South Tahoe Vikings baseball faces Truckee in rivalry weekend
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Tahoe Vikings baseball team has won eight of its last nine games to set up a rivalry showdown this weekend in the Northern League.
The Vikings (14-7 Northern) put together eight consecutive victories before having that streak snapped Saturday, April 20. They head into three-game set with the league’s top team, the Truckee Wolverines (19-2 Northern), in fifth place.
Over the past several weeks, South Tahoe swept three road games from Dayton, including one at the home of the Reno Aces, and took two out of three from Fernley at Lampe Park in Gardnerville, Nevada.
The Vikings dominated a doubleheader, 14-7 and 10-2, Saturday, April 13, at Dayton then two days later beat the Dust Devils 5-2 at Greater Nevada Park.
Connor Long blasted his first career home run to lead the Vikings offense in the twinbill opener.
Long also doubled and singled twice, drove in four runs and scored four times.
“He’s a great young man that works hard and has earned whatever success he’s having,” said Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan.
Also for South Tahoe, Jacob Rush added three hits and two RBIs, Cameron Johnson was 3 for 4 from the lead-off spot, Jaden Aquino had two hits and Kevin Lehmann singled and drove in two.
Aquino pitched 6 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts to earn the victory.
“He battled through a couple of high-pressure situations and did a good job for us,” Teevan said. “He didn’t have his best stuff and needs to limit his walks, but he did a good job working through some adversity.”
The Vikings muscled up in Game 2 with Johnson and Aquino each blasting home runs to lead the offense.
Johnson smashed his first high school homer and also singled three times and drove in three runs.
“It was a good day for Cameron at the plate,” Teevan said. “He had a good approach all day and hit the ball hard every AB.”
Aquino crunched a towering, no-doubter to left field and also singled and drove in three runs.
Cameron Lehmann and Andrew Lehmann each had a hit and RBI apiece.
Travis Lee earned the win, hurling six innings allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four.
“He had good tempo on the mound all day and was close to 70 percent strikes,” Teevan said. “When Travis has his off-speed pitches working he’s tough to hit. He kept Dayton hitters off-balance most of the day.”
The Vikings finished off the season sweep at a professional ballpark in Reno.
Kevin Lehmann (4-2) hurled a complete game allowing just one earned run while striking out four.
“He was in control from the very first pitch,” Teevan said. “He was outstanding mixing his pitches and keeping hitters off balance.”
Long led the offense with two doubles
Vasser added a two-out RBI triple in the fifth inning.
About a week later, the Vikings beat Fernley 14-3 in five innings on April 19 and took the doubleheader opener 10-4 the next morning before dropping the nightcap 8-7.
Out of the Vikings six league losses, four have been by one run and one by two runs.
“It’s a good feeling being in second place,” said senior Cameron Johnson. “We have lost some games that we shouldn’t have, just too many mistakes, but we know we can play better. We just need to come together as a team and finish those one-run games.”
Vasser had three hits, including a home run and double, drove in four runs and also scored four times in the series opener to lead the Vikings.
Cameron Lehmann had three hits and three RBIs, Aquino had three RBIs and Cameron Johnson and Long each had two hits.
Long singled, tripled and drove in three runs Saturday morning, Aquino scored three runs, Andrew Lehmann drove in two and Cameron Johnson doubled and singled to lead the way to victory behind a strong effort on the mound from Burdick (3-1).
South Tahoe was six outs away from running its win streak to nine but couldn’t hold a 6-5 lead after five innings in the nightcap.
The Vikings return home Friday and Saturday to face Truckee at South Tahoe Middle School.
First pitch Friday is at 2 p.m. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 10 a.m. with the second game to start at approximately 2 p.m.
“If we want to beat Truckee, we really need to play for the name on the front of our jersey,” Cameron Johnson said. “We need to play for each other, not as individuals. If we can find a way to let the mistakes go, we can put ourselves in a good place to win. Any team in this league is beatable, we just need to prove we can beat any team at any time.”
CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect South Tahoe’s correct record. Incorrect information was provided to the Tribune. Due to the correction the original headline “South Tahoe Vikings baseball tied for second heading into rivalry weekend” has been corrected to reflect the fact the Vikings are not in second place.