Tentative play goes up in Smoke
Don’t let their 4-17 record fool you. Tahoe Smoke softball manager Rich Barna didn’t recognize the team that finished the season after starting summer ball with a string of losses.
“It was incredible. Initally they were very conservative, but toward the end of the season they became very aggressive on the basepaths, plate and defensively,” said Barna, whose club made the semifinal round in their final tournament in Reno late last month.
Tahoe opened the tournament with a thrilling 5-4 win over the Idaho Flames. With the scored tied at 2 after six innings, the international tiebreaker was utilized, with each team starting the seventh frame with a runner on second base.
Idaho capitalized with two runs in its half of the seventh, but Tahoe came smoking back with three runs to win it. Stephanie Evans had the only hit in the rally, and Heather Roderick scored the decisive run on a close play at the plate.
Evans finished with two hits, and Kim Stovall lashed a double.
Then came tough 6-5 and 5-3 defeats to the Reno Wildcats and Douglas Tigress, respectively.
Evans and Barna scored sixth-inning runs to pull the Smoke within a run of the Wildcats, but Tahoe left the bases loaded.
Evans again ignited the offense with a pair of doubles.
Vanessa Porter kept the Smoke close against Douglas, scattering nine hits. Tammy Cowen, Stefanie Terry and Kendra Terry scored runs for the Smoke.
Barna led the way offensively with three hits, while Terry chipped in two hits.
The Napa Express eliminated the Smoke in the semifinals, 18-0, as Evans accounted for the Smoke’s only hit.
“Her batting really came alive. She was hitting everything in that last tournament,” Barna said.
Barna was also impressed by the consistent pitching of Porter, Roderick and Corrine Edwards.
“What’s really nice is that any one of those girls could go the entire game and there was no real worry that you were going to need another pitcher,” Barna said.
PHotos by Bob Stovall
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