Ranch Hands sweep Reno Championship
Truckee’s Ranch Hands coed softball team played 10 undefeated games this season, advancing them to win the Reno City Championship.
The Ranch Hands started the playoffs against the top two teams from four leagues. The playoffs were single elimination, so the team had to win each game or face elimination.
Team members said the final game against the Screamin Beavers was the best match-up all season, saying they had been warned in advance that they would not be able to beat them.
Several players had outstanding games – Mike Baker, the spark plug shortstop, had a fantastic on-base average as well as turned numerous double plays for key outs.
Paige Gerard, Carrie Hoyt, Matt Ruge, Kelly Bennett and Ken Isola all had key roles in the defense, which helped cinch up each game.
Mitch Brown, the pitcher in the final two games, loaded the bases in the second playoff game, with one out and threw just the right pitch to have a great double play turned which sparked the team to the 23-0 game.
The City of Reno awarded the Ranch Hands with tee shirts for the division win and a trophy for the championship.
This team is readying themselves for the third year at the NSA World Series being held this year in St. George, Utah. The short drive to Reno gives the team the chance to sharpen its skills on large fields with varied caliber of opponents each week.
The Ranch Hands also have a strong women’s team which plays in Truckee, a coed team which plays in Incline and one which plays in Tahoe City.
The team started four years ago in the “rubber ball” league in Truckee with Mitch Brown and Chris Lorang from the B team being the only original members. The team won the championship that year.
Two years ago, several of the current team members were on the coed team which won the NSA World Series in Reno that year. Those members are Mitch Brown, Mike Baker, Matt Ruge, Laura and Jon Traeger, Hoyt and Mitzi Hodges. The team is sponsored by Hodges, Donner Ski Shop, located at Donner Ski Ranch, which is were the team name came from. Other local business helping the team to the World Series every year include Stones Tire, Steve Grimm, Bank of America, Pete and Peters and Pizza Junction.
The Ranch Hands coed team played “Deep Freeze” softball in Sparks, from the beginning of January to the first week of March, winning all but two of the games in a mens’ league and came in second place, winning sweatshirts and a trophy.
Matt Valenzuela, Steve Hollinger, Ken Isola, Colleen Rule, Steve Tripp, Brent Dana, Tracey Kincheloe, Hodges, Mitch Brown, Heather Clark, Keith Prawalksy and Carrie Hoyt braved the elements, and found that winter softball in Sparks is great fun, not to mention gets you ready for the upcoming season of ball here in Truckee.
Full championship team members include:
Kelly Bennett, first base; Mitch Brown, pitcher, right center and coach; Mike Barker, shortstop; Paige Gerrard, right center, 2nd, 3rd base; Carrie Hoyt, 2nd base; Mitzi Hodges, catcher; Ken Isola, right field, shortstop; Jon Traeger, pitcher; Laura Traeger, left center, right center field; Matt Valenzuela, right field, left center field, shortstop; Matt Ruge, left field; Julie Thew, right field, center field; Heather Clark, 3rd base.
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