South Tahoe baseball bounces back with sweep of Sparks
SPARKS, Nev. — The South Tahoe baseball team badly needed to bounce back in its second league series of the season — and did exactly that. The Vikings swept Sparks on the road in a three-game set last Friday and Saturday, getting back on track while handing the Railroaders their first defeats of 2015.
“It was very important for us — it lifted our spirits a little bit,” Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan said. “We know we can compete with anybody if we play the game the right way — and we proved it against Sparks.
“Our overall approach as a team was better — there was more focus, pitchers threw more strikes and our offense was much better.”
In the series opener Friday, South Tahoe (5-6, 3-3 I-A Northern) jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 10-5 win. The Vikings handed Sparks (7-3, 3-3) its first loss of the season while ending a five-game losing streak.
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“We got them down, and it’s tough to come back from a six-run lead,” Teevan said.
South Tahoe opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, and had a 7-1 lead after the top of the fourth. Sparks scored three in the bottom of the fourth, but the Vikings answered with three in the next half-inning — STHS maintained a five-run advantage over the final two frames to secure the win.
Kolby Eymann homered for the Vikings in the victory, and finished 1-for-1 with two walks, an RBI and three runs. Dakota Lynch had a team-high four RBIs while going 2-for-3 and Paul Hoefer collected a team-high three hits — River Quinn, Aaron Pfister and Nick Paskart each added an RBI apiece.
Starter Garret Harley (W, 1-2) threw a complete game to notch his first win of the season and help South Tahoe deliver a crucial victory. In seven innings, the sophomore allowed four earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven and walking three.
“Garrett is a competitor and he knew we needed that game bad — after the game he said, ‘There you go coach, there’s your win,’” Teevan said. “He only had one rough inning — but he was able to regain control and finish out strong.”
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, a six-run second propelled the Vikings to an 8-6 win over Sparks. South Tahoe held off a sixth-inning rally from the Railroaders to produce a second straight win.
Sparks opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first before South Tahoe answered with six runs in the top of the second. The Vikings added two more in the top of the third to take an 8-1 lead — the Railroaders scored five in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough for a comeback.
Pfister went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs in the win, and Harley had a hit, two RBIs and a run. Eymann, Lynch, Quinn and Will Mori each produced a hit and an RBI while Hoefer finished with an RBI.
Eymann (W, 1-2) started and allowed four earned runs on six hits in 5.1 innings, striking out six and walking three. Lynch (S, 1) closed out Sparks with 1.2 innings of relief, allowing a run on one hit while striking out one.
“Garrett, Kolby and Dakota are our three main pitchers, and they did a great job all weekend throwing strikes and keeping the defense on the heels,” Teevan said.
In the second game of Saturday’s twinbill, South Tahoe secured the sweep with a narrow 6-5 win over the Railroaders. The Vikings went ahead 6-2 with a four-run fifth, and survived a Sparks rally in the bottom half of the inning to deliver the victory.
The Vikings opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first, but trailed 2-1 by the end of the inning. South Tahoe tied the game up with a run in the top of the third, and took a four-run lead in the top of the fifth — Sparks scored three runs in the bottom half of the frame, but the Vikings again held on for the win.
In the victory, Pfister went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run while Lynch finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Harley had a hit and two RBIs and Mori had a hit and an RBI — Eymann and Hoefer collected one hit apiece.
“We scored runners when we had opportunities — we got our bunts down, put the ball in play pretty much the whole weekend and stole bases when we had to,” Teevan said.
Fresh off closing out the first game of the doubleheader, Lynch (W, 2-1) threw a complete game to help South Tahoe secure the sweep. The senior allowed three earned runs on six hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking four.
After opening league play with three straight losses against defending champion Elko, South Tahoe responded by sweeping Sparks. The Vikings showed improvement at the plate and in the field in their three-game set with the Railroaders — STHS committed five errors in the entire series, nearly one-third less than it had the previous weekend.
“We played much better defense than the weekend before,” Teevan said. “Against Elko, we compounded errors with errors — this week after an error we’d make the next play and get out of the inning.”
South Tahoe returns to action Friday, when it begins a three-game series against Truckee (1-7, 0-4). First pitch for the Vikings’ home opener at Todd Fields is Friday at 3 p.m. — Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
“We’re really excited — it’s fun playing at home and we’ve been on the road since day one. Hopefully we can defend our home field,” Teevan said. “It will be a battle all weekend — a lot of these kids know each other and have been playing each other for a long time.”
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