Incline at North Tahoe baseball: Lakers defeat rival Highlanders (video) | SierraSun.com

Incline at North Tahoe baseball: Lakers defeat rival Highlanders (video)

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com
North Tahoe senior second baseman Drew Austin awaits a throw on a steal attempt during Wednesday's rival game against Incline. North Tahoe won 4-1.
Sylas Wright / Sierra Sun |

TAHOE VISTA, Calif. — In a battle of youth, the host Lakers played seven innings of fundamentally sound baseball to earn a 4-1 win over rival Incline in the teams’ first meeting Wednesday.

North Tahoe freshman Koby Mattson started on the mound and was sharp through six innings. He limited the Highlanders to the one run on four hits and no walks while striking out nine.

Drew Austin, the only senior on North Tahoe’s roster, pitched a perfect seventh inning to close out the victory.

Incline senior starter Bryan Banuelos gave his team a chance with a solid outing of his own, giving up seven hits and no walks while recording five strikeouts. But the Highlanders had several promising rallies fizzle as the result of baserunning mistakes and untimely strikeouts.

The game remained tight early before the Lakers extended a one-run lead to the final margin with a two-run fourth.

Freshman shortstop Joseph Lanza led off the inning with a double and was promptly driven in with a single off the bat of sophomore catcher Graham Payne. An Incline error and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for freshman third baseman Xander Kriston, who picked up an RBI the hard way when he was hit by a pitch.

Banuelos escaped further damage by coaxing a strikeout and initiating a home-to-first double play.

The Lakers opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Austin reached on an error and was driven in on a single by Lanza.

Incline knotted the score a half inning later, as junior outfielder Fidel Rodriguez doubled, advanced third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Trent Green and scored on a misplayed fly ball to center.

North Tahoe regained the lead with another run in the second. Junior left fielder Trent Lingruen led off the inning with a bunt for a hit and moved to third on a base hit by freshman outfielder Thomas Mercogliano. Lingruen then scurried home when Mercogliano was thrown out by Incline catcher Tristan Summers on a steal attempt.

Lanza was awarded Player of the Game for the Lakers after finishing 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. Lingruen, Mercogliano, Payne and Austin also contributed a hit apiece.

For Incline, freshman shortstop Dalton Fry led the offense with a 2-for-2 performance, while Rodriguez and Summers each had one hit.

The Lakers improved to 2-5 in the Northern Division III as the Highlanders fell to 0-4. The teams will clash again in a doubleheader Saturday in Carson City.