Laker hurlers shine in doubleheader sweep
On a beautiful day on what has to be the most beautiful baseball field in the NIAA, the Lakers rode a pair of strong pitching performances from seniors Tyler Phillips and Sean Bernardo to a doubleheader sweep of visiting Mineral County (Hawthorne) on Saturday.The Lakers improved to 4-6 in Northern 2A league play with two games remaining both against Whittell on Friday.Taking the mound for Game 1, Phillips threw a complete game four-hitter, striking out eight batters en route to a 4-2 win.Bernardo, the Lakers No. 1 starter, followed with an even more impressive outing in the second contest, throwing a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts as the Lakers skunked the Serpents 5-0.Neither pitcher allowed a walk in 14 innings in what was North Tahoes first home games of the season in league play.I felt good, Phillips said of his start, adding that playing at North Tahoe Regional Park was a bonus. It feels good to be playing a doubleheader on our home field. Hearing the home crowd definitely helps.Phillips and Bernardo had help from their defense. Minus one lapse in the first inning of Game 2, when North Tahoe committed three straight errors to lead off the game, the Lakers played solidly in the field.Defense was definitely our strong point, Phillips said.In Game 1, Phillips breezed through the first nine Serpent hitters in order, striking out the side in the second inning on a nasty curveball he had working in his favor. All but two of his strikeouts came by way of the curve.The Lakers struck first, putting a run on the board in the bottom of the first inning on a Bernardo double to the base of the right field fence. Junior Chris Cahill scored on the hit after leading off the inning with a hard-hit double down the third base line.North Tahoe added to its lead in the third. Cahill led off with a base hit to center and scored when Taylor Good crushed a line-drive double to the fence in right. Advancing to third on a botched cutoff, Good came in to score the second run of the inning on another smashed double to the fence, this time off the bat of Bernardo for a 3-0 lead.Hawthorne touched Phillips in the fourth for one run on two hits, then picked up an unearned run in the sixth on a throwing error by Phillips to pull to within 3-2.The Lakers added an insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth on a swinging-bunt base hit by Ben Lurie to score Phillips, who reached on a walk.Bernardo led the way at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Cahill went 2 for 4 with two runs and Good was 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI. Phillips, Joe Hallman and Lurie each had one hit.
Despite Bernardos no-hitter in the second game, the win didnt come easy for the Lakers, who started off by loading the bases on three errors. Bernardo, who was throwing hard while mixing in a devastating curveball, escaped the threat by striking out the side.Hawthornes starter also was throwing well, holding the Lakers scoreless through four innings.In the bottom of the fifth, however, North Tahoe took a 1-0 lead after Phillips tripled and Cahill followed with a clutch, two-out line drive to left center.The next inning, the Lakers broke through with four runs on a walk and three RBI hits by Bernardo, Tyler Turpin and Phillips to widen the gap.As is the case with most no-hit bids, there were times when the defense made a key play or two that prevented a hit. In this case, sophomore Parker Laughlin made a great catch in right field off a line drive that was hooking toward the foul line. Cahill also flashed some leather at second base on a line-drive short-hop to his left that could easily have gone into right field.Offensively, Phillips had his best game of the year, his coach said, as he went 3 for 3 with a single, double and triple. Cahill, Good, Bernardo and Turpin each had one hit.At 4-6, the Lakers will likely earn the fourth and final playoff seed if they sweep the final two games against Whittell, said head coach Jack Bernardo. The Northern 2A zones will be played at Hawthorne on May 9-10.If we pitch on Friday like we did (this past Saturday), I think we have a good chance, coach Bernardo said.
The Lakers came up a run short in a nonleague home game against Portola on Thursday, losing 5-4.North Tahoe fell behind by four runs early and narrowly missed a comeback win after going hitless through the first five innings.Leading off the sixth, Hallman sparked a rally when he smashed a triple for the Lakers first hit. The hit opened the flood gates as North Tahoe batters continued to connect, driving in three runs to pull to within 4-3.After Portola added an insurance run in the final inning, the Lakers again battled back, scoring a run and leaving a runner stranded at third to end the game.Despite the loss, coach Bernardo was pleased with his teams performace, as well as the opportunity to play on his home field for the first time all season.We love playing (at North Tahoe Regional Park), and people love coming here, he said. What an atmosphere for baseball. We had students, fans and parents cheering us on. This is what we play the game for.Cahill went 2 for 4 at the plate. Shawn Bernardo was 1 for 3, Hallman 2 for 3 and Laughlin 1 for 2.Seth Lightcap contributed to this report
The Lakers wrap up league play with a doubleheader against Whittell on Friday. The games will be played at Lampe Park in Gardnerville at 1 and 3 p.m.
See Tuesday’s Sports andamp; Outdoors for a report and photos from the North Tahoe softball team’s doubleheader against Hawthorne.
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