Truckee baseball: Wolverines drop two to South Tahoe (w/ video)
Northern Division I-A standings
Team — League — Overall
Elko — 12-0 — 12-4-1
Spring Creek — 11-1 — 15-2
Fernley — 7-3 — 8-7
Fallon — 7-3 — 10-5
South Tahoe — 5-8 — 5-13
Lowry — 4-8 — 7-9
Dayton — 3-10 — 7-10
Truckee — 2-8 — 2-12
Sparks — 0-10 — 3-11
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Wolverines were a key hit away from winning their first league series on their home diamond this past weekend.
They settled for a 1-2 series against rival South Tahoe, losing 4-0 and 9-7 in extra innings before salvaging a 7-3 victory in the finale.
“I think that team (South Tahoe) is as evenly matched with us as any team we’ll see this year. But you always want to beat your rival,” said Truckee coach J.R. Murphy. “We’re continuing to get better, though, and that’s all that’s mattering right now.”
After a rough start in league — facing two playoff contenders while snow confined the team to the gym — Truckee has won two of its last four games to move to 2-8 in the Northern Division I-A. South Tahoe improved to 5-8 in league play.
Sophomore pitcher Chris Pfister held Truckee’s offense in check with a complete-game shutout Friday. He limited the Wolverines to just five hits, one apiece by Connor Bullion, Mike Jones, Bradley VanSchoonhoven, Jack Englert and Miles Guiragossian. VanSchoonhoven went all seven for Truckee, allowing three earned runs on eight hits.
Playing in drizzly conditions Saturday, the rivals swapped leads on four occasions in an action-packed first game.
Senior Josh Sullivan came up with the big hit for the Vikings. Down 0-2 in the count with two outs in the top of the eighth, he drove in two runs off Truckee reliever Connor Bullion to snap a 7-7 tie. Truckee had two hits in the bottom of the frame but could not get a run across as senior pitcher Moises Cuevas closed what he started.
The Wolverines had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh. After tying the score at 7-7 an inning earlier, they loaded the bases for junior Jack Englert, who hit a hard grounder up the middle that Cuevas smothered and threw to first to end the threat.
“We were looking for that one clutch at-bat to drive in some runs. Unfortunately, they had a guy on the mound who was good and kept us down,” Murphy said of Cuevas, who gave up the seven runs (four earned) on 13 hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
Senior JJ Bellon started for Truckee and allowed six runs in four innings on three hits and four walks, with six strikeouts. Only two of the runs were earned, however, as Truckee committed seven errors in the game. Bullion gave up three runs (two earned) while striking out three in four innings of relief.
Bullion led the way offensively with three hits and an RBI. Miles Guiragossian and Gary Grosjean each contributed two hits and an RBI, while Mike Jones had two hits, and Joey Gravell, Jayden Commendatore, VanSchoonhoven and Alex Vaio each had one hit. Gravell, Will Beldon and Grosjean each had an RBI.
Grosjean, a sophomore, started and earned the win in the nightcap. In a complete-game effort, he allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits while throwing only 80 pitches.
“Gary has been our most consistent [pitcher] all year,” Murphy said. “He’s also been hitting the ball well and playing good defense, too, so he’s starting to get more playing time away from the mound. I could not be more happy with his progress.”
Against a trio of South Tahoe pitchers, Guiragossian, who hit a clutch double in the seventh inning of the previous game, went 2-for-3 with another double and two RBIs. Bellon had two hits and an RBI, VanSchoonhoven had a hit and two RBIs, and Commendatore drove in one run on one hit. Bullion and Jones also had one hit.
Truckee is scheduled to host a three-game series against second-place Spring Creek this Friday (3 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m., 1 p.m.).