North Tahoe baseball: Lakers’ run ends in regional tournament
With 12 freshmen on its 16-man roster, the young North Tahoe baseball team was not expected to make a whole lot of noise this season.
The Lakers exceeded those expectations by playing into the Northern Division III regional championships in Lovelock, where they dropped both playoff matchups but gained valuable experience for promising seasons to come.
North Tahoe, which entered as the No. 4 seed, faced an uphill battle with its first-round opponent on Friday — undefeated Yerington. The Lions rolled to an 11-0 win behind a combined three-hit shutout by George Clark and Daniel Sciarani.
The next day, the Lakers were eliminated from the tournament with a 15-7 loss to third-seeded Battle Mountain.
Yerington went on to defeat second-seeded Pershing County 14-4 in the regional semifinal and again 6-2 in the regional championship to improve to 21-0 against the Northern Division III.
In the Lakers’ opener, Yerington set the tone with a six-run first inning and added five runs in the third to put the game out of reach. North Tahoe managed two hits in three innings against Clark, and one hit in two innings against Sciarani as the game ended after five on the 10-run rule.
Freshmen Joseph Lanza and Koby Mattson and junior Trent Lingruen finished with a hit apiece, while North Tahoe’s lone senior, Drew Austin, pitched all four innings and finished with 12 strikeouts.
North Tahoe challenged Battle Mountain early, carrying a 2-1 lead into the second inning and extending the margin to 4-1 in the second. But the Longhorns heated up offensively in the fourth, when they rallied for nine runs. They added four more in the fourth and one in the sixth to pull away.
The Lakers swung the bats well in the contest, with seven players combining for 14 hits.
Sophomore Graham Payne was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, Lanza was 3-for-5 with a triple and an RBI, and Mattson was 3-for-4 with a double. Thomas Mercogliano amd Liam Bickett-Walsh both had two hits, and Aidan Fenton and Lingruen each had one hit. North Tahoe used four different pitchers — Lanza, Mattson, Payne and Lingruen.
North Tahoe posted a final record of 11-14 overall.
The Division III state championships — with Yerington and Pershing County from the North and Lincoln County and The Meadows from the South — will be contest at Wooster High School in Reno this Thursday through Saturday, May 19-21.