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CV All-Stars prepare for battle

by Chuck Smock, Staff Writer

The three Carson Valley Little League all-star teams that start play this week have at least one thing in common: experience.

All three teams have players and coaches who know what it takes to win their District I tournaments.

The Senior (15- and 16-year-olds) and Junior (13- and 14-year-olds) District I tournaments will be played at Lampe Park beginning Thursday. The CV Little League All-Stars start their tournament tonight in Reno.

Manager Bruce Jacobsen is entering his eighth summer as an all-stars coach. He has an experienced roster – including six players who won the state title and advanced to regional play in Denver two years ago – which has given him the luxury of being able to work on fundamentals and execution during the first few weeks of the all-star season.

“I think what happens, with two to three weeks of practice, is you can work them too hard, especially in this heat” Jacobsen said Monday afternoon. “So much of this game is mental. If you can get them to focus for more than 30 seconds, that’s the key.”

Evan Berry (pitcher), Tommy Hoyle (pitcher), Cal Lewis (third base), Matt Jacobsen (first base) and Tim Johnston (second base) all played for the CV Seniors last summer.

Ryan Curtis (second base, shortstop, pitcher), Mike Morris (center field), Casey Lind (left field), Sean Linehan (right field), Ben Veeder (second base) and Darren Muren (shortstop) played for the Carson Valley Juniors in 1998.

Newcomers Alex Segheri (second base, shortstop), Matt Paul (catcher) and Ryan Haltom (right field) round out the 14-man roster.

Jacobsen is being assisted by Don Muren and Tim Curtis.

“Our strength has been our offense,” Jacobsen said. “We have some guys who can hit the ball pretty good.

“If we have a weakness, it would be in pitching. We have a couple of top-flight pitchers who can beat anybody, but we don’t have a lot of depth.”

The Senior tournament features only two teams after North Tahoe pulled out Monday. Carson Valley will play Truckee in a best-of-three series starting Thursday at 8 p.m. at Lampe Park.

Rick Miller coached the CV Little League team to the district championship last summer. Five players from that team join nine members of the state championship CV Junior squad of a year ago.

“They look like they’re going to blend real well as a team,” said Miller, who is being assisted by Mike Rippee and Kevin Huff. “They all like each other. There are no cliques on this team.

“If the kids play to their potential, they can do every bit as much as they did last year.”

Adam Johnson (outfield), Zach Johnson (outfield), Travis Baker (shortstop, pitcher), Eric Olson (first base), Marc Walling (second base), James Bunting (third base, outfield), Andrew Andrews (catcher, pitcher), Chad Cooper (third base, catcher, pitcher) and Brian DeMarta (center field, pitcher) played for the Junior team last season that won the state title and advanced to divisional play in New Mexico.

Bryan Miller (outfield, pitcher), Luke Rippee (shortstop, pitcher), Brandon Huff (third base, second base, pitcher), Denny Goldston (catcher, pitcher, first base) and Eli Bently (outfield, pitcher) were members of the CV Little League team that finished second at the state tournament last summer.

Coach Miller has been extremely pleased with the intensity his team has shown through the early part of the summer.

“Our defensive squad looks exceptional,” he said. “I don’t know how they’ll play in games, but I’m really happy with what I’ve seen in practice.

“And we seem to be a real good hitting team. That’s from one to 14. Everybody’s real hungry to play.”

Bill Johnson and Tim “The Colonel” Bunting are also helping coach the Juniors, who will open District I play at 5 p.m. Thursday at Lampe Park.

n Little League All-Stars

Rocky Walling is the head coach for Carson Valley’s Little League All-Stars. His assistant coaches are Marco Alcalde and Lance Hartzell.

The team will open the District I tournament tonight at 8 against Reno American in north Reno’s Lemon Valley.

Carson Valley is the two-time defending District 1 champion.

“We’ll be doing our best to uphold the tradition of Carson Valley,” Walling said. “But, it’s tough to three-peat because everyone is gunning for you.”

Carson Valley has three players returning from last year’s team and three from the 1998 Hooligan all-star team.

Daniel Boucher (first base, pitcher), Kyle Luken (catcher, pitcher) and Chris Honer (pitcher, shortstop) all played on the 11-12 team last summer.

Former Hooligans players Chad Walling (second base), Jimmy Pierce (third base) and Pat Sergott (pitcher, shortstop) add experience at key positions for the CV squad.

Cory Hartzell (outfield), Spike Agosta (outfield), Iani Dunbar (outfield) Bryan Brady (outfield, infield) and Alex Hall (first base, utility) give Carson Valley 11 12-year-olds on its roster.

Outfielder D.J. Brady is the lone 11-year-old on the team.

“We have a well-balanced, all-around team: good defense, good hitting, good, solid pitching,” said Walling, whose team has been working out since June 15. “I think we have a good chance of advancing, of course, every team there does.

“We have a mix of experienced players and some talented newcomers.

Experience is very helpful not only with the players but with the coaching staff.”

n 9- and 10-year-olds

The Carson Valley 9-10 All-Stars lost their first game in District 1 play, but fought back to win their next four before a loss to North Tahoe Sunday night eliminated them from the tournament.

Carson Valley finished fourth in the 16-team bracket.

“I would like to congratulate the 9- and 10-year-old team for the courage they showed,” said Walling, the coach for the 11-12 Carson Valley team. “It was really second to none. They really battled. It was something to see.”

Steve Pruitt coached the team with help from Gary Davis and John Mannelly. He said playing six games in six days took its toll on his young, but talented, team.

“I was so proud of them, even in the loss, they battled all they way,” Pruitt said. “I thought we were the best team in the tournament. A couple of key hits and we were there. It was a major team effort. It was just an honor to coach them. And the support from the parents was awesome.”

The Carson Valley roster included Roman Davis, Ryan Pruitt, Austin Barnett, Reese Kizer, Niko Saladis, Travis Woodbury, Willie Morgan, Keith Olson, Philip Mannelly, Tommy O’Brien, Tristan Bates, Bryt Lewis and Tyler Tinsman.

Olson hit three home runs in tournament, including a grad slam Sunday night against Reno American.

Davis, at shortstop, Ryan Pruitt, in center field, and Willie Morgan, at catcher, highlighted a strong defensive effort, according to their coach.

And seven different players pitched during the tournament.

“It was an outstanding effort by all seven guys,” Pruitt said.