Vikings baseball edges 1st place Truckee in series finale
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe baseball did something this past weekend that’s only happened twice before this season — hand Truckee a loss.
The playoff-bound Vikings suffered through a rough first two games of the series before claiming the series finale behind a gritty pitching performance from senior Kevin Lehmann at South Tahoe Middle School.
South Tahoe lost 11-2 Friday afternoon, then had their bats silenced Saturday morning in a 4-0 defeat despite turning a thrilling triple play and then used Lehmann’s complete game gem to rally and win Game 2 of the doubleheader 4-3.
Lehmann toed the rubber Saturday with his bright blue jersey shimmering in the afternoon sunlight.
The Vikings wore black jerseys in the first game of the twinbill and had no luck at the plate, recording just one hit, a solid single to left off Lehmann’s bat.
South Tahoe may have thought about burning those jerseys before the nightcap to exorcise their offensive demons.
The Vikings trailed nearly the entire game until the sixth inning, when they grabbed their first lead of the series.
The Wolverines scored two runs in the top of the first but their sophomore starting pitcher couldn’t throw strikes and the Vikings answered with a pair in the home half to tie the game without recording a hit.
Truckee added another run in the third but South Tahoe tied it in the fourth and grabbed the lead in the fifth.
Lehmann (5-2) allowed three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five and is the team leader in victories, innings pitched and strikeouts.
Cameron Johnson had two of the Vikings six hits and also scored and drove in a run, Eric Vasser doubled, scored and had a RBI, Lehman singled and scored, Andrew Lehman singled and scored, Connor Long singled and had a RBI and Cameron Lehmann had a RBI.
Aaron Johnson’s amazing catch highlighted South Tahoe’s effort Saturday morning.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the sixth inning, and the Vikings hanging on by a thread down 4-0, Johnson chased a fly ball that was crushed toward the gap between left and center.
There was no way it looked like he was going to make a play. The Truckee third base coach also didn’t think it would be caught after watching the ball flight for a few moments.
He sent the runners.
Johnson miraculously tracked it down just short of the wall and made a diving catch facing the fence.
He quickly fired to his cutoff man, shortstop Kevin Lehmann, while Truckee runners were lost as to what happened. Lehmann tossed to third baseman Auston Burdick for the second out who flipped to freshman Andrew Lehmann at second base to retire the side.
South Tahoe stayed close in the series opener on the strength of a Cameron Johnson double.
The senior launched a deep, high fly ball that landed just short of the wall in left center to plate Andrew Lehmann and Jacob Rush to make it 3-2 in the fourth inning.
But Truckee countered with five runs in the top of the fifth and the party was over.
Truckee (21-3 Northern) clinched a share of the Northern League title. The Wolverines lead Spring Creek (18-6 Northern) by three games with three to play.
Churchill County (16-8 Northern), South Tahoe’s next opponent, and Elko (16-8 Northern) are tied for fourth with the Vikings (15-9 Northern) in fifth place.
North Valleys (13-11 Northern) is in the sixth and final playoff qualifying position.
The Vikings will host the Greenwave on Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, in a three-game set at South Tahoe Middle School to end the regular season.
The Vikings could finish as high as fourth or as low as sixth, but either way they will play Thursday, May 9, when the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A Northern League Championship double-elimination tournament begins in Elko, Nevada.