South Tahoe baseball makes home debut, sweeps rival Truckee
South Tahoe (9-6, 7-3) at Lowry (4-9, 2-7)
Friday 3 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. (DH)
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe baseball team made its long-awaited 2015 home debut last weekend — and it was worth the wait. The Vikings swept Truckee in a three-game series at Todd Fields Park, extending their winning streak to six games.
“To get three against them is great because they’re a rival of ours,” Vikings coach Starbuck Teevan said. “But these are games that we’re supposed to win — we expect to win these games.”
In Friday’s series opener, South Tahoe (8-6, 6-3 I-A Northern) rode a strong pitching performance from starter Garret Harley and timely hitting to a 4-1 victory over the Wolverines. The victory over Truckee (1-10, 0-7) came in the Vikings’ first home contest of the campaign.
“It feels great to be at home — it’s comfortable,” Vikings junior Will Mori said.
Harley (W, 2-2) pitched a complete game Friday, allowing one earned run one five hits. The sophomore struck out seven and walked one in the win.
Harley’s performance took the pressure off South Tahoe’s offense, which started slow while adjusting to Truckee’s left-handed pitcher. In the end, seven Vikings collected one hit apiece — River Quinn and Aaron Pfister each went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run while Dakota Lynch had a hit and an RBI.
“It was a good game — it was close,” Teevan said. “We got some timely hits and played a little small ball — everything kind of worked for us.”
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Vikings jumped out to a big lead and held off Truckee for a 9-5 win. An eight-run second inning propelled South Tahoe to victory — the Wolverines scored all their runs in the last three frames.
STHS took control of Saturday’s opener in the bottom of the second, scoring eight runs on five hits while sending 12 batters to the plate. South Tahoe’s first seven batters reached safely in the second to chase Truckee starter JJ Bellon.
Mori opened the scoring with an RBI double scored on a failed pickoff attempt two batters later — in the same at-bat, Caleb Russell laid down an RBI bunt single that made it 3-0. After Bellon issued a bases loaded walk to Pfister that put South Tahoe up 4-0, he was replaced by Collin Caruso.
Caruso retired the first batter he faced, then the Vikings delivered back-to-back two-run hits with to cap the big inning. Harley doubled down the left-field line and Quinn singled to left field on a 1-2 pitch.
Ahead 8-0 entering the third, South Tahoe looked like it would roll to victory — but it wasn’t that easy. After retiring 10 of the first 11 Wolverines he faced, Vikings starter Kolby Eymann ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth — a two-run double from Cam Hollabaugh made it 8-2.
South Tahoe was retired in order by Caruso in the third and fourth innings before adding a run in the bottom of the fifth. A leadoff double by Quinn was followed by an RBI single from Mori to put the Vikings ahead 9-2.
Truckee scored two in the sixth and one in the seventh, but South Tahoe was able to hang on for the 9-5 win. With two outs and runners at the corners in the top of the seventh, Eymann got Miles Guiragossian to fly out to end the game.
“We weren’t happy with how the first game went — we thought it should be a bigger margin of victory and we didn’t play as well as we could,” Teevan said.
Quinn had a team-high three hits in the win, finishing 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs. Mori went 2-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and a run, Harley had a hit, two RBIs and a run and Pfister finished with a hit, run and RBI — Eymann and Jaeden Clelan added an RBI apiece.
Eymann (W, 2-2) allowed five runs — three earned — on six hits in the complete game win. The senior left-hander struck out two and walked one — he held Truckee hitless through 3.1 innings.
In the second game of Saturday’s twinbill, South Tahoe again jumped out to a sizable early lead — and emphatically closed out the Wolverines. The Vikings beat Truckee 15-3 in five innings to complete the sweep, highlighted by a nine-run second.
“We realized that we can’t just roll over after we get a lead — we have to keep pounding it,” Mori said. “That’s what we did.”
South Tahoe opened the scoring in the bottom of the first, scoring four runs on four hits. Lynch, Harley, Mori and Paul Hoefer each came through with run-scoring hits — Hoefer’s two-out single up the middle made it 4-0.
After Lynch held Truckee scoreless in the top of the second, South Tahoe’s offense got rolling again. Logan Brewer singled to lead off the inning, and was the first of seven Vikings to reach safely — Lynch, Harley, Quinn and Mori each delivered run-scoring hits at the end of the rally, with Mori’s RBI double putting STHS ahead 10-0.
With one out in the second, Brewer’s second hit of the inning — an RBI double — made it 12-0. Brewer scored two batters later on a single by Pfister — the Vikings sent 14 batters to the plate while building a 13-run lead.
Truckee got on the board with three runs in the top of the third — and could have made a bigger dent in South Tahoe’s lead. With two outs, Lynch walked two straight batters with the bases loaded — but got out of the jam by striking out Caruso in four pitches.
After both teams traded scoreless frames, South Tahoe delivered the knockout blow in the bottom of the fourth. With no outs, Brewer hammered a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall for a two-run homer that made it 15-3 — in his only start of the series, the senior went 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs.
“I decided if I got an inside pitch that I was going to turn on it and see what happens — it was inside, low and I just got under it,” Brewer said. “That pitcher was kind of my archenemy — he struck me out a ton of times the last time we played. I kind of just took the anger out.”
Lynch (W, 3-1) scattered a hit in the top of the fifth to enact the 10-run rule. He threw a complete game — South Tahoe’s third of the series — allowing two earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts and five walks.
Brewer’s big day at the plate highlighted a 15-hit performance from South Tahoe. Harley, Lynch, Mori, Quinn and Pfister each had two hits and two RBIs while Hoefer finished with a hit and two RBIs.
“That was probably the best that we played all year as far as throwing strikes, hitting the ball hard, driving guys in when we had the chance and playing good defense,” Teevan said.
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday with a 10-7 win over Dayton at Fields Park. The Vikings travel to Lowry (4-9, 2-7) for a three-game series beginning Friday — first pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m. with Saturday’s doubleheader scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
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