Vikings baseball clinches league title, enjoying historic season

Luke Laub slides safely into third base Wednesday after blasting a two-run triple in the first inning. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe High School is enjoying one of its best baseball seasons in the program’s history.

And while the Vikings would love the opportunity to battle for a state championship, they’re just happy to be playing after last year was wiped out by the pandemic.

The Vikings have won 15 of their 16 games, including a 5-0 victory over North Valleys Wednesday on an “off night.”

They can hit, boy can they hit, the pitching staff throws a lot of strikes and is anchored by an ace, and they play solid defense.

“I could be upset about not being able to play for a state title but I’m not,” said Vikings head coach Starbuck Teevan. “It would be nice to give this team a shot, but we’re lucky to have the opportunity to be out here playing. We’ll take what we can get after missing last year. We’ve got a lot of talented kids and get contributions throughout the lineup. We’re young, we have one senior in Miles (Hamburg) that the team rallies around and when our offense comes alive, we’re tough to beat.”

South Tahoe head coach Starbuck Teevan gives instructions during the game. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune

The game Wednesday didn’t feature the Vikings offense rolling up double digit runs like they’ve done in 11 games this season (They average about 12 runs per contest) but they got three clutch hits, two from Luke Laub, and dominant pitching from ace Andrew Lehmann.

Laub lined a one-out, two-run triple to center field in the first inning to give Lehmann all the runs he would need. Laub came back in the fifth inning and sealed the game with a two-run double over the left fielder’s head.

Garrett Friederici added a two-out RBI single in the fourth.

The victory was capped by a diving catch in left field by Caden Matthews to end the game with two runners on base.

“It was a good game, we didn’t play our best but it was good enough to get a win,” Lehmann said.

South Tahoe ace Andrew Lehmann delivers a fastball Wednesday against North Valleys. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune

The righty said he didn’t pitch his best game, but was overpowering nonetheless. He hurled a complete game allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out 10. He is 4-0 this season with a microscopic earned run average of 1.05. He has struck out 37 batters in 26-plus innings.

He attributes the team’s success this year to everybody contributing and having a lot of fun playing with his teammates.

“Everyone on this team contributes, one through nine, and we’ve had solid pitching all year,” he said. “It’s been a blast this year since we have just one loss and were undefeated in league play. It’s been great this year. It’s kind of a bummer we can’t go for a state title because this is one of the best teams we’ve had in years. We just can’t do it this year. Next year we’ll all be back except for Miles which is tough because he won’t be here.”

Vikings star sophomore Joel Gomez says the long-lasting relationships the players have built over the years has helped with their chemistry.

“Most of us are pretty close friends and we’ve been together for awhile, since we were young,” said Gomez, who has put up a .520 batting average this season at the top of the lineup. “We’re just having fun and not worrying about anything. I wish we could play for a state title because I think we’d have a good chance to win it.”

The team’s top hitter Nico Wagner who is raking at a .560 clip agrees the team chemistry is built around years of playing together in Little League.

Nico Wagner smokes a triple to right center field on Wednesday against North Valleys. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune

“It’s a great time playing with these guys,” the sophomore said. “We’ve been together since we were 8 years old playing travel ball. We have a great team this year, but we’ve got two more years and I know we’ll win state.”

The Vikings with the win Wednesday are Northern League champions and Teevan thinks it may be the first in the program’s history.

South Tahoe celebrates Caden Matthews’ (middle, left) diving catch to end the game on Wednesday. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Vikings do get a few extra games after the regular season in a regional tournament that will feature league teams. South Tahoe will host that tournament starting next Thursday, May 20.

The Vikings will celebrate Hamberg on Tuesday during senior day to end the regular season.

“We’ve got one senior, Miles, that we’ll celebrate on Tuesday, he’s our grinder, he gets hit by pitches and sets a good example,” Teevan said. “But mostly we’ve got a good group of kids that are still learning and are hungry.”

South Tahoe first baseman Ian Ross receives a pickoff attempt on Wednesday. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune

Highlanders get revenge at Pershing, knock off rival

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The Incline Highlanders baseball team got its first two wins of the season, and for some players, it was a bit of revenge.

The Highlanders also knocked off their rival a few days later and have won three straight.

The Highlanders rallied in both games of a doubleheader Saturday and pounded host Pershing County 15-9 in Game 1 and 16-5 in six innings in the nightcap.

For three juniors and a freshman, Shane Green, Kade Martinez, Caden Mongolo and Cameron Bodel, the trip east was especially sweet. Those four were members of the Incline football team that saw their dreams of a perfect season spoiled in the season opener in a double overtime loss to the Mustangs this past March.

A particularly vengeful moment came in Game 1 when Green, who played center on the football team, belted an inside pitch over the newly constructed left field fence. It was the first home run over the new wall and the arching shot flew right over the head of the Mustang’s left fielder, and star running back, Raul Rincon. Green had three hits and four RBIs to lead the Highlander offense.

Also for Incline (2-4), Chase MacDonald was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, freshman Kyler Thompson was 4-for-5 with a double, Nigel Loudon was 3-for-5 with three RBIs and Cameron Bodel had two singles and scored twice.

Jared Hock earned the pitching victory by tossing three innings and allowing one hit and no runs while striking out three.

