Lakers softball jumps into league play
The North Tahoe High softball team got off to a busy start to its season, playing nine games in an eight-day span.
The Lakers began by winning all four games in the Yerington Tournament on March 9-10. Behind strong pitching performances from seniors Katie Freeman and Kendra Haskill, North Tahoe defeated Tonopah 11-2, Mammoth 9-0, Whittell 11-4 and Smith Valley 10-6.
Highlights from the games included Haskill’s seven strikeouts against Mammoth, some great defensive plays by Angela Jimenez, Madi Walther, Katie Freeman, Shea Mesa, Christina Lane and Hilary Stoner and two home runs, one by Katie Freeman and one by Angela Jimenez.
The only dark cloud appeared when third-year varsity veteran Julianna Mills suffered a season-ending injury, a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), in the first game of the tournament.
“Very sad,” said a disappointed head coach Bill Freeman. “Juli has been working for this season since her freahman year. This was to be her year to really shine. She wants to play college ball, and she still can, but this injury is a great disappointment and frustration to both her and this team. We will miss her play and her spirit greatly.”
On March 13 the Lakers played their first league doubleheader at Sparks. Haskill pitched the first game and, with the help of some strong defensive plays, held the Railroaders to just five runs. North Tahoe’s bats never quite got on track, however, as the Lakers scored just two runs in the 5-2 loss.
Katie Freeman had a strong outing at pitcher in the second game, but some key errors allowed the Railroaders to score when they shouldn’t have. The Lakers managed just one run in an 11-1 loss.
“Even though Sparks is twice our size, we played them very closely, especially in the first game,” coach Freeman said. “A couple more hits would’ve put us in the driver’s seat.”
The Lakers dropped a non-league contest 8-0 at Loyalton, Calif., on March 15.
North Tahoe’s bats again were cold, with the one bright spot being Angela Jimenez, who had three of the Lakers’ five hits in the game. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, scored their eight runs on just one hit, while drawing eight walks and four hit-batsmen. The Lakers also helped the Grizzlies’ cause by committing two untimely errors.
The Lakers ran into a buzz saw by the name of Fernley this past Saturday.
The Vaqueros had some awesome pitching, fielding and hitting, and it showed, said coach Freeman. Despite a valient pitching effort by Katie Freeman in the first game, the Vaqueros amased 17 hits and 17 runs en route to a 17-0 win.
In the twilight game the proverbial wheels came off the cart for the Lakers, as the Vaqueros got to pitcher Kendra Haskill for 33 runs on 23 hits for a 33-1 win.
“Well, they were state runners-up last year for 3A softball, and it is easy to see why they did so well,” coach Freeman said. “You combine a large school with lots of talented athletes and girls who play year-round, and this is the result. …
“This was, however, a valuable experience for us. We know what level of competition we need to play at if we are to compete against these big schools.”
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Students from North Tahoe and Truckee recently made the trip to Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley to compete in the annual Kays Ostrom Invitational.