CHS baseball doesn’t quite make it
The Coleville High School baseball team didn’t quite make it to the state tournament, but it turned in the best season the program has seen in a long time.
The Wolves, who finished the regular season 7-7 and in third place in the Class A Northern Zone, were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by host Eureka, 11-10.
“I’m pretty happy. From what I understand, this is the best season we’ve had in a long time,” Coleville coach Gene Lazar said. “The boys were up, happy and they worked hard. It was the idea of being a machine rather than just individuals. I’m pretty proud of them.”
The Wolves would not have originally qualified for the state tourney because only the top two teams – Smith Valley and Virginia City -from the league get automatic berths. However, Eureka was unable to finish its regular season because of weather-related problems, so a playoff was organized.
Smith Valley was given a bye out of the tournament, so Coleville came in as the No. 2 seed behind Virginia City and ahead of Eureka and Round Mountain. Virginia City eventually beat Eureka in the playoff’s championship game to earn the league’s second state berth.
Eureka jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning in the playoff game, but the Wolves rallied for five runs in the second and four in the fourth to take a big lead.
Eureka responded with three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth to tie the game at 9-all. Coleville took the lead with one run in the top of the seventh, but Eureka answered with two in the bottom half of the inning and won.
Curtis Kaiser, Justin Lewallen and Kevin Lazar all had two hits while Matt Carter, Joell Carter, Andy Ringness and Jim Lewallen all added one hit. Kaiser hit a home run, Jim Lewallen hit a triple and Joell Carter and Justin Lewallen each hit a double.
Kaiser and Justin Lewallen had two RBIs.
Joell Carter led the Wolves for the season with a .438 batting average, an .833 slugging percentage and a .526 on-base percentage. He also led the team with five homers and tied for the team lead with Kevin Lazar with four doubles.
Lazar, who hit .418, slugged .655 and reached base 45 percent of the time, led the team with 23 hits and 20 RBIs.
Kaiser led the team with 10 stolen bases and 21 runs scored.
Matt Carter was third on the team in RBIs (14), walks (8) and runs scored (15).
Justin Lewallen led the team in triples (3), Jim Lewallen led the team in walks (14), Velarde Ignacio tied with Jim Lewallen for the team lead in hit-by-pitches (2) and Ringness led the team in sacrifices (2).
Josh Allen led the team in fielding percentage (.922). Jim Lewallen led pitchers who went at least 14 innings with a 5.14 ERA.
Lazar said he will return to coach the Wolves next year.
“Their personal qualities have convinced me to continue for next year,” Lazar said.
The Wolves will lose some big sticks in the lineup with the departure of several key seniors, but they will have a host of talented players back. The program will also get to use a new batting cage.
“A lot of people have done a lot to help (the program),” Lazar said.
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