South Tahoe baseball all-stars’ thrill ride ends at regional championships
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe’s Babe Ruth 13-year-old All-Star baseball team enjoyed a thrilling summer that included winning the Nevada state championship.
South Tahoe smashed both South Reno 11-2 and Sparks 19-5 to reach the state championship game.
South Reno beat Sparks and was South Tahoe’s opponent the next day and had the local all-stars on the brink after rallying for eight runs in the sixth inning to take a 10-8 lead.
Tahoe came back with a pair of runs to tie the game.
Reno jumped back in front 12-11 with a single run in the eighth, but Tahoe rallied to tie the game and won it with a bases-loaded walk.
South Tahoe may have topped that championship effort in the first game of the Pacific Regional Southwest Championship in Utah.
They played a team from southern Utah and trailed 4-0 after five innings.
Tahoe chipped away with two runs in the sixth and won a thriller in the seventh.
With the bases loaded and less than two outs, head coach Mark Shehadi called for the squeeze.
Forrest Jones laid down a perfect bunt and JR Elizalde sprinted home with the winning run.
Tahoe then went up against the state-funded defending Little League World Series champion Hawaii.
“Watching them warmup, our kids were starstruck,” Shehadi said. “We kept telling the kids, ‘you look just like that during warmups too.’”
Tahoe fell 15-0 in five innings.
The all-stars played the host next in the double-elimination bracket and stayed close.
“We looked good, like we were in it to in it,” Shehadi said. “But they got a few more runs and we couldn’t come back.”
Shehadi said highlights from the tournament include a pre-tournament home run derby that was won by South Tahoe’s Nico Wagner who belted 28 homers in the first round, 15 more than any other competitor.
In all the skills challenges Shehadi said his team was very competitive.
The team also visited the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry at Jurassic National Monument, which contains the densest concentration of Jurassic-aged dinosaur bones ever found, according to its website, and they also visited The Wedge, known better as Little Grand Canyon.
“The kids had a phenomenal time,” Shehadi said. “It was really cool to see Utah and the kids had a blast lighting their own fireworks because they are not allowed in Tahoe.
“But we set a precedent and the kids got to see that they belonged and what it takes to get back next year,” Shehadi said. “We’ve got a pretty special group of kids. They are a lot of fun to be around and just respectful young men who have represented Tahoe very well.”
Shehadi wanted to give a special thanks to Amber Stephens and Lisa Maloff who donated $5,000 and helped it make the season very successful.