North Tahoe softball on the upswing
For two years now I’ve covered North Tahoe High School sports. I’ve watched the good, the bad and sometimes even the ugly of our beloved Lakers.
One of the most heart-wrenching stories over those years has been Laker softball.
It has just been one of those teams that does not win games.
The tragic part of the whole equation is timing and weather. The Lady Lakers oftentimes only get to play one true home game a season. Because of lingering spring snowpack, the Lakers often don’t play at North Tahoe Regional Park until the last game of the season, if at all.
Not playing at home is perhaps the biggest factor in their success.
While North Tahoe has struggled to win hardly any league games over the last few years, this season seems to be winding up on a positive note.
After starting the season with no league victories, North Tahoe has had quite the homecoming.
In its first few performances on its home field in Tahoe Vista, the Lakers have dominated.
In fact, North Tahoe is currently undefeated on its home field.
Maybe it’s the comfort of playing in its own territory, maybe it’s the experience from a core of older veteran players, but for whatever reason, it’s nice to see one of North Tahoe’s most unwaveringly spirited teams finally kill it.
Last week I watched the girls destroy Coleville by 10 runs in less than five innings.
Later in the week I saw them continue their 10-run destruction through a league doubleheader with Incline.
It was a distinct pleasure to watch the same team I’ve become accustomed to watching get blown out actually dominate games.
It’s not as if North Tahoe has had a stellar season, or that they’re leading the league, but as head coach Bill Freeman pointed out last week, it’s just a pleasure to see some legitimately talented athletes realize that talent.
“The girls are starting to realize they can play softball,” Freeman said between games in Tahoe Vista last Saturday.
For seniors like Kendra Haskill, Katie Freeman, Angela Jimenez, Madi Walther and even the injured Julianna Mills ” all who have put in four years on a struggling team ” it must be refreshing to taste the sweet nectar of success.
After struggling to win a game for multiple seasons, North Tahoe is lucky to still have any seniors on its team, and the fact that they’re still playing speaks volumes about their character.
The Lakers are also lucky to have their head coach, Bill Freeman, firmly at the helm for the last few years. Freeman’s undying positive attitude in the dugout and on the third base line has been a rock solid anchor for North Tahoe, through rough times and now into the good ones.
This is Freeman’s last season as coach; next year the team will be in the hands of current assistant Richard Mesa.
And just as the Laker seniors should be proud of their contribution to the program, coach Freeman can look back and smile at having turned around a program that he can leave on a positive note.
Whether or not North Tahoe can keep its home-field record clean through the close of the season this Saturday against arch rival Truckee, the Lakers, especially those four seniors, should be proud of the program they have helped to improve.
Alex Close is a sportswriter for the Sierra Sun and the assistant editor of the Tahoe World. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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