South Tahoe baseball takes two of three from Spring Creek, thrives under the lights
In its only night game of the season, the South Tahoe baseball team celebrated the occasion by securing an outright playoff berth Friday at Todd Fields Park. The Vikings beat Spring Creek 12-5 under the lights before splitting a doubleheader against the Spartans the following afternoon at Dayton High.
South Tahoe (17-8, 15-5 I-A Northern) opened the series with a victory in its own version of Friday night lights. The Vikings erased an early three-run deficit en route to a 12-5 victory over Spring Creek on a chilly evening that featured light precipitation in the middle innings.
“It’s what every kid lives for,” Vikings senior Kolby Eymann said. “We’re not football players, so we don’t get the experience that much — but this was awesome. We had a huge crowd tonight.”
After falling behind Spring Creek (16-9, 13-8) in the first inning, the Vikings quickly rallied. A bases-clearing three-run double from Eymann in the bottom of the second put South Tahoe ahead 4-3, and sparked the hosts to an eventual seven-run victory.
“He threw a curveball off the plate and I just kind of went with it,” Eymann said. “I was trying to do anything to help my team out, and fortunately I was able to help them out tonight.”
Garret Harley led South Tahoe with three hits in the win, finishing 3-for-3 with an RBI and four runs. Eymann went 1-for-4 with three RBIs and a run while Aaron Pfister, Paul Hoefer and Will Mori each collected a hit and an RBI — Dakota Lynch added a hit and a run.
“We can never get down — we just keep our vibe up,” Eymann said. “We’ve been in this position before, and we know what we can do.”
Harley (W, 6-2) started and threw 6.0 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits with three strikeouts and four walks. Eymann pitched a scoreless seventh to close out the win for the Vikings.
Overnight snow in South Lake Tahoe forced Saturday’s doubleheader to be played at Dayton High. The Vikings split the neutral-site twinbill with Spring Creek, taking the opener 10-6 before concluding the series with an 8-5 defeat.
“It definitely wasn’t the situation that we wanted, but the alternative was worse,” Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan said. “It was advantageous for us because regionals are being played at Dayton this year.”
South Tahoe collected 15 hits in the first game, with Harley, Eymann and Mori recording three apiece. Harley went 3-for-4 with an RBI and three runs while Eymann and Mori each finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run.
“We came out of the gates well and played well in the first game,” Teevan said. “Offensively we took care of business — It started to rain a little bit, they made a couple mistakes in the field and we capitalized.”
Caleb Russell was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs in the first game and Logan Brewer had a hit, RBI and run. Lynch and Aaron Pfister each finished with a hit and an RBI while Justin Ruger added a hit and a run.
Eymann (W, 4-3) threw 6.1 innings in the start, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits with six strikeouts and three walks. Lynch came in to get the game’s final two outs — he threw 0.2 innings with a strikeout and a hit.
In the second game of the twinbill at Dayton, South Tahoe couldn’t complete the series sweep. The Vikings lost to Spring Creek 8-5, a defeat that frustrated Teevan.
“We left them open — if we do end up seeing them again in regionals, now they’re going to be confident,” Teevan said. “We know we’re a better team and we just didn’t play like it.”
South Tahoe had five hits in the loss. Eymann went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a run, Aaron Pfister and Chris Pfister each had a hit and an RBI and Brewer and Mori added a hit and a run apiece.
“We were hungry for that last game, but Spring Creek is a good team and they deserve credit,” Teevan said. “They didn’t back down, they came out fighting and they took it to us.”
Lynch (L, 6-2) threw 5.0 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits with two strikeouts and two walks. In relief, Chris Pfister made his first varsity appearance on the mound this season — the freshman allowed a run on one hit in 2.0 innings.
The Vikings locked up a second straight postseason berth prior to their series against Spring Creek, and clinched an outright spot with Friday’s win over the Spartans. After ending a two-decade playoff drought last season, South Tahoe didn’t have to wait as long for another appearance.
“We’re just trying to get better everyday — we’re trying to be a better team tomorrow than we are today,” Eymann said. “That’s our main focus.”
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday against Dayton at Aces Ballpark in Reno, Nev. The Vikings conclude the regular season with a three-game series against Fallon at Todd Fields Park — first pitch for Friday’s opener is at 3 p.m. with Saturday’s doubleheader scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
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