North Tahoe softball: Lakers split doubleheader with Incline
When the first game in Saturday’s doubleheader between North Tahoe and Incline ended in a 10-run mercy rule victory for the Lakers, it was hard to anticipate what happened in the second game: an 11-1 mercy-rule win for the Highlanders.
North Tahoe’s bats got going early and often in the first game, as the Lakers racked up 18 runs in the five innings played. Despite an early 4-0 deficit, North Tahoe coach Richard Mesa was confident his team could play catch-up.
“Early on, we were watching good pitches go by,” said Mesa, whose team is now 5-5 in the Northern 2A and 11-8-1 overall. “I knew once we woke up a bit, we could really hit the ball.”
Senior Christina Lane picked up the win for the Lakers, while sophomore Anisha Wilson started on the mound for Incline, which is 3-5 in league and 11-8 overall.
Wilson and the Highlander defense struggled mightily in two-out situations. Holding on to a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the third, Wilson found herself in a jam: though she had two outs, the bases were loaded.
Lakers sophomore Tara Turpin drilled a shot into the left-field alley, scoring all three runners on a triple. The Lakers added four more runs in the inning with timely hitting and several defensive errors.
In the third and fourth innings alone, Incline surrendered 10 two-out runs. Lane, however, seemed to put the clamps on whenever she was in a tough spot and was able to prevent any extended scoring runs.
“We battled really well with the two outs, and Christina shot them down well with two outs,” Mesa said.
Turpin was the big bat of the game, finishing with three hits and five RBI.
“I’m not sure why,” Turpin said, “but I just felt good today. I slept in and had a good breakfast. They were throwing me strikes, and I knew I could hit them.”
In the second game, the Highlanders cleaned up their defensive play and got a steady pitching performance from sophomore Michaela Wright.
“Michaela pitched very well, and we played outstanding defense,” Incline coach Del Youngblood said.
Asked what he thought was the difference between the games, Youngblood said it was a matter of confidence and making routine plays.
“In between games, we told them that there’s really nothing more us coaches can do, because it was just a matter of making plays,” Youngblood said. “We told them that we can’t explain why we aren’t holding on to the ball and making wild throws, and that it was just up to them.”
Apparently, they got the message, as they marched to an 11-1 mercy-rule win in the fifth inning.
“We were just getting into our heads too much and getting ahead of ourselves,” senior shortstop Caitlyn Brown said. “We just have to play base-by-base softball and settle down.”
Brown, along with sophomore Tori McCunn and junior Lauren Wilson, had big days at the plate, with multi-hit performances in both games. Brown was a combined 8-8 on the day, and both she and McCunn hit home runs.
Game 1 hitting ” Hilary Stoner 1-3, 3B, 2 RBI; Mealani Mesa 2-2, 2 RBI; Tara Turpin 2-4, 2B, 3B, 5 RBI; Christina Lane 1-2, RBI; Shannon Stack 1-3, RBI; Heidi Jimenez 2-3, 2 2B, RBI; Shelby Adams 1-2, RBI; Shea Mesa 1-1, 3 RBI.
Game 2 hitting ” Mealani Mesa 1-2, RBI; Samantha Jeffers 1-2.