ST 16-18 Babe Ruth all-stars end 1 win shy of World Series berth
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Tahoe 16- to 18-year-old Babe Ruth All-Stars enjoyed a magical summer that ended just one win shy of qualifying for the World Series in Alabama.
South Tahoe lost its first game in the double elimination tournament in Mountain View, California, but bounced back with four straight wins, knocking out three teams and forcing the eventual tourney champ to the brink before losing in a winner-take-all final game.
“Over the course of four days we played some of the best baseball we’ve ever played,” said head coach Starbuck Teevan. “Guys were tired, beat up, bruised, sore arms, pulled muscles, but they kept grinding and didn’t quit. We came up one win short of the World Series, but it was awesome to watch these guys come together and lay it all on the line. I was extremely proud of their efforts and I think we proved we can play with anyone if you play the game the right way.”
The team consisted of Bryin Schouten, Tyler Wattanachinda, Aaron Johnson, Kevin Lehmann, Christian Jacuk, Peyton Galli, Jaden Aquino, Cameron Lehmann, Travis Lee, Andrew Lehmann, Jensen Smith, Ricardo Aguila, Miles Hamburg, Kyle Clark, Aidan Walker, Carson Cobel and assistant coaches Ryan Schouten, Tommy Charles and Dustin Skiles.
South Tahoe was sent to the loser’s bracket after falling to the host team, Mountain View, 1-0.
Kevin Lehmann hurled a gem but his mates couldn’t get the bats to work and a late error handed Mountain View its lone run.
Tahoe bounced back with a 6-5 victory over Long Beach.
“Coming out of the loser’s bracket we had our backs against the wall,” Teevan said. “Travis, Jaden and Peyton combined to get us a much needed win. This group of guys scrapped and clawed all game long and held on to force another game.”
Game 3 was a rematch of the tournament opener and South Tahoe avenged its loss, 9-5.
The locals gave up five runs in the first inning but nothing the rest of the way.
“Defensively, we made some outstanding plays and had contributions throughout the lineup,” Teevan said. “Jensen, Aidan, Andrew and Peyton all threw valuable innings for us. The guys were determined and hungry to prove that Game 1 was a game we gave away.”
South Tahoe knocked out its third consecutive team with an 8-6 victory over Washington Manor from Northern California, the team that knocked them out of the same tournament last year.
“Our confidence was really building,” Teevan said. “We once again had contributions offensively throughout the lineup and we were tough outs at the plate. We competed every pitch and defensively the guys were dialed in. Christian pitched a great game for us against a tough opponent.”
The win set up South Tahoe for a shot at the title against unbeaten Bakersfield, who hadn’t lost a game in three years.
South Tahoe needed two wins to claim the championship, they got one.
Lehmann, pitching on two days rest, was “lights out.”
He kept the hitters off balance and commanded the strike zone, Teevan said.
Down 2-0 in the fifth inning, South Tahoe tied the game.
After another hit and error, South Tahoe bunted four straight times and put pressure on the defense. They tacked on three more runs to take a 5-2 lead.
“We’ve always taught our players if you execute the plays properly it’s tough to defend and that’s exactly what we did,” Teevan said. “I think Bakersfield was a little shocked we weren’t backing down and came to play. But forcing a Game 6, we gave it everything we had, but ran out of gas losing our last game 11-1. I’d like to thank everyone that supported us and donated to our travel, food, lodging costs for the Tournament,” Teevan said. “It was a special group of guys and an experience I know none of us will ever forget.”