Truckee baseball | Wolverines salvage 1 of 3 against Railroaders | SierraSun.com

Truckee baseball | Wolverines salvage 1 of 3 against Railroaders

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunTruckee junior Tony Buranzon follows through on a pitch during the first game of the Truckee-Sparks doubleheader at Regional Park on Saturday. Truckee lost the first game 7-0 and won the second game 13-9.
ALL |

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Finally, after being held scoreless 13 consecutive innings, Truckee’s offense sprang to life in the finale of its Mount Rose League series against Sparks on Saturday to salvage a crucial win.

After losing the series opener 10-2 at Sparks on Wednesday, the Wolverines recorded only one hit en route to a 7-0 loss in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader at Truckee River Regional Park.

Truckee rebounded resiliently in Game 2, however, breaking out of its scoring slump with a 13-9 win to end its regular season. The Truckee win also snapped a 12-game streak by the Railroaders, whose last loss was at Fallon on April 1.

It wasn’t pretty, though.

The Wolverines (8-4 league) committed nine errors on the day and#8212; four in the first game and five in second and#8212; against a Sparks offense that needed little help. The defensive miscues forced Truckee pitchers to work harder than they should have, evidenced by Steven Baker’s 133-pitch, complete-game effort to earn the win in the finale.

and#8220;If we didn’t commit so many errors he would be have been out of there sooner,and#8221; Truckee coach Mike Ellis said of Baker. and#8220;It was all just routine stuff. Baker threw a good game; he kept us in it. Errors killed us.and#8221;

The Railroaders (8-1 league) struck early in Game 1, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning off Truckee starter Tony Buranzon. Taking advantage of Truckee errors, they went on to score another run in the second and two more in the third before Stein Retzlaff came on in relief with two on and one out in the fourth. Retzlaff allowed one of Buranzon’s baserunners to score before throwing a scoreless fifth through seventh innings.

Only two of the Sparks runs were earned as Buranzon allowed six hits and two walks while striking out three in 3 1/3 innings. Retzlaff gave up two hits and four walks and also struck out three in 3 2/3 innings.

Meanwhile, Sparks starter Dennis Morelli was dealing, as the senior fanned 10 Truckee hitters in seven innings while allowing only one hit and#8212; a single by James DePew to lead off the fourth. Truckee drew five walks in the game, but none made it past second base.

and#8220;He wasn’t anything amazing, but he kept the ball down and we weren’t hitting his fastball,and#8221; Ellis said. and#8220;Every time we took a cut at a fastball, we fouled it back into the screen. We didn’t center anything up. We took some good hacks at it, but just didn’t square it up.and#8221;

Jared Longland went 2 for 4 with an RBI for the Railroaders, while Morelli had a pair of RBI on one hit. The Railroaders could have had several more extra-base hits had it not been for Truckee senior Tanner Churich, who made a number of nice running catches in center field.

Truckee’s offense came to life in Game 2. But not before the Wolverines fell behind again, 2-0, in the first inning.

After being held scoreless through two innings by Sparks starter Tyler Dresbach, the Wolverines finally got on the board with a five-run outburst in the third.

Andy McKechnie started the rally when he reached on an error. Aaron Pado then singled to left before Tanner Churich blasted a three-run bomb into the trees beyond left field, giving Truckee its first lead of the series. DePew followed with a walk, Erik Holmer sliced a triple down the first baseline, and Baker helped his own cause with an RBI single up the middle, pushing the lead to 5-2

Riding its longest winning streak in years, the Railroaders weren’t about to go down quietly, as they countered four runs in the fourth to regain the lead, 6-5.

It was short-lived, however, as Truckee again stormed back in the bottom of the fourth with consecutive singles by Luke Theis, Ty Englert and Pado to chase Dresbach from the game. Facing a new pitcher, Churich walked, DePew and Ryan Smith each hit two-out singles, and Baker drove an RBI double to give Truckee an 11-6 lead.

Truckee added to its lead with two runs in the fifth, then held on for the win as Sparks threatened with a three-run seventh.

and#8220;They guys woke up with the bats, that’s for sure,and#8221; Ellis said. and#8220;They just needed to start hitting the ball.and#8221;

Pado led the way offensively with three singles and two walks, while Churich had two hits and four RBI and DePew and Smith had two RBI apiece. Baker, who went 2 for 3 with two RBI, recorded eight strikeouts and issued three walks while giving up five earned runs on 12 hits.

With their regular season complete, the Wolverines now must wait and see what happens in the three-game Mount Rose League series between Sparks and South Tahoe this Wednesday and Saturday, which will determine which 3A teams from the MRL advance to the postseason.

South Tahoe is 6-2 in league with four games remaining, including a home game against Whittell on Tuesday. Sparks is 8-1 with four remaining, including one against Whittell. Truckee finished 8-4 in league.

Only two of the three 3A schools from the MRL and#8212; Truckee, South Tahoe and Sparks and#8212; will qualify for the regional tournament. Check the NIAA website at http://www.niaa.com for an updated playoff bracket when it becomes available.