Youth served: South Tahoe varsity baseball wins inaugural alumni game 8-7
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — In the inaugural South Tahoe baseball alumni game, the 2015 Vikings’ varsity team did what it has done all season to earn much-coveted bragging rights. The Vikings rallied for an 8-7 win over STHS alumni Saturday at Todd Fields Park, winning on a walk-off bunt from junior Moises Cuevas.
“We wanted to win this pretty badly — we were talking beforehand that we got this, but during the game they were actually giving it to us,” Cuevas said. “They would have been talking until next year if they won — it was good to win.”
South Tahoe owns seven comeback wins this season, and produced another at the expense of an alumni team that featured Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan, STHS athletic director Tony Sunzeri and four members of the historic 2014 team — Dominic Diana, Liam Loftis, R.J. Rivera and Sergio Burgueno. The Vikings fell behind the alumni early and trailed 7-2 before scoring six unanswered runs over the last three frames.
“We had it in hand and little by little they came back,” Teevan said. “They played typical Tahoe baseball — get guys on, move them over and score them somehow.”
In the bottom of the fifth, junior Josh Sullivan started the Vikings’ comeback by scoring on a passed ball — later in the frame Cuevas produced a two-run single to make it 7-5. South Tahoe trailed by that margin entering the bottom of the seventh, and loaded the bases with no outs to set the stage for a dramatic finish.
“This team has no quit — it doesn’t matter what the score is,” Teevan said. “They battle in every at-bat, the guys rally around each other and that’s good to see as a coach.”
With the bases loaded, alumni reliever Justin Keys hit junior Will Mori to bring the Vikings within a run. In the next at-bat, Cuevas laid down a bunt between the mound and home plate — an errant defensive play allowed sophomore Garrett Harley and junior Paul Hoefer to score, securing the win for South Tahoe.
“I just had to put it down and not towards the pitcher — just put down the bunt and get the runner in,” Cuevas said. “I ran to first as hard I could — I looked back and saw them score.”
The alumni team scored in each of the first five frames and opened the scoring with three straight singles off Vikings senior Jordan Mann — former STHS head coach Matt Tillson’s single made it 1-0. Senior Dakota Lynch led off the bottom of the first with an inside-the-park home run that tied it up — but the alumni had an answer.
Rivera produced an RBI single in the top of the second to put the alums ahead 2-1 — run-scoring singles from Diana, Sean Duggan and Dusty Gooch in the third and one from Burgueno in the fourth made it 6-1. Senior Justin Cain delivered an RBI single for the Vikings in the bottom of the fourth to make it a four-run contest, and Joey Wightman answered with a run-scoring single in the next half-inning to put the alumni team ahead 7-2.
“It was fun and it was competitive,” Teevan said. “We lost and we don’t like to lose, but someone has to lose.”
Cuevas picked up the win for South Tahoe by allowing one run over three innings of relief — Mann started and pitched four frames. Teevan started for the alumni and threw two innings — Loftis, Keys, Diana and Dan McCauley also pitched for the alums.
The alumni game was the idea of Teevan, a 1995 STHS grad in his fourth season coaching the Vikings. Last year, a foot of snow the day before cancelled the game, making Saturday’s contest the beginning of a new tradition.
“It’s good for our guys to see the alumni come back — the guys that built the foundation of the program — and we can build off of that,” Teevan said. “The reaction I got from everyone that played was nothing but positive — hopefully we can do it every year.”
Saturday’s STHS alumni team also featured Domi Chavarria, Chris Hernandez, Jeff Jensen, Corey Pullen, Alex Schneeberg and Mark Shehadi. A total of 18 Vikings’ baseball alums donned the blue and gold for the game.
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