North Tahoe baseball | Lakers give large crowd reason to cheer at Aces Ballpark
RENO, Nev. and#8212; North Tahoe fans fulfilled their end of the bargain, to be sure. And their Lakers rewarded them accordingly.
In front of a small army of enthusiastic, blue-clad supporters a couple hundred strong on Monday, the North Tahoe baseball team defeated Virginia City 9-2 in a nonleague game held at Aces Ballpark and#8212; home of the Triple-A Reno Aces.
and#8220;It was the coolest thing ever,and#8221; North Tahoe junior shortstop Connor Altick said of the game. and#8220;I don’t even know how to explain it. It was legit.and#8221;
Junior starting pitcher Brendon Nelson, who fanned seven hitters in three innings en route to the win, agreed with his teammate when asked about the opportunity to play in the professional ballpark. He said he also appreciated the fan support, which included organized chants from members of the North Tahoe softball team and large custom-made signs hoisted throughout the crowd.
and#8220;It was amazing,and#8221; Nelson said. and#8220;It’s probably the best field we’ll ever play on. It made us want to play better, especially with the big crowd.and#8221;
The Lakers played well indeed. As the visiting team, they never trailed as they took advantage of Virginia City miscues, ran the bases aggressively and delivered timely hits to take an early lead and build on it.
and#8220;I think we’re getting closer. We’re playing way better than we have been,and#8221; said Nelson, whose Lakers improved to 8-13-1 overall. and#8220;We only made one error (Monday), so we’re definitely stepping it up.and#8221;
Altick gave North Tahoe a quick 1-0 lead when he walked to lead off the game, stole second, advanced to third and scored on an RBI by Brian Tidd. The Muckers answered with a run in the bottom of the first on a pair of hits.
The tie was short-lived, however, as Mychal Paschall drew a walk with two outs in the top of the second and scored on a series of throwing errors, giving North Tahoe a 2-1 lead. Oakley Keeler followed with a walk and Alex Tyler was hit by a pitch to set the table for Altick, who then smoked a fastball offering from Muckers starter Zach Shell deep into the left-center field gap to score two more. Back-to-back Virginia City errors on balls hit by Shane Christian and Tidd plated two additional runs, pushing North Tahoe’s lead to 6-1.
The Lakers didn’t let up from there. In the fourth, after another Virginia City run had narrowed the gap to four, Keeler started off the inning with a solid base hit off of Muckers reliever Ryan Conners. Christian then drove in Keeler three batters later with a single, and Tidd came through with another hit for his second RBI of the game, and an 8-2 Lakers lead.
North Tahoe added a final run in the seventh, as Tidd started things off with an infield hit and later scored on a throwing error.
and#8220;The kids played really hard today,and#8221; North Tahoe head coach Matt Carlson said after the game. and#8220;We’re limited (practicing) in the gym, so to get out here and see them succeed is great.and#8221;
Carlson also marveled at the collective performance of his pitching staff.
It started with Nelson, who in three innings allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out seven, including the final four batters he faced. Freshman Wildon DesLauriers came on for the fourth and fifth innings, recording four strikeouts while giving up a hit and two walks. Paschall pitched a perfect sixth and Colin Spencer followed with a perfect seventh to close out the game.
and#8220;Out pitchers were on today,and#8221; Carlson said. and#8220;Nelson was money, and Wildon, a freshman, came in and pitched really well. Same thing with Mychal; he came in and threw well. And Colin, as usual, was lights out.and#8221;
Tidd finished with two hits and two RBI, while Altick was 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI, Christian was 1 for 4 with an RBI, and Keeler was 1 for 2 with a couple of runs scored.
Aces Ballpark has hosted several high school games the past two seasons. In exchange for playing in the ballpark and#8212; considered one of the premier parks in Minor League Baseball and#8212; the high school teams are required to sell 500 Reno Aces tickets, at $8 each. Anyone interested in purchasing an Aces ticket to help the team meet its goal may contact Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lakers split a Mount Rose League doubleheader against Incline on Saturday, winning the first game 9-8 and losing the second game 16-1.
North Tahoe ends the regular season with a tough three-game Mount Rose League series against Whittell, the defending 2A champs. The series starts with a game Wednesday at Governor’s Field in Carson City. It ends with a doubleheader Saturday at Lampe Park in Gardnerville.
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