WHS, STHS won’t approach opener as battle of Tahoe
Thursday marks opening day for both South Shore prep baseball teams, and there’s no better way to start the season for each club than to face each other.
The Warriors and the Vikings drew each other in the opening game of the Carson Preseason Invitational Tournament, but both teams insist that this game does not have a bearing on the whole season.
“This is not the battle of Tahoe,” Warrior coach Don Amaral said. “It was totally the luck of the draw with how the tournament was set up.”
The last time the two schools met on the diamond was in 19xx with South Tahoe coming out victorious, x-x.
This year, however, both coaches are not putting emphasis on winning, rather on getting in a good workout and playing fundamental baseball.
“We need to come in and not worry about who’s in the other dugout,” Viking coach Doug Russell said. “The kids are mostly excited to play against their friends, but we need accomplish some goals out there on Thursday.
“Of course, we’d like to open with a win, but if we reach the goals set, then a win should follow.”
Don’t tell that to the players.
“We have kind of personal rivalry with them,” senior first baseman Mike Hennessy said. “It will be fun playing Whittell.
“If we win, it would help boost our confidence. It’s always nice to go into the season with a win.”
Although both teams have hit the field in some scrimmages in the valley, the Vikings and Warriors are looking forward to getting on the field for a game that counts.
The game is only slated to go a total of five innings and both coaches are planning to get as many players in the contest as possible.
Amaral said his starting hurler, senior left hander Brandon Lee, won’t go more than a few innings, while Russell is planning to use as many as three pitchers.
“We want it to be competitive, but as long as we can make it through without anyone hurt, it’s a plus for us,” Amaral said.
Russell is equally concerned with his team’s early season health.
“We have a team that is in the dead-arm stage right now,” the third-year coach said. “We’ve been practicing for eight days live and the kids are starting to feel it.”
Other than facing their friends on Thursday, both squads are just excited not to be in a gym for once.
“We’re excited to get out on the field,” Russell said. “Playing outside for us is going to be a thrill.”
The first pitch of the 2001 season for both schools will be at 1 p.m. at Carson High School’s junior varsity field.
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