Vikings rally for crucial series win over Lowry, hammer Sparks
South Tahoe won a crucial series against a playoff contender over the weekend and started this week with an offensive explosion.
The Vikings took two of three from the visiting Lowry Buckaroos Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, including a thrilling come-from-behind last-inning rally, and again hammered Sparks on Monday, April 23, at South Tahoe Middle School.
South Tahoe rallied for five runs in the seventh inning in the first game of the doubleheader Saturday to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
Kevin Lehmann smoked a one-out double over the head of Lowry’s center fielder to give the Vikings a 10-9 walk-off victory in the seventh inning. Lehmann went 4 for 5 with four runs batted in to lead the South Tahoe offense.
Lowry scored four runs in the first innings but South Tahoe rallied to tie heading into the fifth inning. The Buckaroos added five runs to re-take a 9-4 lead but the Vikings never quit.
“We went down early, we battled back to tie the game and, unfortunately, we gave the lead right back on a few errors in the field,” said Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan. “The guys didn’t quit and we were given a couple of opportunities late in the game by Lowry pitching. A few walks and hit batters and before you know it, Kevin Lehmann comes up in a very big spot. It was a very big win for us.”
Also for the Vikings, Chris Pfister had two hits, including a double, two RBIs and two runs scored, Bryin Schouten had two hits, Cameron Johnson tripled and drove in two and Tucker Cannon smacked a double.
The victory came on the heels of a 12-1 victory Friday in the series opener.
The teams each had five hits, but Lowry couldn’t throw strikes early and tossed several wild pitches that gave runs to the Vikings.
Pfister was dominant on the mound, tossing a five-inning complete game with seven strikeouts.
Pfister also doubled, drove in two and scored twice and Peyton Galli smashed a two-run homer and scored three runs to lead the offense.
“Chris pitched another very good game for us,” Teevan said. “When he’s on and all his pitches are working, he’s tough to beat. Offensively, we had contributions from the entire lineup. Lowry gave us many opportunities and we capitalized on them.
The Vikings couldn’t keep the momentum from stealing Game 1 of the twinbill and lost 3-0 in the nightcap. They recorded just five hits and Cameron Johnson was saddled with the tough loss.
The righty tossed a 6-inning complete game allowing eight hits and three walks while striking out five.
“I thought we’d take the momentum from that win and carry it over, but we didn’t hit well at all,” Teevan said. “[We hit] too many lazy flyballs and pop ups. We really needed to win that game going forward and looking at the playoff standings.”
Galli nearly single-handedly took care of Sparks. The senior hurled a 4-inning complete game and drove in almost half the Vikings runs in the easy victory.
Galli blasted a grand slam and followed that with a three-run homer and finished the game with three hits and seven RBIs. He has team highs this year in home runs (5) and runs batted in (25).
Galli wasn’t the only Viking on Monday to enjoy hitting. Aaron Johnson doubled and drove in two, Pfister doubled and drove in two, Colby Glaze had two hits, Connor Long singled and had two RBIs and Kevin Lehmann and McCallan Castles each scored two runs.
“Peyton threw well for us and offensively, we had contributions from everybody,” Teevan said. “Many of our reserves got an opportunity to play and they did a great job.”
The Vikings (13-10, 10-9 Northern) are in fourth place in the 3A Northern League with the top six teams advancing to postseason. Elko (14-3) and Churchill (13-3) seem to have the top two spots locked up, but the Vikings are still trying to catch Truckee (10-6) while staying ahead of Fernley (8-8), Lowry (8-10), Dayton (7-10) and Spring Creek (8-12).
South Tahoe played rival Truckee Tuesday night, April 24, at Aces Ballpark in Reno and will play a crucial three-game series against Fernley starting at 3 p.m. Friday, April 27, at South Tahoe Middle School. The Vikings will host a doubleheader the next day starting at 11 a.m. They finish the regular season Tuesday, May 1, at Dayton.
“Our next five games are very important,” Teevan said Tuesday morning. “We are neck and neck with Dayton, Fernley, Spring Creek and Lowry for those last playoff spots. I’m hoping the guys can rise to the occasion and play some good ball down the stretch.”