North Tahoe baseball | Lakers storm back from four-run deficit to rout Highlanders | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe baseball | Lakers storm back from four-run deficit to rout Highlanders

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunColin Spencer struck out 13 in a complete-game win against Incline on Wednesday.
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INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. and#8212; The Lakers are starting to believe.

After enduring its share of struggles the past several seasons, the North Tahoe baseball team continued its successful 2012 campaign by charging back from a four-run deficit to defeat Incline by the 10-run mercy rule, 14-4, in a Mount Rose League clash at Incline Middle School on Wednesday.

and#8220;Our confidence is really good. We have really good energy this year,and#8221; said senior shortstop Connor Altick, who contributed a two-run blast in the fifth inning as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate. and#8220;Winning a lot of games is definitely helping us out. We’re not dropping our heads anymore. We have a lot of good leaders on the team and a good coach, so we’re excited. We’re having a good year.and#8221;

The Lakers are now 13-5 overall and 3-4 in league, having split their league series against 3A opponents South Tahoe and Sparks. They face only 2A foes down the stretch, with two more games against Incline this weekend and a three-game series against Whittell on April 25 and 28.

Incline, meanwhile, fell to 8-13 overall and 3-7 in league, with all three league wins coming against Whittell last week. North Tahoe also defeated Incline in the season-opening Yerington Tournament, 7-2, back on March 9.

and#8220;It feels really good to beat Incline,and#8221; Altick said. and#8220;With all the talk that they talk, and all the years past when we didn’t beat them, this win definitely feels good.and#8221;

The Lakers appeared to be in for a long day in the first inning.

Incline and#8212;-the and#8220;awayand#8221; team despite the hometown venue and#8212; jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the top of the first off of North Tahoe starter Colin Spencer. Junior cleanup hitter Chip Bouchard inflicted most of the damage, as he lifted a three-run home run over the shallow fence in center field.

The Highlanders managed little offense the rest of the way. They can blame Spencer, who settled in to fan 13 hitters while not allowing a hit the remainder of the contest. He finished with three walks and threw 118 pitches in a six-inning complete game.

and#8220;We had kind of a rough first inning, but then Colin settled down and threw strikes and was able to locate from then on,and#8221; said first-year North Tahoe head coach Matt Drury.

While Spencer went to work on the mound, mixing in specialty pitches to complement the zip of his fastball, the Lakers’ offense provided more than enough support.

North Tahoe knotted the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the second off of Incline starter Cam Powell, using a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Altick in the middle of the rally.

The Lakers then added four more in the fourth, all with two outs, to take over the lead. Wildon DesLauriers ripped a solid RBI single and Spencer drew a walk, which set up Brendon Arnold with runners on the corners and two outs. The senior pitcher/catcher fouled off several pitches with two strikes before connecting for a towering shot over the center-field fence. Just like that, North Tahoe had doubled up the lead, 8-4, with its eighth unanswered run.

But the Lakers were not done.

They tacked on two more runs the next inning with Altick’s blast, which was the most legitimate shot of the day, landing high on the bank between the baseball and Little League fields.

and#8220;It was an 0-2 count, low fastball, and I just crushed it,and#8221; said Altick, who hit the homer off of senior reliever Kyle Clouthier, whom he knows well from youth baseball. and#8220;I played with him (Clouthier) for years, and I just knew he was going to give me a good one and#8212; and he gave me a good one.and#8221;

Still, the Lakers were not done.

They ended the game in the bottom of the sixth with another four-run outburst. Baird Bishop ignited the final rally when he hit a controversial double to deep center field. Incline center fielder Patrick Murray jumped and caught the ball after a bobble, but the umpires ruled that the ball hit the fence before Murray touched it, and Bouchard was safe at second.

Altick was hit by a pitch after the double, Mitchell Myers and Conner Lewis followed with run-scoring hits, and Spencer pushed the final margin to 10 with an RBI Texas leaguer into shallow left-center.

and#8220;It was a good win,and#8221; Drury said. and#8220;I’m real proud of the way they played today. They stuck with it and never got down after we fell behind.and#8221;

Incline head coach Jeff Clouthier, who wasn’t thrilled about the way his team played, said the Highlanders will need to show more patience at the plate and generally pick up its game when the teams meet again Saturday.

and#8220;We just didn’t produce when we needed to,and#8221; Clouthier said. and#8220;The second inning we had runners on second and third with nobody out, and we couldn’t get them in. So we lost some momentum there, and we just didn’t have that killer instinct to take care of that four-run lead.and#8221;

The Lakers hammered out 14 hits in the game. Altick and DesLauriers finished with two hits and two RBIs apiece, while Myers had three hits and an RBI, and Tyler had two hits and an RBI. Shane Christian contributed a double and two RBIs, and Bishop, Lewis and Spencer each had one hit.