

Nate Lytle’s triple highlighted Sparks’ three-run first inning. South Tahoe, though, came back on Morris’ sacrifice fly and scored another run scored on a throwing error.

South Tahoe scored five runs in the second inning. Kyle DiGrande’s single drove in two runs and Simonian singled in another. Morris hit a soft liner over first base and Gary Prescott’s hit and run resulted in an out but scored South Tahoe’s final run of the inning.

Sparks cut the lead to one run in the fifth on an error, a bad hop and Lytle’s two-run double

Sparks manager Charlie Graves said his team dug itself into a hole after the second inning and almost pulled out a win.

“I’d much rather have a close game. A game like that is fun, and our kids showed a lot of heart.”

In an elimination game on Monday night, South Tahoe held off host Fallon for a 16-13 win. Both teams combined for 14 errors and 22 hits. Trailing 8-7 going into the fifth inning, South Tahoe exploded for six runs, aided by Morris’ two-run single and an RBI single from Prescott.

With Tuesday’s win over Sparks, South Tahoe is now 4-1 in the tournament.

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