North Tahoe baseball | Lakers looking to hit stride |

North Tahoe baseball | Lakers looking to hit stride

North Tahoe senior pitcher Miles Johansen eyes a runner at first during Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader.
Sylas Wright / Sierra Sun |

The 2015 season is still young, but it’s already been a grind for the North Tahoe baseball team.

The Lakers opened the year without enough players to field a complete team, causing them to forfeit their opening Northern Division III series against Pershing County. They followed with back-to-back series against two of the league’s top teams — Battle Mountain and Incline — which resulted in a couple of three-game sweeps.

“It’s a tough season for us,” said first-year head coach Mike Tidd, who was an assistant on last year’s playoff team, which graduated six seniors.

Despite the tough start, the Lakers took away some positives from their games against the rival Highlanders. Senior first baseman Miles Johansen raked the ball the entire series and is hitting an even .500 through 12 games, while a number of young or inexperienced players showed off their potential.

“Miles is hitting the ball great,” Tidd said of his cleanup hitter, who also pitches. “He’s the story right now. He might be the best first baseman in the league.”

Sophomore shortstop and pitcher Trent Lingruen leads off the Lakers’ batting order and is followed by senior center fielder and catcher Lucas Earley, who has an injured knee and has seen limited action. Senior Mitchell Myers bats third and is the Lakers’ No. 1 starting pitcher.

“Mitchell is a natural outfielder, but he can play any position on the field. He’s the best all-around athlete on the team,” said Tidd, adding the Myers is also a team leader and “phenomenal” catcher.

Freshman pitcher and third baseman Graham Payne, hitting in the fifth slot (and sometimes second), gives the Lakers reason to be excited about the future, as do infielders Owen Davis, a sophomore, and Drew Austin, a junior.

Johansen follows Myers in the starting pitching rotation, while Lingruen is third and is followed by Earley, Payne and Austin.

The Lakers (0-9, 0-10-2) will look to earn their first league win when they travel to Yerington for a doubleheader Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. North Tahoe hosts the third game of the series on April 13 at 4 p.m.

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