Truckee baseball clinches No. 1 seed ahead of playoffs
The Truckee baseball team wrapped a regular season league championship last weekend at South Tahoe, and will be the No. 1 overall seed heading into the league playoffs for the first time since 2012.
By clinching the top seed out of the Northern League, the Wolverines will get a first-round bye to start next week’s six-team Class 3A Northern League Baseball Championship tournament in Elko.
“Our guys are pretty excited about it,” said Head Coach Jeff Murphy. “Obviously it’s great for our seniors. They’ve done a really good job up until now, and I hope they continue to just realize they’ve got something special and continue to work hard and stay humble and not just be satisfied. We want to finish very strong. I’m super proud, super happy for these guys, but we’ve got to take it one game at a time.”
Following a historic winter in terms of snowfall, the defending state champion Wolverines have yet to play a game on their home field, forcing the team to be creative in its approach to scheduling and setting up practices. Still, Truckee’s senior-heavy lineup has managed to pick up where the team left off last season, consistently coming up with timely hitting while finding the arms in the bullpen to compliment the squad’s approach at the plate.
“For some reason before the season started, I thought we might struggle a little bit off the mound,” said Murphy on a bullpen that’s posted the lowest ERA in the Northern League at 2.15 runs per game.
“That’s been a pleasant surprise for me as a coach. A lot of the positions players were all returning from last year … so we knew were going to have a good team, it was just about how they were going to come together as a group. So far the kids have gelled, but we know we’re going to have to become closer as a team here in the next few weeks to try to make a repeat run at everything.”
During last weekend’s three-game series against South Tahoe, the Wolverines picked up wins of 11-2 and 4-0, before dropping the series finale, 4-3.
Senior Shane Poe led the way in Friday’s series opener, going 3 for 3 at the plate with a pair of triples and three RBIs. Senior Derek LaFerriere went deep for his fifth home run of the season. From the mound, senior Jake Streit picked up a complete-game win, striking out a pair of batters while allowing six hits and no earned runs.
The following day, Truckee junior Deacon Mehler got the start and delivered a one-hit gem with nine strikeouts as the Wolverines took a 4-0 victory to clinch the regular season league title.
Senior Elliot Rost led Truckee from the plate with a triple and an RBI. Junior Tyler Estabrook had the only other extra-base hit with a double.
With the No. 1 seed locked up, the Wolverines concluded the series with the Vikings later that day, falling by one-run to snap the team’s 10-game winning streak.
Senior Spencer Edmondson hit his second home run of the season during the game. Poe and senior Marcus Bellon each had a pair of hits.
Truckee (21-3, 21-3 Northern League) will close the regular season out this weekend with a three-game series against Lowry (10-14, 10-14 Northern League).
Location of the game is still to be decided, but Murphy said there’s hope conditions at the team’s field will allow the Wolverines to finish the year with a home series.
“Our main goal as of today is to win Friday against Lowry. We’ve got to take care of business this weekend and stay hot … we want to take this series like we’re fighting for the six spot trying to get into the playoffs,” said Murphy.
“Going into the regional tournament we’ll have an even bigger target on our back being that up until now we haven’t lost a series this season. We’ve lost a couple games but never consecutively. We’ve just got to stay humble and continue doing what we’ve done all year and throw the ball well and hit, put up some runs, and hopefully we’ll be happy with the outcome.”
The opening round of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 3A Northern League Baseball Championship Tournament will begin Thursday, May 9, at Elko High School. The teams finishing first and second at the tournament will earn a berth into the state championship tournament.
This year’s Class 3A Nevada State High School Baseball Championship Tournament will be held May 16-18, at Virgin Valley High School in Mesquite.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.