Tahoe Hooligan’s in finals
Don’t look at Cary White’s position in the batting order.
Typically, No. 8 hitters are supposed to be easy outs. White of the South Lake Tahoe All-Star Hooligans was anything but an out for Reno Continental in the Little League District 1 semifinals Monday night at Fred Rightmier Field in South Lake Tahoe. The South Lake Tahoe shortstop went 4 for 4, including a three-run homer, and knocked in five runs in a 13-5 thumping of Reno.
“It was an important game, and I tried to hit the best I could to help the team,” White said. “I’ve never made it to a championship game before, and I knew if we made it, it would be the best.”
Michael Greenstein, who guided the Sierra Read Mix Pirates to the South Tahoe Little League championship last month, says White hits eighth to complement his power.
“He happens to be at the end, but he’s in a power position. The way I set up a lineup is I go with speed and power and speed and power,” the Hooligans coach said.
South Lake Tahoe meets defending champion Washoe, a 5-4 winner over Reno American, in today’s 5:30 p.m. finals. Tahoe’s last appearance in the Hooligan finals was two years against Reno Continental.
“It’s just a difficult team to beat. We’re solid in the outfield and we have the guys who can poke the ball all the way around the lineup,” Greenstein said.
Behind Chris Rickey’s two-run single, Reno Continental seized a 5-1 lead in the top of the third inning. But Rickey couldn’t coax patient Tahoe hitters to swing at pitches outside the strike zone in the bottom half of the inning, fueling a comeback.
“We’ve been working at that. We see the anxiety on the first-pitch hitters, so we like to let that pitcher throw a few pitches,” Greenstein said.
Walks to Langdon Owen, Garrett McIntyre and Leon Abravanel loaded the bases with one out. Then Jason Domingo came off the bench to beat out an infield single, plating Owen. A walk to Parker Alexander chased home McIntyre, pulling to Tahoe to within 5-3.
After falling behind 1-2 in the count, White blooped a single to right, scoring Abravanel. Following a strikeout, Jason Fiori overcame an 0-2 count and raced down the line for an infield hit, saving the inning. Domingo scored on the throw to first and Alexander scored from second, beating the throw home by a split second. A wild pitch brought home White with the sixth run of the inning.
Reno didn’t have an answer for relief pitcher Garrett McIntyre the rest of the way. After surrendering consecutive hits in the third inning, McIntyre overpowered Reno with a sidearm fastball.
McIntyre retired seven straight hitters from the third through fifth innings. He hit the first batter in the sixth and retired the next three hitters.
“He can heat the ball,” said Tahoe pitching coach Wayne Mulderink, who estimates that McIntyre throws his fastball 70 mph. “This season, it took a while to get his control and confidence going, but (now) he’s ready to go.”
McIntyre struck out two and didn’t walk a batter in earning the victory in relief of Ry Greenstein. Ry Greenstein gave up two hits and struck out two in 2 1/3 innings work.
“My ‘X’ factor is turning into another factor,” said Greenstein, who used McIntyre in relief to win the Little League title last month. “Garrett can hold it together. His pitching is just picking up tremendously.”
Meanwhile, Rickey’s and reliever Jose Silva’s complexions became as “White” as ghosts. White’s three-run homer with Jake Summers and Abravanel aboard capped a four-run fourth inning.
“That was a good feeling, knowing I helped my team out like that,” said White about the high fastball he deposited over the left-field fence.
White, who doubled in the second, finished his productive night with a RBI single to center in the fifth inning. Fiori and Summers contributed two hits and Allen McDermott belted a triple.
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