Vikings hang around, hang home loss on Douglas
MINDEN – South Tahoe High rallied from a six-run deficit to take a 9-8 win on the latest leg of their season-starting baseball road trip Tuesday.
Junior catcher Toby O’Brien hit a two-RBI triple in the top of the sixth inning to put South Tahoe ahead 9-7. With junior Ryan Cullen on the mound, South Tahoe allowed Douglas one more run, and closed the game with the tying run at third. The Vikings improved to 2-2 after being swept by Wooster in a season-opening doubleheader Saturday in Reno.
“We knew we just had to stay in the game because we knew our bats are capable of the big game we got,” said Vikings manager Doug Russell.
South Tahoe’s defense allowed the Vikings to stay in the game until the offense could erase Douglas’ early lead. After a three-error first inning, the defense helped make Cullen comfortable, and the pitcher settled down and started getting outs.
“(With) our defense, really, we didn’t get as many errors as we did in the first inning,” Cullen said. “We work better as a team this year, I think.”
Defense allowed the Vikings offense to chip away at the lead. South Tahoe scored one run in the fourth inning before making up most of the ground in the fifth. Tim Sprinkles went 2 of 4 from the plate, but more important, scored four runs against Douglas (0-3).
“We just took advantage of the opportunities Douglas gave us,” Russell said.
Douglas’ top hitter, catcher Bobby Lee, was 0-2, but the former Whittell player had two RBI on sacrifices.
Tuesday’s game was the fourth of a seven-game road trip to start the season. The Vikings don’t play a home game until Galena visits for a March 25 doubleheader at Todd Fields in South Lake Tahoe. But the team has executed well in the clutch in the last two games, holding off Douglas after beating Elko 9-6 in eight innings Monday.
“We expect to do that,” Russell said of Tuesday’s win. “If we’re going to meet our postseason goals, we need to come down and win games even when we’re not playing our best.”
South Tahoe returns to action on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. game at Carson. Chris Hannum (1-1) will start for the Vikings.
Road-weary Vikings fall in softball
The years showed in South Tahoe’s softball game at Douglas, but unfortunately the miles on the Vikings showed more as they lost 8-2 Tuesday.
Douglas jumped on Rich Barna’s road-weary team early as the Vikings completed their fourth road game of a 10-game season-starting sojourn. South Tahoe (2-2), which traveled to Winnemucca for Monday’s doubleheader with Lowry, found itself down 4-2 early and never recovered.
“We were a little flat today is what we were, a little back on our heels,” Barna said. “It’s a pretty tall order to ask them to play a doubleheader at Lowry – we got in really late – and the girls had to get up, go to school in the morning and go here this afternoon.”
Douglas took advantage of three South Tahoe errors in the first inning to score three of its first four batters. After that, pitcher Jodi Gonzales, shortstop Lindsey Rollins and the Tigers held South Tahoe scoreless, and Douglas added three runs in the third.
The Douglas defense snuffed South Tahoe’s best opportunity in the sixth inning. Vikings senior shortstop Missy Johnson advanced to third on an error, a steal and a wild pitch, and two outs later, catcher Jill Barna made it to second on a walk and stolen base. But Gonzales made Vikings senior Jessica Cerasoli her fourth-and-final strikeout of the day to end the threat.
“We were fortunate to have some good hitting, good defense, and fortunately, we came out on top,” said Douglas head coach Ken Carr.
Even though South Tahoe’s annual trip to Minden ended in a loss, both coaches noticed a difference in the visitors.
“Like I said before, Rich is building a good program,” Carr said. “They played us tough, they really did. No longer is Tahoe going to be a pushover.
“They’re a lot more confident, they’re good, strong hitters, and they’re heads-up and they’re into the game,” Carr said. “He played them all the way through the fall (in club softball) ,and I think that’s paying off right now.”
South Tahoe’s performance belied its long road trip, which took the Vikings to Churchill County and Winnemucca for its first two games. Barna noticed the difference, too.
“They’ve routinely 10-run-ruled Tahoe,” Barna said. “Going a full seven innings is certainly a tribute to this team.”
South Tahoe (2-2 overall) returns to action on Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. game at Carson.
Smith Valley wins second against Warriors
Smith Valley jumped out to a 7-0 lead against Whittell on Tuesday, taking advantage of Warriors errors to win 17-7 in Smith, Nev.
Whittell closed the gap to 7-4 in the third inning, but could get no closer. Hard-hitting Smith Valley, which beat Whittell (1-4) Saturday at the Yerington tournament, added seven more runs over the next two innings to seal the win. Whittell didn’t help its cause with five errors.
“(Fielding) wasn’t really a big problem,” said Whittell head coach Lindsay Wines. “Sometimes the cover wasn’t there, or the backup wasn’t there, so mental errors – not really physical ones.”
Smith Valley stole 12 bases, but Whittell was aggressive in the paths, too, generating seven runs off just three hits. Warriors junior Meredith Shaw picked up the loss despite striking out six and walking four.
Wines did see bright spots for the future, though. Kendall Spingola played center field in her first action with the Warriors, and Caitlin Fagan saw her first action at catcher. Wines also praised infielders Stephanie Evans and Erin Silver for their defense.
“With a little more experience, I’m excited about what could happen, but right now they’re really gun shy,” Wines said of her young outfield.
Whittell returns to action Saturday for a doubleheader against Coleville – which Whittell beat at Yerington – in Zephyr Cove. Shaw (1-3) draws the start for the 11 a.m. opener.
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