Truckee baseball | Wolverines honor former coach, player in sweep of Lowry
Northern Division I-A standings
Team League Overall
Fallon 14-3 14-8
Elko 16-4 19-6
South Tahoe 13-4 15-7
Spring Creek 12-5 15-6
Sparks 8-11 12-11
Fernley 7-10 10-11
Truckee 3-14 4-17
Dayton 3-14 3-14
Lowry 3-15 5-17
Truckee is scheduled to play a league series at Dayton this Friday and Saturday.
Truckee baseball players capped an emotional home series in ideal fashion Saturday — victoriously.
The Wolverines broke into the Division I-A win column with an emphatic three-game sweep over visiting Lowry. They outscored the Buckaroos 37-10 between Friday’s opener and Saturday’s doubleheader, which included a tearful tribute to a couple of fallen Wolverines.
“It was nice to watch some good baseball. Not that we haven’t been playing well, but to tie some a wins with that was great,” said first-year Truckee coach J.R. Murphy, whose team earned the sweep by scores of 8-3, 14-2 and 15-5.
In front of a large crowd that turned out for the occasion, the Wolverines held a ceremony between games Saturday honoring former head coach Mike Ellis and former player Andrew Metlenko. Ellis — aka Elly — died of a heart condition midway through last season. Metlenko died in a car accident in June 2013, just days before his high school graduation.
Family members of both were escorted onto the field by Truckee players and presented by coaches with framed jerseys. Plaques dedicated to Metlenko and Ellis were then unveiled behind the backstop.
The ceremony also recognized Larry Harper and his Good Tidings Foundation, which stepped up to help the Metlenko family accomplish its fundraising goal for a complete overhaul of Truckee’s field.
Harper — a past baseball scout whose foundation helps rebuild athletic fields in areas of need — spoke during the ceremony about the project, which the Metlenkos called the Forever 18 Field of Dreams.
“It was very difficult to get through that, because we came together under tragic circumstances,” Harper said. “The whole project was very emotional. But in the end we were able to accomplish a really great thing.”
The Metlenkos’ campaign raised nearly $50,000, which allowed Robert A. Bothman Inc. — “the best of the best in Northern California,” Harper said — to begin construction this past September. The makeover included a new professional-quality infield in addition to many other upgrades.
Harper relayed a story during his speech about the final day of the project. He said as soon as the job ended on the field, the skies opened to a torrential downpour that lasted about 30 seconds. A colorful rainbow followed.
“It was a long journey, but it was well worth the end result,” said Andrew’s mother Laura, who helped spearhead the fundraising project along with Andrew’s grandmother, Nina Ski. “It was nice to do this for the community that gave to us and nice to know that it will be appreciated by everyone who loves baseball. Future kids are going to love it, and Andrew would have wanted that.”
The Wolverines took care of business on both ends of the ceremony on their spruced-up field.
Following Friday’s win, which senior left-hander Cam Hollabaugh earned with a complete-game effort, Truckee jumped on the Buckaroos early en route to the lopsided final in Saturday’s Game 1.
The Wolverines scored nine runs in the first inning while sending 15 hitters to the plate. They added a run in the second and four in the third to take a commanding 14-1 lead.
Junior pitcher Miles Guiragossian limited Lowry to six hits and a walk while striking out three in five innings. The Buckaroos managed a run in the first inning and another in the fifth as the game ended early on the 10-run mercy rule.
Truckee had 10 hits, while three Lowry pitchers combined to issue seven walks and hit four batters. Truckee senior third baseman and catcher Teagan Pado led the way with a 3-for-3 performance with four RBIs.
“Teagan is going off right now,” Murphy said. “He has been all year, really, and he continues to.”
Hollabaugh was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Connor Bullion was 1-for-2 and also had a double and two RBIs. Gavin Broad, Jayden Commendatore, Bradley VanSchoonhoven and Joey Gravell contributed a hit apiece, and VanSchoonhoven, Guiragossian, Gravell and Jonny Spaich each had an RBI.
The Wolverines got off to a rocky start in the series finale, as a couple of errors led to five Lowry runs in the top of the first.
Starting pitcher JJ Bellon shook off the rough inning and held the Buckaroos scoreless the rest of the way. His offense, meanwhile, answered with a three-run first inning and a two-run second to tie the score at 5-5.
Truckee went on to score five runs in the fourth inning and five in the sixth, which ended the contest on the mercy rule.
“The whole pitching staff did great,” Murphy said. “They threw about 80 percent fastballs. I think they kind of learned how to get outs with the fastball, which was encouraging to see. And our offense did awesome too.”
The Wolverines improved to 3-14 in league play and the Buckaroos fell to 3-15.
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