Vikings’ home opener doesn’t last long enough
For a baseball team that patiently waited a month and a half for the snow to melt so it could play its home opener, South Tahoe High left its 1999 debut at Todd Fields feeling shortchanged.
Douglas must have had early dinner reservations as the Tigers finished off the Vikings 13-1 in five innings on a breezy Tuesday afternoon. Douglas (11-6) collected 15 hits, including home runs by its No. 6 and No. 7 hitters, to remain in the upper half of the Northern Nevada 4A League standings.
“We’ve seen this before. The teams that have been outside longer than us have really had a chance to swing the sticks, and it shows. We’ve been inside and haven’t seen as much live pitching,” said Viking manager Doug Russell. “Douglas is a good ball club. What can you say?
When you’re six and seven hitters are hitting home runs and you’re three, four and five hitters are getting the base hits, there’s not much you can do to keep a team down.”
Douglas skipper Lars Baker appreciated the game ending two innings early despite making a 45-minute bus ride from Minden.
“In baseball, it’s not like basketball where you get two conference games a week. In baseball, you have four conference games a week, so every inning you can save on your pitchers I appreciate, whether I’m on the up end or the down end. You don’t want to burn another guy for two more innings,” Baker said.
Douglas wasted little time jumping on Viking starter Chris Hannum.
An infield error gave the Tigers an extra out, and Bruce Jacobsen capitalized with a two-out run-scoring single to left field.
Bobby Lee, a transfer from Whittell High, used some inside information on Hannum to ignite a three-run Douglas second inning with a solo homer.
“It feels great. I liked it,” said Lee of his Tahoe homecoming homer. “I’ve played with and against Chris in Tahoe.”
Steve Henricksen and Tom Joyner followed Lee’s homer with RBI singles to make the score 4-0.
Trent Tholen, who only allowed three Viking hits, ran into trouble for the only time in the second inning as three straight hitters reached after an out. Chris Hannum scored from first base when T.J. Prevost’s single rolled past the center fielder. After a walk to John Capitani put runners on first and second, Tholen got out of the jam on fielder’s choice and a groundout.
“We were generally pretty disciplined at the plate, but we were up against a pitcher who was throwing strikes and they were playing solid D,” Russell said.
Hannum kept South Tahoe close by surrendering an unearned run over the next two innings, but the Vikings didn’t respond in the dish.
“He pitched better than the score reflected,” Baker said. “He gets a few more defensive plays, and it’s a little closer game.”
However, Hannum tired in the fifth as Douglas connected for eight runs on eight hits, including six straight. Matt Tretton started the rally with a leadoff homer – his first of the season. Joyner, who finished with three hits and two RBIs, chipped in with an RBI triple.
Tretton, Heinricksen, Jacobsen, Kenny Nicoll and Joel Kruger each collected two hits for the Tigers. Prevost, Hannum and Tim Sprinkles accounted for STHS’s three singles.
The game marked a homecoming for former STHS JV coach David Santee, who now serves as a Tigers assistant and first-base coach. Santee was fired last spring over some comments he made to student athletes during a bus trip home.
“It was a bittersweet-, revenge-type thing. There were some hard feelings. I know all of these kids and all of them are going to be playing for me in three weeks in summer ball,” said Santee, who had applied for the then-vacant varsity after last season. “Honestly, I was looking forward to having them this spring, but it didn’t happen.”
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