South Tahoe loses 2 of 3 vs. Fallon, earns 5th seed in 3A playoffs
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe baseball got a feel for the playoffs over the past couple weeks.
The Vikings played rival, and Northern League top seed, Truckee in a three-game set two weeks ago and finished the regular season this past weekend by taking one of three games from third-seeded Churchill County at South Tahoe Middle School.
The Vikings brought out the whooping stick Friday in the series opener, pounding the Greenwave 17-9. Six players collected two hits and everybody in the lineup had at least one knock and scored a run.
But the doubleheader Saturday didn’t go the Vikings’ way — they lost the opener 9-1 and the nightcap 6-5.
South Tahoe enters the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A Northern League Championship tournament Thursday through Saturday, May 9-11, as the No. 5 seed.
South Tahoe (16-11) will meet surprise foe, No. 4 Elko, at 9 Thursday morning in the six-team, double-elimination tournament at Elko High School.
The Vikings looked like they were playing Fallon (18-9) Saturday for the fourth and fifth seeds, but Elko unexpectedly lost two of three to Fernley (10-17) and dropped down in the standings.
If South Tahoe can win in the first round, it would play Truckee at 2 p.m.
Lose and the Vikings will fight for their playoff lives at 9 a.m.
The championship game is Saturday morning and both teams in the final qualify for the state tournament the following week.
The Vikings rallied from behind twice Friday to top the Greenwave.
They erased a 4-1 third inning deficit with six runs.
Connor Long and Aaron Johnson had RBI singles but the big hit came from Cameron Johnson.
With the bases loaded and a full count, the runners were on the move with the pitch.
The senior lashed a wicked liner up the middle that glanced off the second baseman’s glove and into shallow right center field.
All three runners came around to score to make it 7-4.
But Fallon answered with four runs in the fourth to retake the lead, 8-7.
The Vikings responded with seven runs in the fifth and took the lead for good.
Andrew Lehmann scored the tying run on a wild pitch, then Cameron Johnson scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch and the Vikings never looked back.
Cameron Johnson, Andrew Lehmann, Cameron Lehmann, Long, Eric Vasser and Jeden Aquino had two hits apiece, with Vasser and Aquino both hitting doubles.
Vasser earned the victory in relief, allowing two runs in 3 innings while striking out three.
Fallon showed up to the park the next morning with their hitting shoes on, but couldn’t push across a run until the fourth inning as South Tahoe turned three double plays in the first three innings to escape trouble.
But the Greenwave added three runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to back pitcher Hayden Strasdin, who handcuffed the Vikings.
A highlight of the game was South Tahoe center fielder Cameron Lehmann making an all out diving catch in right center field to start a double play. It was an amazing catch that earned him praise from teammates after the inning.
Long had two hits and Andrew Lehmann had an RBI single.
South Tahoe felt the sting of not being able to hold a late inning lead in the nightcap.
The Vikings led 4-2 after four innings but surrendered three runs in the fifth and another in the sixth. Their rally in the bottom half of the seventh fell just short after tallying a run to conclude the scoring.
Long had two hits and Kevin Lehmann doubled and tripled.
In other tournament games, Fallon plays No. 6 North Valleys (14-13) at 11:30 a.m. Thursday with Truckee (24-3) and Spring Creek (20-7) awaiting the winners in the afternoon.