Tahoe Twins clinch top playoff seed
The Tahoe Twins left little doubt who is the class of the Reno/Tahoe NABA down the stretch.
The visiting Twins took it to the second-place Reno Hornets on Wednesday, scoring nine runs in the first three innings en route to a 13-2 win and#8212; their 13th straight.
It marked the Twins’ third win of the season against the Hornets, who fell to 15-3 as the Twins improved to 15-1-1 and clinched first place with two league games remaining.
Starting pitcher Jesse Hildebrandt threw another gem to pace the Twins. The right-hander allowed only two unearned runs in the first inning while scattering nine hits and recording five strikeouts in six innings. He has yet to allow an earned run in 40 innings of work this season.
and#8220;I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a 0.00 ERA this deep in the season,and#8221; said Twins manager Bob Habeger.
J.R. Murphy pitched a scoreless seventh, giving up one run and striking out one.
As it turned out, the Twins’ pitchers didn’t need to be so sharp after all. Their offense produced four runs in the first inning, another three in the second and two more in the third to take a commanding 9-2 lead. The Twins added a run in the fourth and three in the seventh to complete the rout.
Once again, cleanup hitting first baseman Jesse Brown pounded the ball. He went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs, raising his batting average to .574 on the season. He’s slugging .956 and has a .620 on-base percentage.
Joe Thomas also had a good game at the plate, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Cory Munoz drove in two runs on a 2-for-5 day and Scott Decker finished 3-for-5 with two doubles. Hildebrandt and Drew Lipnosky each had a hit and an RBI, Bobby Habeger had a double, and Ryan Gilmore and Randy Jansen each had a single.
Both the Twins and Hornets receive a bye in the first round of the Reno/Tahoe NABA playoffs, which begin in two weeks. The fifth-place Tahoe Braves (7-10) will take on the fourth-place Bandits (10-8) in Tahoe Vista on Aug. 28, while the sixth-place Assassins (5-12) play the third-place Hustlers (13-4-1) the same day at North Valleys High School in Reno.
The Twins face the winner between the Braves and Bandits in the second round on Aug. 31, and the Hustlers face the winner between the Assassins and Hustlers on Sept. 1. Both second-round games will be played at Governor’s Bowl in Reno. The championship is Sept. 11 at North Tahoe Regional Park.