Doubleheader and done
The Truckee High softball team took both ends of a doubleheader from rival North Tahoe, winning 7-4 and 17-9 in the final games of the season Tuesday at North Tahoe Regional Park.
Although the Wolverines won, improving to 8-8 in Northern 3A league play, Truckee head coach Mitch Brown was far from pleased with his team’s effort.
“We won both in absolutely horrible fashion,” he said, citing mental mistakes and apathy from many players as reasons for his disappointment. “We didn’t play very well at all. I was disappointed that our girls took it for granted and didn’t show up. It looked like most of them could care less.”
The coach was impressed with the effort put forth by the opposition, however.
“North Tahoe played absolutely wonderful. They played with heart and passion,” Brown said. “They were tough.”
The games had no playoff implications, as both teams had already been mathematically eliminated. The doubleheader did, however, mark each squad’s senior farewell, and drew a crowd of roughly 50 supporters, Brown said.
Freshman pitcher Rachel Zissimos started Game 1 for Truckee, picking up the win while surrendering seven hits and seven walks and striking out two in seven innings.
Senior Katie Freeman also threw a complete game for North Tahoe, striking out four hitters while walking four and giving up eight hits.
The contest remained close until the top of the sixth inning, when two walks, three hits and three critical Laker errors led to four Truckee runs and a 7-4 lead.
North Tahoe scored once in the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead. Truckee answered with a run in the second inning to tie the score, then pulled in front with another run in the third and one in the fifth.
Trailing 3-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Lakers scored three times to regain the lead at 5-3 before the Wolverines jumped out in front for good with their four-run sixth.
With the exception of the sixth inning, the Lakers played great defense all around, with particularly solid performances from sophomore catcher Shea Mesa ” who threw out two Truckee runners trying to steal ” and sophomore shortstop Christina Lane, senior left fielder Angela Jimenez and Freeman.
“It was the best game these girls have played all year,” an emotional Bill Freeman, North Tahoe’s head coach, said. “I told them they had to bring their A-game to have a chance to beat Truckee, and they did just that.
“They played with more heart and emotion than they had all year. It was an awesome performance by the entire team.
“I’m just sorry for them that we fell short. I feel especially bad for the seniors because they have worked so hard these last four years to turn our program around. They are all winners.”
Offensively for the Lakers, Jimenez had two hits while Freeman, sophomore Hilary Stoner, junior Shannon Gilmore, Lane, Shea Mesa and senior Kendra Haskill each had a hit.
For Truckee, Logan White went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Annie Duner was 3-for-4; Ali Tucker 2-for-2 with an RBI; Kelly Stephens 2-for-4 with an RBI; Zissimos 2-for-4 with an RBI; Katie Reiswig 2-for-3 with an RBI; and Chelsea Cordell 1-for-3.
The final score of the second contest is not indicative of just how competitive it was.
“It wasn’t that much of a blowout,” Brown said, explaining that the score went back and forth until Truckee opened things up with eight runs in the top of the seventh.
North Tahoe took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first before the Wolverines evened the score at 2-2 the following inning. After Truckee posted another pair of runs in the third, three more in the fourth and one in the fifth, the Lakers came back with two of their own in the fifth and three in the sixth to again tie the score at 8-8.
“After we tied it up in the sixth, I thought to myself, we can win this one!” coach Freeman said. “We just have to hold them in the seventh and then get the go-ahead run. But then the wheels came off the cart. We had one of those innings where nothing seemed to go our way.”
The result was a nine-run Truckee seventh on five hits, three walks and three costly Laker errors. North Tahoe could only muster one run in the bottom half of the seventh.
“I’m not sure what happened in that last inning. But I told the ladies after the game that they shouldn’t let one bad inning take away from an otherwise great day for them,” coach Freeman said. “The days of constantly getting blown out and 10-runned are gone, and it was because of the desire and heart they brought to the game that we were able to stay in both games with Truckee until the very end. I am so very proud of all these girls with what they have accomplished this year.”
Senior Kendra Haskill pitched all of Game 2 for the Lakers. She gave up 16 walks while striking out six and allowing 10 hits.
“It’s tough to recover when you give up that many free rides,” coach Freeman said.
Junior pitcher Morgan Womack started and went the distance for Truckee, giving up 10 hits and five walks while striking out six.
Offensively for North Tahoe, Stoner had two triples and senior Madi Walther one triple. Freeman, Jimenez, Mesa, and Gilmore each singled.
For Truckee, Cordell led the way with a 5-for-5 performance, driving in two runs and stealing six bases. Reiswig went 3-for-6 with two RBIs and five stolen bases; Jordan Raber 1-for-2 with an RBI; Tucker 1-for-1 with two RBIs; Stephens 1-for-6 with four stolen bases; Duner 1-for-3; and Cindy Brenes 1-for-2. White also had two RBIs.
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Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.