South Tahoe softball routs Dayton 20-1, ends six-game slide
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe softball team badly needed a victory Tuesday — and delivered one with one of its top performances of the season. The Vikings beat winless Dayton 20-1 in five innings, ending a six-game losing streak with a complete effort.
“It’s the confidence — that’s the difference. They knew today that they could go out and win the game, but they obviously had to perform on the field,” Vikings head coach Eric Owens said. “They worked hard yesterday and they realized how that applied today.”
South Tahoe (4-13 I-A Northern) got off to a fast start to roll to its second victory over the Dust Devils this season. After Dayton (0-14) went scoreless in the top of the first inning, the Vikings opened the scoring with four runs in the bottom half.
Shortstop Bailey Barcellos hit a leadoff double for South Tahoe, and was the first of four Vikings to reach base safely. Catcher Haley Crowson and first baseman Brooke Erdody provided run-scoring hits as STHS jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
“After watching the first couple batters hit, it seemed like it was going to be a good day — everyone had confidence in the box,” Vikings sophomore Kendra Conard said.
In the second, South Tahoe took a 7-0 lead on a three-run homer from Conard — the sophomore’s eighth long ball of the season. Conard was a double shy of the cycle in four plate appearances, finishing 3-for-3 with six RBIs and four runs scored.
“I usually struggle with slower pitchers, but I got the timing down and hit it,” Conard said.
After a strong start, the Vikings put the game away with 13 runs over the third and fourth innings. In the third, South Tahoe sent 10 batters to the plate and scored seven runs on seven hits — including a stretch of four straight with two outs.
Right fielder Sam Kallas opened the bottom of the third with a leadoff triple, and scored on an Erdody double in the next at-bat. With one out, Barcellos produced an RBI sacrifice fly that made it 10-0 — then third baseman Sativa Chambers, Conard, Crowson and second baseman Drue Chapman produced hits as part of a two-out rally.
Chapman’s double was the Vikings’ third straight extra-base hit of the frame and scored Crowson to extend South Tahoe’s lead to 13-0. Dayton got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth — then STHS went back to work offensively.
South Tahoe scored seven runs on seven hits in the bottom of the fourth to take a commanding 20-1 lead. All of the Vikings’ runs were scored with two outs — with the bases loaded, Conard started the rally with a two-run single.
Conard’s single was followed by run-scoring doubles from Crowson, Chapman and Kallas. In the top of the fifth, Conard threw her first one-two-three inning of the contest to enact the 10-run rule and close out Dayton.
“It was pretty good — we’ve had a lot of losses lately and we really needed to boost ourselves up,” Conard said. “This one boosted our confidence — we’re confident right now and we’re really happy.”
The Vikings scored 20 runs on 16 hits in Tuesday’s victory — both of which were season-highs. All of South Tahoe’s nine starters recorded a hit against Dayton, led by Conard’s three-hit afternoon.
“Everybody moved the line and everybody contributed — everybody got their RBIs and hits,” Owens said. “We’re a team and everybody is capable of hitting — we talked about making adjustments, and a lot of them did that.”
Five South Tahoe players collected two hits against Dayton led by Crowson, who finished 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and three runs. Chapman went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run, Erdody was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs, Kallas was 2-for 3 with an RBI and two runs and Chambers finished 2-for-4 with four runs — Barcellos, center fielder Nina Barnhart and right fielder Alyssa Slater added a hit apiece.
“We’re trying to get them to have that same confidence every game they go into — whether we win or lose, just to be able to compete,” Owens said. “The pieces are there for (success), they just have to raise that level, and take everything from the past and move forward with it.”
In the circle, Conard threw all five innings and allowed a run on three hits — she struck out nine and walked one. The right-hander no-hit the Dust Devils in the teams’ first meeting on March 31.
After its longest break of the campaign, South Tahoe returns to action Friday, April 24 when it begins a three-game series at home against Spring Creek. For the Vikings, Tuesday’s game was the first of an eight-game homestand to end the regular season.
“These are games that are winnable, and we feel like we can compete with (Spring Creek),” Owens said. “We’re going to take a well-deserved rest, then starting next week we’re going to go full swing.
“I’ve seen a lot of improvements from the girls in a lot of areas, and there’s a lot of margin for them to continue to improve.”
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