Williamsport dreams begin in Gardnerville for South Lake Tahoe stars | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Williamsport dreams begin in Gardnerville for South Lake Tahoe stars

When manager Mark Shehadi needs a relief pitcher for his South Lake Tahoe Little League 11-12 All-Star tournament, he’ll have the unique luxury of summoning outfielders, infielders and reserves.

Shehadi’s entire roster is capable of pitching as South Lake Tahoe gets ready for its district opener against the Sparks American-Washoe survivor Sunday at 2 p.m. at Aspen Park in Gardnerville.

Kevin Schlange, 12, believes the assortment of pitchers will keep the opposition guessing.



“It’s going to give us a variety of people who can mix up curveballs, changes and fastballs and different speeds that will mess up the hitters,” Schlange said.

“We’ve got a lot of pitching and a lot of speed. It’s not overwhelming pitching, so we’ll have to bunt and scratch like there is no tomorrow,” Shehadi said.




That’s how Shehadi managed his Rangers to runner-up positions during the South Lake Tahoe Little League regular season and postseason.

“Kids are learning some things they may not have been taught during the season like bunt coverages, first-and-third situations and pickles,” Shehadi said.

The players are enjoying the aggressive style of baseball.

“We’re going to go all out … steal if we get the chance, delayed steals, tons of good stuff,” Schlange said. “We’ll do what Mark did with the Rangers, go halfway and try to get caught in pickles.”

Hence, Shehadi and his experienced coaching staff of Jim Gosh, Paul Schlange, Glenn Pershing, Steve Yarrow and Jack Harrington are drilling their team two-and-a-half to three hours daily.

“We’re working the first one to two hours on fundamentals and the last half hour on baseball management 101,” Shehadi said. “Having the coaches we have makes all the difference in the world. Everybody is open to ideas and we all talk to each other, so the kids are going to be the ones to benefit from it.”

Shehadi’s roster includes postseason hero Spencer Dean, who belted a dramatic two-run homer with one out in the sixth inning to give the A’s a 4-3 championship win over the Rangers.

“I tell you what, he’s had the perfect 12-year-old season. What better of a season could you ask for?” Shehadi said. “But we’re going to see 12 Spencer Deans on a team. They’re going to see curveballs and fastballs that they haven’t seen all year long.”

It’s every Little-Leaguer’s dream to make it to the World Series in Williamsport, Pa. – even the South Lake Tahoe children who play shorter seasons and are usually restricted by unrelenting winters.

“We have to win one tournament at a time and not rush all the way to Williamsport,” Schlange said.

Managing the team has cost Shehadi some money at his local car dealership, but the lifelong baseball fan knows there are things in life with no price tag.

“It’s worth every penny. I absolutely love to be out there,” he said. “I love the fact that two years and three years from now some of them will be coming up to me and saying, ‘Coach, when we played all-stars it was something I’ll never forget.’ I hope the kids come away the same feeling after winning a couple of games.”


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