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The comeback kids ready

James Ball

The weather may feel like late winter but the boys of summer are here to play.

The Tahoe-Truckee High School baseball team proved how effective outdoor practice is by winning three of four zone playoff games this past weekend, becoming division one champs and qualifying for the state tournament which begins in southern Nevada today.

At Fernley Friday, Truckee edged Spring Creek 10-8 in the first game of division one zones.

Paul DeCarlo’s 380-foot solo homer in the sixth sparked the Wolverines on a five-hit, four-run inning.

Spring Creek tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, but Truckee rallied with two more runs in the seventh. Ryan Babb started off with a single and, with two outs, Geoff Hovorka was good for an RBI single, driving in the winning run.

“Our strategy was to keep (Spring Creek’s leading hitter) Ryan Nonea from getting any hits,” said head coach Craig Lawrence. “Our pitchers did that by throwing him all curve balls.”

The tactic was effective, as Nonea went 0-5 on the day.

Justin Long pitched five innings for Truckee, allowing six hits and striking out seven. Merek Poco pitched the last two innings in relief and struck out three.

With the win, Truckee qualified for state.

In the second game, Truckee faced Fernley, the league’s No. 1- rated team, winning 4-2.

Zach Lawrence pitched the complete game six-hitter, striking out four while allowing only one walk.

In the second inning, Lawrence walked, Mike Detwiler doubled and Kyle Barth stepped up for a 2- RBI single sending Detwiler and Lawrence home.

The win was the eighth in a row for Truckee.

Saturday’s third game of the playoffs proved a stumbling block for Truckee, which fell 16-12 to Fernley a day after beating the same team.

Long and Poco pitched, striking out four and giving up eight walks. Truckee rallied in the bottom of the third, coming up with seven runs on six hits, but not even a two-run homer from Detwiler in the bottom of the sixth was enough to shut Fernley down.

“Our eight walks and seven errors cost us this game,” said Craig Lawrence.

But Truckee wasn’t out of contention. A win against Fernley in the fourth game would determine the No. 1 seed in state playoffs and the division champs.

“After the loss, I told them to forget about this game and just relax and have fun in the next one,” said Craig Lawrence. “Since we knew we were going down south anyway, there was no big stress.”

Still, Truckee didn’t relax too much in the nail-biter where the Wolverines squeaked past Fernley 21-20.

With Truckee down 13-8 in the sixth and Fernley having changed pitchers in the fourth, Spencer Archer stepped up to the plate for a 400-foot solo home run, just after Fernley’s pitcher had retired eight consecutive Truckee hitters.

Later, Detwiler also hit a 400-foot home run, leading Truckee on a tear in which it got 11 hits and 13 consecutive runs in a single inning.

Fernley came back in the last two innings, but Tom Hernandez’s ground ball throw to Archer at second base ended the game, giving Truckee the No. 1 seed.

Truckee has won 10 of its last 13 games and finished league play at 8-2.

The state tournament begins this morning in Mesquite, Nev., approximately an hour east of Las Vegas.

Last year, Truckee was eliminated from the division playoffs with losses to Spring Creek (7-6) and North Tahoe (12-2).

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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