Greenlee, Laing shine in Kelley Showcase
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – South Tahoe’s Stephen Yarrow literally stole the George Maldonado Award away from Sierra League teammate Ryan Laing.
Yarrow hit an inside-the-park grandslam in the top of the ninth, and the Sierra League went on to a 20-12 win in the 9th Annual Kelley Baseball Showcase Thursday evening at Peccole Park.
Laing, a senior-to-be at Douglas High, seemed to be a logical choice by going 3-for-4, scoring once, walking twice and driving in a run. Yarrow’s slam enabled him to go 2-for-3 with three runs scored and the aforementioned four RBI. In a game where offense ruled, it was impossible to overlook Yarrow’s performance for the game’s MVP.
“I didn’t realize how far it bounced away (from the fielders),” Yarrow said, describing his homer. “This is a fantastic park to hit in.”
“He’s a great player,” Laing said of Yarrow. “He deserved it.”
Not that Laing went home empty-handed. The Douglas star pounded seven homers to win the Home Run Derby and a brand-new baseball bat from Kelley. McQueen’s Brian Barnett was runner-up with six.
“I’m glad I won that (the derby),” Laing said. “I haven’t won one before. Everybody pulls their head a couple of times. You always try to hit one farther than you did the last time. I tried to put a fluid swing on the ball. “I thought I did pretty well. I was glad I got my first hit out of the way (early). I didn’t get a hit when I played in this game last year.”
The grandslam wasn’t the only big hit for Yarrow. His single in the seventh inning started a three-run rally off High Desert pitcher Tony Thompson of Galena that gave the Sierra squad the lead for good.
After Yarrow’s leadoff single, Reno High’s Tim Moore singled Yarrow to second. Carson’s Brooks Greenlee, who went 2-for-5 with three RBI, singled home Yarrow to snap an 11-all tie. Thompson retired the next two batters, but Reno’s Mike Brown singled home two runs to make it 14-11.
Centennial’s Billy D’Arienzo doubled in a run to make it 15-11 in the top of the eighth. Carson’s Tony Fagan pitched the eighth inning for the Sierra squad and allowed a single run to make it 15-12 entering the ninth.
That set the stage for Yarrow’s last hurrah.
Silverado’s Chase Bradford singled and Laing walked. Reno’s Jon Dankworth singled home Bradford for a 16-12 lead. Brown struck out and then Laing was tagged out at home on a slow roller to the left of the plate. Wooster’s Scott Green reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Yarrow followed moments later with his blast.
Damonte Ranch’s Matt Gardner came on in the ninth and worked a perfect 1-2-3 inning. He was the seventh pitcher used by Sierra coach Pete Savage.
It was a bittersweet game if you are a Carson High fan.
Greenlee, who played four different positions, played well. In fact, he was a serious candidate for the Maldonado Award. Fagan went 1-for-3 and his two-run double in the second keyed a four-run inning. It wasn’t such a good day for pitcher Kyle Mandoki, who was tagged for six runs in the bottom of the fourth, enabling the High Desert squad to cut the lead to 9-7.
“I think I burned myself out (today),” Greenlee said. “I felt I left everything on that field, and that’s all you can ask for. I had a lot of fun. It’s always nice to beat the heck out of the other team.”
That’s Sierra League pride talking. Even though this was more of an exhibition, the win is always nice.
That’s what makes this showcase more enjoyable for others, according to Laing.
“It’s great to play with all your friends from the other teams,” Laing said.
Notes: Reno lefty Garrett Luippold, who worked the first two innings for the Sierra League, was the winner of the first-ever Steve Masten Award, which was given to the outstanding pitcher of the game. The award was named after the ex-Spanish Springs star and University of Nevada freshman, who tragically took his own life this past spring. Luippold allowed a run and two hits … Stew Colton, who is the organizer of the event, estimated that there were at least 12 scouts from Major League organizations present and around 14 or 15 colleges and junior colleges represented, including Ritchie Price, head coach at Kansas, and Nevada’s Gary Powers. There were also assistant coaches from Hawai’i, NCAA champ Oregon State, USF and UOP. WNCC’s D.J. Whittemore also was present … There were five players from Southern Nevada that were invited to the game by Colton, who originally had planned for the event to go back to a North-South format. Colton didn’t receive enough support from the coaches in Southern Nevada, however… Besides taking batting practice under the watchful eyes of the scouts and coaches, the players ran a 60-yard dash and also did some fielding and throwing from the outfield and infield.
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