North Tahoe baseball: Young Lakers finding their groove
North Tahoe baseball coach Chauncey Battaglia believes wholeheartedly in the mettle of his young Laker squad. The challenge for the second-year skipper is getting his players to share that same belief.
and#8220;That’s the hardest thing,and#8221; Battaglia said. and#8220;and#8230; The problem for us is playing a complete game. We’ll make some errors, and then we’ll get down on ourselves.and#8221;
Despite some rocky times in the early going, including four losses to start the season, Battaglia is far from discouraged. In fact, the coach is highly encouraged by what he’s seen from his youthful squad, which breaks down to three freshman and five sophomores, and only three juniors and three seniors.
and#8220;We’re coming together pretty good,and#8221; said Battaglia, whose Lakers defeated Silver Stage 7-6 last weekend to break into the win column. and#8220;It was kind of touch and go at the beginning of the season. We lost three seniors (from last year), so we’re a young team. We’re basically a JV team playing varsity baseball. But they’re coming together. Look out for them in a couple of years.and#8221;
The coach is particularly impressed with North Tahoe’s pitching, which is led by the one-two punch of starters Brendon Arnold, a sophomore, and Colin Spencer, a freshman.
and#8220;Our team strength is pitching, for sure,and#8221; Battaglia said, adding that both starting pitchers have shown an ability to locate their fastballs well. and#8220;I feel just as comfortable with either of them on the mound.and#8221;
Spencer, whom his coach described as and#8220;a pitcher, not a thrower,and#8221; has recorded 23 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched, while Arnold has 11 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. Brian Tidd, Connor Altick, Joe Hallman and Mychal Paschall also can pitch when Arnold and Spencer are not available.
Altick, a sophomore who plays catcher and middle infield, leads off the batting order. Spencer hits second and is followed by Tidd, a sure-handed shortstop, batting third and freshman center fielder Baird Bishop batting cleanup. Arnold has been batting out of the fifth slot, followed by Hallman, Oakley Keeler, Davidson Harley and Conner Lewis.
Tidd leads the team with a .375 average and a .500 slugging percentage, while Spencer has a team-high three RBI.
and#8220;Physically, we have it,and#8221; Battaglia said. and#8220;I tell them (Laker players) they don’t know how good of a team they really are. When they realize it, that will be a key moment.and#8221;