North Tahoe Babe Ruth team wins state championship
Small ball wasn’t part of the North Tahoe system during the preps season, but it played big in the Babe Ruth state championship on July 17.
With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning and men on second and third, North Tahoe Twins clean-up batter Daniel Galvin and coach Bob Habeger agreed it was time for a squeeze play. Galvin bunted the first pitch toward first base, sending Jimmy Williams home from third for the game-winning run.
“Dan was thinking the same thing I was,” Habeger said. “He wanted to do it on the first hit. They weren’t expecting it, and Jimmy Williams had a great lead on third.”
The extra-inning score lifted the Twins past the Winemucca Badgers and sends them to the Under-19 Senior Babe Ruth regional playoffs in Watsonville July 30 – August 4.
“We always have [winning the state championship] as a goal but to actually go out there and do it,” Habeger said. “That’s an accomplishment these kids should be proud of.”
Pitching and defense played a pivotal role in making it happen. North Tahoe graduate Brandon Gregory threw a complete game against the Badgers. With the help of his defense, which yielded no errors, he limited Winemucca to five hits and one run.
“He just pitched a heck of a game,” Habeger said. “They put the bat on the ball, but the kids just made the plays.”
The Twins had beaten the Badgers 13-3 earlier in the tournament, but Winemucca pitcher Joe Robinson turned their championship meeting into a defensive duel. He gave up only six hits and kept the Twins off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, when Dylan Byrne singled Nik Smith to the plate to tie the score at 1-1.
North Tahoe finished its season 12-2 in Babe Ruth play and 22-2 overall. One of their two losses was a forfeit, and the team estimated that 80 percent of its wins were 10-run victories.
“That was our talent,” outfielder Ryan Gilmore said. “The other teams had good games between each other, but we just dominated.”
As the Nevada representative, North Tahoe will face Watsonville in the first round of the Western regional playoffs. The teams will play at 8 p.m. on July 30 in Watsonville.
“This is probably one of the better teams we’ve taken to the regionals,” Habeger said. “I think we can get a win or two down there, we’ve got some talent and can play with anybody.”
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