R-C Sports Notebook: Too tough to call
Personally, I was a little dissappointed to see only three Douglas baseball players make the first-team All-Sierra League squad this year.
This was, afterall, a team that managed to win its league title.
It placed two players, second baseman Willie Morgan and right fielder Tyler May, in the top 10 in the league in batting average. Neither guy made first-team status.
First baseman Phil Mannelly finished in the top five in the league in RBIs. He didn’t make it either.
Center fielder Niko Saladis was in the top eight in hits, the top six in runs scored and the top three in stolen bases. Another snub.
Sophomore Wyatt Graham was tied for fifth in wins, fourth in innings pitched, ninth in strikeouts and fourth in ERA. Second team.
Douglas’ three first-teamers, Cory Eilers, Nate Whalin and Jordan Hadlock, were very deserving. But so were the five mentioned above, as was senior Ryan Pruitt who was as close as automatic as they come at third base, along with his .345 clip at the plate with six doubles and three home runs.
Granted, each one of those guys mentioned got a second-team nod, but still, when a team that didn’t even make the playoffs (Reno), gets more guys on the first team than the actual league champ, it does leave cause for raised eyebrows.
It became apparent early on in the season, however, that there were going to be some snubs on the Douglas side.
The team was simply too deep. There was an impact player at every spot on the field, along with solid relief pitchers like senior Pat Lahlum and Troy Torres.
Offensively, the Tigers tied with Carson for the most runs scored as a team during league play (203) in the entire region. Ten Douglas players contributed double-figure RBIs on the season.
They were solid defensively around the horn and top to bottom in the batting lineup.
All three starting pitchers were among the strongest in the league, but with no clear-cut ace, it was hard for opposing coaches to seperate when it came time to vote on all-league teams.
With 10 guys that could make a strong argument for first-team honors, it was a given that some would be left out in the cold.
Even so, when Douglas claimed the league title in 2005, seven players were named first-team all-league. With all respect to that memorable team, this year’s club was quite arguably better in the long run.
Their run to the Northern 4A title game should serve as adequate proof of that.
It’s also a testament to the continuing development of the Sierra League. Since that 2005 title, Damonte Ranch came into the mix with a very solid squad and appropriately fielded this year’s player of the year (Matt Gardner) and first-team center fielder (Josh Blake, who took a spot that logically would have previously gone to Saladis).
Carson was as deep as it has been in years and South Tahoe has gotten much stronger, with Stephen Yarrow and Otto Trebotich among the leagues best hitters.
Reno and Wooster took downturns this year, but Hug was much-improved.
It should make for an interesting next couple of years on the baseball side of things.
In softball, Emily Weaver was a nice surprise on the first-team for Douglas while junior center fielder Lauren Hoppe moved one step closer to a rare sweep with her third consecutive first-team nod.
Stephanie Harper, a second-teamer, probably deserved a place on the first-team, but some of her best softball came in the playoffs, after the voting had already taken place.
Shortstop Tisha Luken was a first-teamer last year, but there were a number of strong shortstops coming up around the league this year and she ended up on the second team.
Sophomore Mackenzie Cauley was the remaining second-teamer for Douglas, giving the Tigers four players on the top two teams who will be back next year.
The Douglas boys’ basketball team has been going through offseason workouts and is preparing to defend their title in the upcoming Memorial Day Tournament at Reno High.
The Tigers will be looking to fill in where a senior-laden lineup has departed.
“We’re in that process of trying to develop a new identity,” coach Rob Streeter said.
“Our numbers have really increased as far as spring participation goes.
“Our eighth-graders are up and we’ve been running about 30 kids a night, which is really nice.”
Streeter coached the Fallon Soroptomist All-Star Classic Tuesday night.