Tahoe Twins pull off close wins against Bandits | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Twins pull off close wins against Bandits

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunJoe Thomas delivers a pitch during the Tahoe Twins' 3-2 win against the Reno Bandits in Game 1 of their doubleheader Sunday.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Tahoe Twins improved to 7-1-1 in league play after edging the Reno Bandits by a single run in both games of their doubleheader in Truckee on Sunday.

Behind strong outings from starters Joe Thomas and Jesse Hildebrandt, the Twins scraped together just enough offense to eke out a 3-2 win in Game 1 and a 4-3 win in the nightcap, thanks to a go-ahead RBI by Steve Derby in the top of the seventh inning.

The doubleheader sweep secured the Twins second place entering the Reno/Tahoe National Adult Baseball Association (NABA) all-star break.

That means the Twins, along with the first-place Reno Hornets (10-0), will be allowed four selections, plus a pitcher, in the NABA all-star game. The third- and fourth-place teams receive three all-star selections, while the fifth- through eighth-place teams get two picks. Additionally, every team is represented by one pitcher.

The all-star game is scheduled for Saturday, July 16 in Tahoe Vista.

Thomas nearly pitched a complete game against the Bandits (5-5) on Sunday. The right-hander got through 6 2/3 innings before reliever Dustin Buttner came in and coaxed the final out with the bases loaded. Thomas allowed two earned runs on nine hits and four walks, with five strikeouts.

and#8220;I was just trying to throw my cutter and hit my spots, trying to throw ground balls,and#8221; he said, adding that it was his first outing in three and a half weeks, as he’s been nursing a groin injury. and#8220;It’s good to be back pitching again.and#8221;

Thomas allowed only one run through six innings but ran into trouble in the seventh, when he allowed three straight singles and a run before manager Bob Habeger made the call to the bullpen. Buttner, a 2009 Carson High grad who now plays for Victor Valley Junior College, came in and recorded the final out on his second pitch, inducing a sky-scraping popup that was squeezed by Hildebrandt charging in from third.

and#8220;He definitely made me happy. Two pitches and a fly ball to get out of it. You couldn’t ask for anything better,and#8221; Thomas said of Buttner’s save.

The starting pitcher received help from another teammate in the third inning to escape a rally. The Bandits’ No. 3 hitter drove a pitch off the top of the fence in left-center and scored the game’s first run on a double into the gap by the cleanup hitter. The next batter then slapped a base hit to right field, where Derby scooped it up and fired a strike to catcher Jamy Habeger, who applied the tag for the third out of the inning.

Energized by the defensive gem, the Twins responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Second baseman Cory Munoz ignited the rally with a base hit. Randy Jansen followed with another base hit, on which Munoz scored after an overthrow of third, and leadoff man Bobby Habeger drove in Jansen with an RBI ground out, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead.

Derby extended the lead to 3-1 in the sixth when he delivered a hard-hit single that scored Bobby Habeger from second.

The Twins managed just five hits in the game, one apiece from Derby, Munoz, Jansen, Bobby Habeger and Jesse Brown.

Hildebrandt threw a complete game to earn the win in the finale, settling in nicely after allowing a three-run second inning. He gave up only six hits while striking out nine.

and#8220;He just hits his locations so well,and#8221; said Twins Manager Bob Habeger, adding that he was glad to see Hildebrandt pitch effectively after being slowed in the early season by a shoulder injury. and#8220;He really had control of his pitches. Location, location, location.and#8221;

Thanks to the clutch hitting of Jesse Brown, the Twins got one of the three runs back in the third inning and struck with two more runs in the fifth to tie the score. Derby delivered again in the top of the seventh, driving in the go-ahead run with a base hit before Hildebrandt closed the door in the bottom half to preserve his win.

Brown had two hits and two RBI, Bobby Habeger went 2-for-3 with two doubles, and Buttner was 1-for-3 with a double smashed off the top of the fence in center field, 400 feet from home plate. Drew Lipnosky, Scott Decker, Jansen and Derby had one hit apiece.

The Reno/Tahoe NABA all-star game is scheduled for Saturday, July 16, to be played at the Twins’ home field at North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista.

The game will be preceded by a home run derby starting at 12:30 p.m. Bob Habeger said players may enter the derby for $5, with the winner taking all. The skipper anticipates at least five Twins entering the derby.

As far as the Twins’ all-stars, Derby, Brown, Bobby Habeger and Jamy Habeger will represent the team as position players, and Thomas will be the pitcher.

The Twins will host a summer baseball camp at North Tahoe Regional Park from July 19-21, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. each day.

The camp is open to all players ages 6-12. Cost is $100 for all three days, or $40 per day, and includes drinks and a camp T-shirt. Campers must bring a lunch.

All proceeds will go toward the completion and upkeep of the North Tahoe Regional Park field. The camp, which will end each day with a game, will be led by Twins Manager Bob Habeger with instruction from current twins players. Check-in will be from 8:45-9:15 on Field 1.

To sign up, e-mail bob@habeger.net.