The Highlanders trailed 8-3 after four innings before storming back with seven runs in the fifth and sealed the game with four in the seventh.

In Game 2, the Highlanders found themselves trailing again, 5-4 after three innings, but exploded for six in the fifth and four more in the sixth to end the game with the 10-run mercy rule.

Thompson went 4-for-5 with six runs batted in and Bradley Bodel had three hits and three runs batted in to lead the prolific offense.

Also for Incline, Hock went 2-for-2 with a double and five runs scored, Cameron Bodel had two hits and two RBIs, Kade Martinez singled and drove in two and Green scored twice.

Hock hurled two innings in relief allowing two hits and striking out four and Loudon pitched 1 ⅔ scoreless innings also in relief.

Martinez was the starting pitcher, going 2 1/3 innings allowing four earned runs and striking out five. Martinez had two hits and two RBIs on the day.

Incline hosted its rival North Tahoe on Tuesday and again rallied from behind to get the win.

The Highlanders trialed 4-3 after three innings before scoring three times in the bottom of the sixth to snatch the victory away from the Lakers.

Green went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two batted in, Martinez doubled and drove in two and Bradley Bodel singled and scored twice.

MacDonald earned the victory on the mound by hurling 6 ⅔ innings allowing eight hits, four walks and four runs while striking out a dozen.

The Highlanders (3-4) next will play Silver Stage at 10 a.m. Saturday at home.


‘Flash’ Cleary takes down 42-year-old Incline records

Dylan “Flash” Cleary broke two 42-year-old records in Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe. Provided

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — ”Hey Flash, come here,” calls out one of Dylan Cleary’s track and field coaches during practice.

The Incline Village senior said his coach, Thomas Reymer, learned that his middle was Gordon, and after that, the nickname came easy.

“It’s an inside joke, something he’s been calling me for awhile now,” Cleary said.

Cleary did his best “Flash Gordon” impression on Tuesday, burning up the track at South Tahoe Middle School.

Flash had a feeling he was going to be fast on Tuesday, but he even outperformed his own expectations.

On a nice, warm, sunny day on the South Shore, Cleary took down a pair of 42-year old school records to become the fastest sprinter ever at the school.

Cleary set new standards in the 100-meter dash and the 200. He finished the dash in 11.08 seconds to beat the previous mark (11.10) set by Kris Strub in 1979 by .02 seconds. He also crushed Strub’s 200 record (22.7) by over a half second (22.17).

“I knew I was going to run a good time, but I didn’t expect to be that fast,” Cleary said. “I’ve had my eyes on the record since my sophomore year. I knew if I worked hard enough I’d have a chance. It’s a huge honor. I know when he (Strub)was running, and I hope I get to meet him one day, he wasn’t running in fancy stadiums or wearing $200 spikes. He had it a lot tougher than I do. But the record means a lot to me.”

Cleary has been running since sixth grade and hopes to get even faster at the next level.

Cleary will attend Rocky Mountain College, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Billings, Montana on scholarship in the fall.

He plans to study aeronautical science in his pursuit to become an airline pilot. In his off time, he travels to Minden where he’s working on his private pilot’s license.

“I’m really grateful,” Cleary said. “I couldn’t have done any of this without my parents, coaches and teammates. It may sound cliché, but it’s the truth.”

South Tahoe, Incline Village and Whittell all participated in a track and field meet Tuesday at South Tahoe Middle School and several personal bests were set.

It was mostly a head-to-head battle between Incline and South Tahoe with Whittell having limited athletes.

The South Tahoe girls topped Incline 96-85 while the Highlander boys beat the Vikings 98-79.

Event winners for girls included: Kiana Buchholz (ST) in the 100 and 200 and high jump, Rebecca Noble (IV) in the 400, Kira Noble (IV) in the 800, Catherine Kerrigan (ST) in the 1600, Jada Moore (IV) in the 100-and 300-meter hurdles, Millie Jenkins, Emily Manship, Moore and Rebecca Noble won the 4×100 relay, Zoe Brosch (ST) won the shot put and discus, and Whittell’s Avignon Rippett won the long jump.

For the boys, event winners included: Niklas Pietzke (IV) in the 400 and 1600, Brayden Snearly (IV) in high jump and long jump, Brendan Pietzke (IV) in the 800, Trenten Schouten, Isaac Borrayo, Brandon Ruiz-Alvarez and Mason Hage (ST) won the 4×100 relay, Niklas and Brendan Pietzke, Josiah and Noah McMahan (IV) won the 4×400 relay, and Marcos Resendiz (IV) won the shot put and discus.

Incline senior Brayden Snearly sets a personal best in the long jump Tuesday and won the event. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune
South Tahoe’s Zoe Brosch sets a personal best in discus Tuesday at South Tahoe Middle School. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Whittell’s Avignon Rippett set a personal best in winning the long jump. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune
South Tahoe sophomore Max Menke hung with Nevada state champion Niklas Pietzke for a couple laps in the 1,600-meter run on Tuesday. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune
South Tahoe’s Isaac Borrayo hands off the baton to Brandon Ruiz-Alvaraz during the Vikings run to victory in the 4x100 relay. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Whittell’s Ella Moretti competes in the 400-meter run Tuesday. Bill Rozak
Tahoe Daily Tribune