Tahoe rivals square off at Greater Nevada Field | SierraSun.com

Tahoe rivals square off at Greater Nevada Field

Senior Koby Mattson delivers a pitch to the plate during North Tahoe and Incline’s game at Greater Nevada Field on Wednesday, April 17.
Justin Scacco / jscacco@sierrasun.com

RENO — Baseball players from North Tahoe and Incline had the opportunity to play under the bright lights at Greater Nevada Field last Wednesday, squaring off for their annual matchup at the home of the Reno Aces.

Coaches on both sides rotated through their lineups and bullpens, giving each player a chance to get on the field for the game, which the Highlanders won 14-2.

“This game was all about the experience, getting to play in the stadium,” said North Tahoe head coach Jesse Brown. “These guys worked hard to be here and fundraised to be here, so it’s worth the experience. We paid a lot of money to be here, so that’s what this is about, it’s about the experience.”

The teams each raised $2,100 in order to play the game at Greater Nevada Field.

“A lot of these kids never get to play at all,” said Incline coach Billy Knight. “Tonight they get to get out there and do it. It’s wonderful. I love it. I used a different pitcher every inning. I had one boy, Garen Cross, this was the first time he’s pitched in his life … we just rotated around and had fun. It’s a great thing for everybody.”

Incline jumped out to an early two-run advantage off an error and a sacrifice fly by junior Jake Harrell, who led all batters during the game with three RBIs.

North Tahoe freshman Luke Giacobazzi led off the top of the second with a double, and would score on a ground ball. Incline added another run in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of another error to take a 3-1 lead. The Highlanders then took full control of the game in the third inning, scoring five more runs.

The Lakers pushed their final run of the evening around in the top of the fifth inning when senior Xander Kriston singled to score senior Koby Mattson. Incline responded with two runs in the fifth inning.

The highlight of the game came an inning later when Incline junior Tyler Knight flared a one-handed single into the outfield. Knight, a right-handed batter, had Tommy John Surgery on his right arm last January, and was able to choke up on the bat and make contact using solely his front arm. Aside from a pair of bunts, the at-bat was Knight’s first hit of the season. Incline went on to score four runs in the inning, before retiring the side in the top of the seventh to take the win.

The day before taking the field at Greater Nevada Field, the Highlanders had their 11-game winning streak snapped by Yerington.

“We haven’t been challenged since opening day and yesterday was the first day we faced adversity and we fell on our face,” said coach Knight. “We didn’t handle it. We became a team I don’t want to be. We have to grow from that … I think they got the message. I think we’re refocused.”

The loss to Incline snapped North Tahoe’s five-game winning streak.

“I wish we would’ve done a little bit better,” said Brown. “We just didn’t hit and we made some mistakes in the field we don’t normally make, and they capitalized. They executed and we didn’t. That’s just part of the deal.”

North Tahoe (10-6, 6-4 Northern League) will next face Silver Stage (5-14, 2-12 Northern League) on Saturday.

“For us, we all know what we need to be doing. We know we need to execute on the field to be successful,” said Brown. “And it’s just executing that, going out there and actually doing what we know we need to do.”

Incline (13-2, 12-2 Northern League) will face West Wendover (10-3, 9-2 Northern League) on Friday.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com.