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Vikings, Tigers unite on Senior Babe Ruth team

South Tahoe and Douglas high school athletes have always been rivals on the football field, basketball court and baseball diamond.

However, they are joining forces for the Tahoe Avalanche spring/summer Senior Babe Ruth Team.

“At first, I could see the hesitancy by them. There was the normal first-practice thing like ‘I didn’t think they’d be any good,’ and afterward it was like ‘Yeah, we have a pretty good team,'” said third-year Tahoe coach David Santee.



Jeff Jensen, who endured a 3-24 varsity baseball season at South Tahoe, has embraced the addition of six Douglas players.

“There’s no big difference between us. They are just like us, they want to play baseball,” Jensen said.




“I just want to win. We lost a lot this season. Once we bring it all together, we are going to do real well.”

The 17-player team will open its season today (4 p.m.) at the Douglas Tigers in Minden.

In his brief coaching career in South Lake Tahoe, Santee has been one of the few managers to produce more victories than defeats with area teen-agers during the 1990s. After an 18-11 campaign last year, Santee’s expectations are even higher this summer.

“I have a lot of high hopes for them this summer, and I think they are going to live up to it,” said Santee, who has booked at least 40 games for his 17- and 18-year-olds.

Splitting the bump duty will be Douglas products Justin Connolly, Chad Cooke, Kenny Nicole and Justin Ray and former South Tahoe High players David McKenna, Thrace Ramsey and Carson Triggs.

“We don’t have a dominating ace, but there are about three pitchers who can become that dominating ace,” said Santee, who is assisted by Matt Tillson, Bill Ramsey and Steve Cabrera.

UC Davis freshman Greg Bruso, at 1998 STHS graduate, will make a few starts for the Avalanche in nonleague games.

Opponents will be stretched to find holes in the Avalanche outfield if Santee’s assessments are correct.

“Our outfield is going to be the fastest in the league. Five of our outfielders can flat out run and get the ball,” said Santee of his outfielder core of Chris Hourula (STHS), Austin Merritt (STHS), Nate Muren (Douglas), Triggs, Beau Barkley (STHS), Ray and Josh Terry (STHS).

Making most of the plays will be an infield consisting of Jensen (STHS), Matt Solbrig (STHS), Nicole, Cooke, Ramsey, Matt Tretton (Douglas) and Nathan Coats (STHS).

Santee especially likes the versatility of Coats.

“He’s a great guy to have around. I can him put him anywhere on the field and he can get the job done,” the coach said.

Jensen and Tretton should provide the Avalanche’s power, but Santee won’t rely on homers to win games.

“We’re going to do a lot of running on people and we are going to be pretty balanced as far as speed and power goes,” Santee said.

Ultimately, Santee believes his Avalanche will beat teams with their defense.

“I’ve told them if they make all the routine plays and two great plays, we’ll win the game. During games last year, we’d have someone say, ‘Coach, there is one of our great plays.’ It keeps them focused,” Santee said.

Santee also plans to take the aluminum bats out of his players’ hands from time to time.

“They’ll hit with wooden bats in some games. It just makes them better hitters. To connect with one, they have to hit the ball right,” he said.

Tahoe will open its 19-game home schedule vs. the Nevada Yankees at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Todd Fields.

Santee can’t wait to get going. He’s welcoming the challenge of coaching his “best” team ever.

“It’s going to take better coaching on my part. This is the strongest roster one through 18 that I’ve ever head coached,” he said.

But after the first practice when they saw that everybody was a pretty good ballplayer

The Avalanche opens its season today at Douglas High.

will get started this week.

more fun trp to get know each other.

start league on Tuesday.

At Douglas on Tuesday

Thursday at home 5:30 vs. Nevada Yankees

Tahoe Avalanche.

16-18, 18 and under

tea consists all 17-18 years-olds.

“actually got lot of high hopes with this team, coule ex-tahoe guy games, we have pretty storng 18, tahoe and goulas guys.

pitching wise we’ll hold up throughout summer. pretty balanced.

we dont’ ahe dominating ace, tehre about three pitchers that can be come dominating ace.

when people come play carson name come sup rosemary.

overall,

outfield is going to be fastest in league, five outfielders can flat out run and get ball.

def best all-around def that I’ve had in last three years.

Pitchers: Justin Connelly, Douglas; Chad Cooke, Douglas, David McKenna, Tahoe, Kenny Nichols, Douglas, Thrace Ramsey, STHS; Justin Ray, Douglas; Dustin Skiles, STHS; Carson Triggs, STHS.

Outfielders: Chris Hourula (STHS), Austin Merritt, Nate marin (Douglas), Triggs, STHS; Beau Barkley; Justin Ray, Josh Terry.

Key infielders: platoopn six guys Jeff Jensen, Matt Solbrig, Kenny Nicole, Chad Cook, Thrace Ramsey, Matt Tretton, Nathan Coats (utility, can put him anwhere on field and he’lll get in job, catches middle infield and outfield)

Great guy to have around, I love havng ante around, I can put him anwyehre on fiedl and he ca get the job done.

“I think we’re going to be able to score a lot of runs, we’re going to do al ot of runing on epopel we are going to be pretty balanced team as far as speed and power goes.

Matt Tretton, Dogulas; Jeff Jensen , few guys hitting lot of homers. I think we’re going to base our season palyign some strong def and fundametally getting job done.

makign all routines and two grelays and we’ll win the ball game. during cgame, coach thee is one of our great ones. It kees them focused.

eight kids off team looking playng next yer colleg,e five defe will playing. Kids lot to work on and for, copule kids focuse on last summer on baseball and see wher it take

. hopefully . firt two weeks hardest for us, becasue won’t have all guys here. But we’ll get through. tgouhest game on Sunday, Sierra Sundevils.

We’re gong to scrap this eyar and oipen some eyes this summer. fourth of july tournament, win that, seven strong teams coming california this year, othe rteam goal is to win one of state tournaments, pitching that we will have, I think have good cahcne of winning tournaments.

def is what hold us up this summer

hit wood bats in some of our games thi ssummer, it just makes them beter hitters. start hitting ball wooden bats, bring

swing wooden bat, connect with one they have to hit ball right, get broken bats and get weak hits. it will make them better for next year. we want to have goo drecord through season and win two of four tournaments in this summer.

Third year, It’s going to take better coachn on my part, I ahve coach Bill yRamsay and coach Tillson out this summer. It’s going toe be ahrd to

mixed practice,s see big diff in how hard.

guy behin thme, ca’t slack off and no they can play every game. they have something t

helped lot with wrok ethich and intensty shown so far in practice.

me personally, this is trongest roster 1-=18 that I’ve everh head coaches. I have lot of high hopes for them this sumemr, and I thnk they are gong to live up to it.

40 games with tournaments.

Looking game-wise, 19 games at home.

11 different dates.

“it’s working great. at first, I could see hesitanc on them first def practice, they saw each player that they were pretty good pballplayer, I didnt’ think be any good, norma practice thing, after practice, damn we have rpretty good tema. they bleive they have chance to win somethign this summer.

Bruso pitch some non-league games, older and better teams, once to def to come out and throw.


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