North Tahoe baseball preview | Young Lakers show skill, promise for future |

North Tahoe baseball preview | Young Lakers show skill, promise for future

Sylas Wright / Sierra SunNorth Tahoe sophomore pitcher Colin Spencer is one of the Lakers' two aces, along with Brendon Nelson.

The youth movement is alive and well within the North Tahoe baseball program.

Without a junior varsity club, the Lakers’ varsity team is stacked with a blend of young talent mixed with established veterans. Toss in a brand-new head coach, and the North Tahoe squad is starting its 2011 campaign with a fresh slate and optimistic outlook.

and#8220;We’re really young, but we’re actually looking really good for how young we are,and#8221; said first-year head coach Matt Carlson, a former head JV coach at Truckee. and#8220;We’re coming together as a team. The kids are definitely working hard in the gym. You can tell they care a lot about the sport and want to do well.and#8221;

Top returners for the Lakers include senior shortstop/pitcher Brian Tidd, who’s arguably the team’s best hitter, as well as junior pitcher/catcher Brendon Nelson, junior infielder/pitcher Connor Altick, junior infielder/pitcher Mychal Paschall and sophomore pitcher/catcher Colin Spencer. Sophomore infielder/outfielder Baird Bishop also has pop in his bat, while Spencer and Nelson are the Lakers’ go-to starting pitchers.

and#8220;I think we look pretty good, definitely a lot better than at the beginning of the season, and a lot better than last year,and#8221; said Nelson, who, like Spencer, boasts size and a good fastball.

Both Nelson and Spencer agreed that while the Lakers are still ironing out their kinks on the field and#8212; as theirs remains buried under several feet of snow and#8212; the team shows promise for the future with the addition of four talented freshmen. They include sure-handed third baseman Wildon DesLauriers, Ben Chandler, Shane Christian and Garrett McDermott.

and#8220;The young guys are stepping up, for sure,and#8221; Spencer said. and#8220;Three of our starters are freshmen, and they’re some of our best players. So next year we should make a run for it.and#8221;

The Lakers hope to make a postseason run this year, too. But they’ll have to knock off some larger schools along the way in the new 2A-3A-mixed Mount Rose League, which is made up of all the lake schools, including 3A Truckee and South Tahoe, plus 3A Sparks.

and#8220;We definitely can,and#8221; Nelson said of advancing to the Northern 2A regional tournament. and#8220;We just gotta pull through and beat a couple of the 3A teams. But we should be able to go pretty far in the postseason if we can keep getting better.and#8221;

So far North Tahoe is off to a 1-3-1 start overall, and 0-2 in the Mount Rose League after dropping both games of a doubleheader against Truckee on Tuesday. Those games, scheduled to be played at Truckee, were instead contested at Governor’s Bowl in Reno. In fact, the Lakers and Wolverines, as well as Incline, Whittell and South Tahoe, may not see a true home game this season with all the snow on their fields.

Nevertheless, the Lakers are confident they can fine-tune their game in time to qualify for the regional tournament.

and#8220;We definitely want to make the postseason and just play hard,and#8221; Carlson said. and#8220;We need to keep the errors down and have quality at-bats.and#8221;

Other players on the roster include senior Alex Tyler, juniors Oakley Keeler, Connor Lewis and Erik Robels, and sophomore Lucas Likes.

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