Sloppy play leads to failed test for Wolverines baseball
Heading into last week’s showdown with first place and undefeated Bishop Manogue, Truckee Wolverines’ Head Baseball Coach Jason Estabrook said he thought the game was more than just a match against the NIAA 3A’s best.
“It is going to be a test of how far we have come since last year,” he said.
It would also be a gauge for how far the Wolverines have come this season since losing to the Miners 12-2 last month.
But after being blitzed 12-1 by a deep Miner squad that lived up to its reputation for capitalizing on other teams errors, Estabrook said the game wasn’t an accurate representation of his Wolverines because of their uncharacteristically sloppy play.
“It was a very disappointing game, but I told them to think about it and use it as fuel down the stretch,” Estabrook said of his post-game speech to his team. “It was disappointing because we should be competing against teams like Manogue E But I told them (this game) wasn’t a good indication of where you are and what you’re doing this year.”
The Miners must also have felt that the game was a chance to make a statement, which they did with six runs in the first inning off Wolverine starter T.J. Dwyer.
“We committed four errors for two unearned runs in the first,” Estabrook said.
“You can’t do that against Manogue, you can’t. If you give up errors, they will capitalize.”
The Miners added a run in the third and two more in the fourth to make it 9-0 before Truckee got their lone run in the bottom of the inning.
Manogue scored three more in the top of the fifth, and when the Wolverines failed to score in the bottom of the inning, the game was called.
For evidence of the Miners’ depth, look no further than the mound where Manogue’s third starter, Scott Smilanick, shut the Wolverines down.
Smilanick tossed a four-hitter, striking out 10 while walking only two in five innings.
But Estabrook didn’t think Smilanick was unhittable.
“He wasn’t over powering, but he hit his spots, and he has a good breaking ball,” he said matter-of-factly.
Originally, the contest was scheduled to be played in Truckee, but last week’s storms moved it down to the Governor’s Bowl in Reno.
Dwyer took the loss, striking out three while giving up four walks and 13 hits.
Senior shortstop Dave Larson had two of the Wolverines’ four hits in the game.
Despite the lopsided score, Estabrook wasn’t ready to concede anything to the Miners.
“Truckee is not the kind of team that is going to back down to anyone. And there is a very good chance we will see them again (in the NIAA 3A Northern Zone Playoffs).
The key to beating the Miners, Estabrook said, is keeping it close.
“They aren’t used to playing tight games,” he said.
Wolverines vs Rams
A Saturday doubleheader against the winless Rite of Passage Rams was just what the baseball doctors ordered for the staggered Wolverines.
Truckee kept the Rams winless by scores of 10-0 and 13-3.
More impressive, however, was the Wolverines’ pitching duo of Murphy and Dwyer, who nearly kept the Rams hitless, giving up only one hit in the twin bill.
ROP’s three runs in the second game were compliments of walks and errors by the Wolverines.
In the first game, the Wolverines broke open a 1-0 game with four runs in the third. They added five more over the fourth and fifth innings before the game was called because of the 10-run rule.
Murphy one-hit the Rams while striking out six and walking one.
Jacob Bohart, Kevin Schlesinger, Larson and Murphy all went 2-for-3 at the plate.
In game two, Dwyer no-hit the Rams, fanning 13 and walking five.
Brad Sausser was 4-for-4 and Nick Smith was 3-for-5.
This weekend the Wolverines will host what will likely be their most important doubleheader of the year, as the second-place Lowry Buckeroos come to town.
“If we play with the mindset we had against Fernley, we should have success,” Estabrook predicted.
The Wolverines beat Gridley High School on Monday night, 11-10.
Jacob Bohart got the Wolverines to the fifth inning in a 10-10 tie, before Estabrook brought in Murphy to finish the game on the mound.
“Murphy shut down, no hit ’em,” Estabrook said of Murphy’s performance over the final three innings.
The Wolverines scored on an error in the top of the sixth for the winning margin.
In a non-league game last Thursday, Truckee lost to Reed High School in Reno 14-3.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.