Tahoe Twins storm into first place
TAHOE VISTA and#8212; The Tahoe Twins gained sole possession of first place with a doubleheader sweep against the previously undefeated Reno Hornets on Sunday.
After hanging on for a 4-3 win in a back-and-forth nail-biter in Game 1, the host team left little suspense in the nightcap, overwhelming their opponent with a dominant display of hitting and pitching en route to a 12-0 win at North Tahoe Regional Park.
The Twins have now won 10 straight games while improving to 12-1-1 in the Reno/Tahoe NABA. The Hornets, meanwhile, fell to 13-2 and into second place in the wood-bat league.
Starter Evan Neiser pitched the Twins to victory in the opener, despite a few rocky moments. The hard-throwing, 5-foot-8-inch lefty walked the first two batters of the game and hit the third, leaving the bases chucked with no outs. But he limited the damage to one run on a fielder’s choice and a couple of strikeouts.
and#8220;I thought Evan was a little rusty starting out there. Getting out of that the way we did was pretty good, only allowing the one run with the bases full,and#8221; said Twins manager Bob Habeger.
The Twins didn’t trail for long. Drew Lipnosky reached second on a throwing error in the bottom of the first and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Steve Derby, tying the score at 1-apiece. The Hornets again took a one-run lead in the third, and again the Twins answered in the bottom half, this time with a couple of runs on RBIs from Jesse Brown and Jamy Habeger.
Jesse Hildebrandt then added an insurance run in the fifth with a solid base hit that scored Derby. It was a good thing, as the Hornets touched Neiser for a run in the sixth on a double, a dropped ball in deep right-center field and an RBI hit.
With the tying run 90 feet away, Neiser recorded a strikeout looking for the first out, Habeger gunned down a runner attempting to steal second and Neiser ended the threat with another strikeout looking. He breezed through the seventh to secure the win.
Neiser finished with six walks and two hit batters while scattering five hits and striking out seven. The Twins managed 10 hits in the game, led by Lipnosky and Bobby Habeger with two apiece. Brown, Derby, Jamy Habeger, Cory Munoz, Hildebrandt and Randy Jansen each had one hit.
and#8220;I thought we could have scored a few more runs. We had 10 hits and they had four errors, but we left the bases loaded a couple of times,and#8221; the Twins manager said. and#8220;The middle of our lineup didn’t produce like they could have, but man, they came out in the second game and really made up for it. They hit the heck out of the ball.and#8221;
Indeed. The Twins smashed the ball around in Game 2 and#8212; particularly Jamy Habeger, who went 3-for-3 with a home run and five RBIs, bumping his average up to .395 on the year. Brown also went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, raising his average to a team-leading .509, while Derby and Dustin Buttner each were 2-for-3 in the shortened game, which ended after five innings on the 10-run mercy rule. Munoz and Hildebrandt each collected one hit in the rout.
Not to be overshadowed by his team’s offensive display, Hildebrandt was equally impressive on the mound. He surrendered only three hits and one walk while striking out four in five shutout innings. It was his second consecutive shutout.
and#8220;Jesse Hildebrandt threw a heck of a game again,and#8221; Habeger said.
The Tahoe Braves also played a doubleheader at North Tahoe Regional Park on Sunday, dropping both games to the Reno Bandits, 5-2 and 5-1.
and#8220;We’re in a hitting funk, have been for the last four games,and#8221; said Braves manager Jack Bernardo. and#8220;We just can’t string together two (consecutive) hits.and#8221;
Dallas Voyce pitched six innings in the early game and Sean Bernardo threw all seven innings in Game 2, recording nine strikeouts.
The Bandits struck for four runs in the first inning against the hard-luck Bernardo, who settled down after that, limiting the Bandits to only a solo home run in the sixth that nearly straddled the left-field foul pole.
Ryan Ransdell poked a solid base hit to left field to drive in the Braves’ only run in Game 2, while Dan Heller hit the first home run of the season for the Braves in the opener.
The Braves fell to 5-9 and into fifth place in the Reno/Tahoe NABA, while the fourth-place Bandits improved to 9-6.
To view a photo gallery from Sunday’s games, go to http://www.sierrasun.com/2011twinsbraves.