Truckee baseball dealt snow-shortened loss
The biting breeze and quickly developing snow flurries that cut short the Truckee-South Tahoe high baseball game Tuesday was typical of a mid-April home contest in the high Sierra.
The way in which the Wolverines lost, dropping the non-league game 11-4 in large part due to defensive woes and unearned runs, also was typical of Truckee’s troubles of late.
“We’ve gotta play better defense, gotta tighten it up,” said Truckee head coach Mike Ellis. “Everyone has a job to do and they need to do it.
“We need to make the simple plays. We’re booting routine stuff. And the walks aren’t helping.”
The youthful Truckee squad, which was down three of its starters ” senior Paco Ruiz and juniors Keven Sahlberg and John DePew ” committed six errors and allowed eight walks between two pitchers before blustering snow ended the game in the midst of a sixth-inning Vikings rally.
Freshman Maclane Brady, who started on the mound for the Wolverines, escaped the top of the first inning relatively unscathed after a walk and an error led to the first South Tahoe run.
Truckee seemed poised to rally back in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Trevor Allen took a pitch in the back from South Tahoe starter Ryan Woods, then stole second on the next pitch. The potential big inning ended shortly thereafter when Allen was doubled off at first on a fly out to right field.
Brady opened the second inning with back-to-back walks on nine pitches to put runners on first and second with no outs. After retiring the next two batters on a strikeout and ground out, the Vikings posted four runs on an errant pickoff attempt at third, a line-drive base hit up the middle, a wild pitch and another base hit through the middle of the infield.
Trailing 5-0 entering the bottom of the second, seniors Andrew Mazzini and Brendan Driscoll led off with singles before sophomore Michael Taylor laid down a perfectly executed bunt for another hit, loading the bases with no outs.
Junior Pablo Esquivel then bunted the ball back to Woods, who scooped it up and tossed it to catcher Ivan Trebotich for an easy force out at home. Brother Cruz Esquivel followed with a dribbler to third baseman Derek Holmgren, who fumbled the exchange from glove to hand to give Truckee its first run.
Ellis made a pitching change with no outs in the top of the third, bringing in Driscoll after Brady issued a four-pitch walk to the leadoff hitter. South Tahoe added a pair of runs in the inning on a two-out base hit by Holmgren to extend its lead to 7-1.
The Wolverines countered in the bottom of the third with two runs on consecutive two-out base hits by Mazzini and Driscoll, bringing the score to 7-3.
Mazzini put in the defensive gem of the day as the snow began to blow in during the fourth inning. On a sharply hit grounder that appeared headed for the outfield, the shortstop broke hard to his right at the ping of the bat, diving full out to smother the ball before bouncing to his feet and gunning down the runner at first. The small Truckee crowd huddled in blankets showed their appreciation for his effort.
Truckee went down quietly in the bottom of the fourth inning before adding its fourth and final run in the fifth on a Justin Vosburgh double crushed to the right-center field fence, scoring Kevin Decker.
Snowfall began to intensify in the top of the sixth, which may have been a good thing for Truckee as the Vikings had scored three runs and were threatening to add more when the umpire called the players off the field with the scoreboard reading 11-4.
Offensively for the Wolverines, Driscoll went 2-for-2 with an RBI, Mazzini was 2-for-3 with a double and RBI, Vosburgh 1-for-3 with a double and RBI and Taylor 1-for-2.
Truckee plays at Colfax on Monday at 3:30 p.m.