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Tahoe Twins get best of Braves in twin bill

Sylas Wright / Sierra SunTahoe Twins pitcher Jesse Hildebrandt, shown in a game at Truckee High last season, threw seven and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief in a 12-1 win against the Tahoe Braves this past Sunday.
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The Tahoe Twins and Tahoe Braves squared off in a league doubleheader at both teams’ home park in Tahoe Vista this past Sunday, with the Twins winning both games, 2-1 and 12-1.

The Twins lead the Reno-Tahoe National Adult Baseball Association (NABA) standings with a 9-1 record, while the Braves are in fifth place out of 10 teams at 5-4.

Starting pitchers Joe Thomas for the Twins and Dallas Voyce for the Braves both threw solid games in the opener, which the Braves led 1-0 until the fifth inning. Thanks to RBIs off the bats of Jesse Brown and Jesse Hildebrandt, the Twins knotted the score with a run in the fifth and took the lead with another in the eighth.



Thomas limited the Braves to four hits in seven and one-third innings of work, striking out 11 along the way, while Gabe Sandersius earned the win throwing an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief. Voyce pitched seven innings, giving up only two hits.

The key to the game came in the top of the first. With one out and one run already in, Thomas escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out the next two batters.



Braves center fielder Michael Taylor covered considerable ground as he made several fine running catches to prevent the Twins from scoring. Brown, Sandersius and Thomas each had two hits for the Twins, with each contributing a double.

The second game had the feel of a pitcher’s duel early, as Twins starter J.R. Murphy and Braves starter Sean Bernardo came out throwing smoke. Twins manager Bob Habeger said Murphy hit 91 mph on the radar gun, which they had in the scorer’s booth behind the plate, while Bernardo was throwing in the high 80s.

They didn’t last long, however, as both pitchers exited in the second inning with elbow tightness, turning the game into a battle of relievers. Hildebrandt, despite suffering back pain, won that battle. He held the Braves scoreless in seven and two-thirds innings, scattering nine hits and striking out five.

Brown and Drew Lipnosky had three hits apiece, each with a double and RBI, while Kevin Decker had three hits, including a double, and two RBIs. Randy Jansen had two hits and two RBIs, and Thomas had two hits and an RBI.

The Twins are hitting .387 as a team, with seven players hitting better than .400. Cory Munoz leads the way with a .519 average with a home run and 12 RBIs. Thomas and Brown are each hitting .500, Steve Derby is hitting .484, Jansen .455, Sandersius .447, Lipnosky .407 and Scott Decker .400. Derby, with a home run, four triples and three doubles, is slugging .935.

Hildebrandt, who does not have an ERA in 23.2 innings pitched, and Murphy are both 3-0 on the mound. Murphy has 40 strikeouts in 27.1 innings and an ERA of 0.33. Thomas has an ERA of 0.71 and Sandersius 0.87.

Both the Twins and Braves are made up largely of North Tahoe and Truckee high grads, plus other local and regional ballplayers. The Reno-Tahoe NABA is a wood-bat league.


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