South Tahoe Babe Ruth ends playoff run
The South Tahoe Babe Ruth baseball all-stars ended their season at last week’s July 24 through 29 Pacific Southwest Regional tournament held at Todd Field. Heading into regional tournament play, South Tahoe’s team of 13 to 15 year olds was coming off of a Nevada state tournament victory — a three-peat for them.
South Tahoe made it four games into the double-elimination, regional, tournament before being put out by tournament victor, Tri-Valley, of northern California. The tournament featured nine teams in total from California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii.
Game one of the regional tournament saw South Tahoe pitted against another group of California all-stars—Lompoc, of central California. The team fell, 4-0, in seven innings, but was able to identify some weaknesses moving forward. “We knew [Lompoc] had swept their tournament like us to get into the regional tournament so we knew they’d be tough,” said Jeff Long, South Tahoe team manager. “We ended up leaving too many people on base. We couldn’t get those key hits when we needed them.”
The loss sent South Tahoe to the losers bracket, but they fired back strongly in game two, both offensive and defensively, with a 10-0 victory over northern Utah.
Leading the defense in game two was starting pitcher Jose Begueno. He finished off the Utah team with a no-hitter in five innings. “The team definitely brought their A game,” said Long. “Where we couldn’t get that key hit in game one, in game two everyone was hitting well and driving in runs. And with the no-hitter pitching performance, it was an impressive, all-around effort.”
With the win in game two, South Tahoe was riding high as they took on Sparks in game three. “It was a very competitive game,” said Long. According to Long, Sparks was showing a lot of fight and kept the game close almost the whole way through. “We broke it open in the sixth inning when we scored six runs,” said Long. “We also had a great pitching performance by Jaden Aquino and Colby Glaze.” South Tahoe eventually came away with a 9-3 victory.
In South Tahoe’s final game, they ended up being defeated, 9-1, by Tri-Valley, who were later crowed tournament champs. “The teams from both Hawaii and northern California play at a high level,” said Long. “The Tri-Valley team are the two-time [Babe Ruth] World Series champions, so this will be their third, consecutive trip back to the world series. I’m proud of our guys for being able to hand with them. We got a lot of hits on them, but couldn’t bring in enough runs.”
Long said that the season turned out well, overall, and making it that close to a spot at the Babe Ruth World Series proves how much talent is in South Tahoe.
“Myself and both my coaches, Mark Lehmann and Strarbuck Teevan, are very proud of the kids,” said Long. “It was great to see them perform and battle out there. This is the third time in a row this age group has won the state tournament so that’s a pretty good feat for Tahoe baseball.”