Truckee blasts South Tahoe High
The Truckee High baseball team gave its sizeable home crowd plenty to cheer about at the expense of South Tahoe High School Tuesday afternoon with an 11-5 victory.
Enduring an incessant chilly breeze ” which likely affected the idle fans more than the players ” Wolverines hitters smacked the ball all over the field, all game long. Stingy defense and quality pitching played a role in the non-league win, as well.
“We played solid D,” senior second baseman Jeff Hansen said after the game. “We’re starting to come around. We’re hitting the ball. I think we have a chance to take the whole thing [3A state championship]. If we keep playing the way we’re playing right now, no one can touch us.”
Sophomore Matt Aboumrad, who normally plays first base and pitches when needed, started the game. Aboumrad ran into a little trouble in the top of the first inning, as he hit the first batter with a pitch, which led to a run after a Truckee throwing error. Aboumrad got out of the inning allowing only the one run, and the error would be Truckee’s only one in the game.
“Only one error. We’ll take that any day,” Hansen said.
Aboumrad agreed with his teammate.
“We’re playing a lot better,” the young right-hander said. “As long as we don’t make errors, we’ll be fine. Our pitchers will hold up.”
The Wolverines answered in the bottom of the first by sending the entire lineup to the plate, apparently listening to a fan who suggested that they “bat around.”
Catcher and leadoff hitter Buck Claesson began the rally with a base hit between third and short. Hansen followed with a nearly identical seeing-eye hit, and third baseman Jimmy Williams walked. Just like that, the Wolverines were in business.
Center fielder and cleanup hitter Ben Tonon ripped a line-drive base hit up the middle with the bases juiced to score two runs. A couple of batters, an error, and one run later, senior shortstop Paul Tierney hit another ground ball between third and short to score another run. By the time the inning ended Aboumrad had a 4-1 lead to work with.
Aboumrad breezed through the second before again running into some trouble in the top of the third by way of two walks, three hits and a pair of runs. South Tahoe could have put more runs on the board if it had not been for the effort of Claesson, who helped Aboumrad out several times that inning ” as well as during the rest of the game ” by blocking pitches in the dirt.
After a quick one-two-three second inning, Truckee adjusted the score with a third-inning rally. Tonon reached second on a South Tahoe error and was picked up by Aboumrad, who helped his cause by waiting on a hanging curve ball before driving it into left field for an RBI. The Wolverines scored once more, on a fielder’s choice off the bat of sophomore Andrew Mazzini, to give the Wolverines a 6-3 lead entering the fourth.
In the top of the fourth Aboumrad again ran into some trouble after a leadoff walk, a deeply hit double to right, and a score on a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and third following a two-out walk, Hansen smothered a hard-hit, skipping grounder, stayed with it, and threw to first to get out of the inning. The score: 6-3, Truckee.
The Wolverines added to the lead in the fourth on a new South Tahoe pitcher. Claesson walked to lead off the inning and Hansen poked the ball into the outfield on a first-pitch hit-and-run. With runners on the corners and no outs Ellis again put the hit-and-run on, this time for Williams, who picked up an RBI on a ground out. Tonon and left fielder Joe Lipnoski followed with walks. Aboumrad then smashed a ball directly to the third baseman for the out, and Hansen alertly scrambled back to third. Tierney with two outs came through with an RBI base hit up the middle. Lipnoski then tried to score on a wild pitch and was thrown out to end the inning. The score: 9-4, Truckee.
Aboumrad walked the first two batters of the fifth, and with runners on first and second and no outs, Truckee coach Mike Ellis brought in John Hooper for relief. Hooper kept the damage minimal by allowing only one run, on a sacrifice fly to left.
The Wolverines did not score in the bottom of the fifth, and Hooper cruised through the top of the sixth with a one-two-three inning.
Leading 9-5 in the bottom of the sixth, Ellis made some changes in the lineup, which allowed junior Morgan Harvey to step to the plate and sting a line drive to left. Junior Scott Decker also got an at-bat, and earned an RBI on a ground ball hit to third.
With a six-run cushion, Hooper walked two batters in the top of the seventh before ending the game with a strikeout.
A doubleheader against North Tahoe on May 7 are the only games remaining before playoffs. Because of a bye week between then and now, coach Ellis is concerned with the team cooling off.
“It’s my job to keep them hot,” Ellis said. “We’re going to have aggressive practices so they stay focused and pick up where they left off.”
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