With a 4-3 win over Spring Creek in its back pocket, Sparks was tied with Lowry 7-7 in the fifth inning.
The Buckaroos had the bases loaded with two outs and Tyler Brumm at the plate, who went 1-for-5 in the game. That one hit just happened to be a grand slam as Brumm’s shot to left field carried over the fence, handing the visitors an 11-7 lead.
Lowry went on to win 11-8 after the Railroaders added one run in the bottom of the seventh. Jared Longland singled to lead off the inning and Tyler Crow knocked him in with a double to opposite field in left field.
Lost in the shuffle was Longland’s performance at the plate. The catcher went 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. Crow had two hits in the loss. However, walks and errors proved costly for the home squad.
“We gave it to them. We fought hard early in the game, but walks and errors just killed us,” Sparks baseball coach Greg Vasko said. “We just have to get back to work on Monday.”
Sparks scored first in its crossover league clash with Lowry Saturday afternoon.
Keiffer Putman reached base on a fielder’s choice that could have been a double play had the ball not been bobbled at shortstop.
Putman then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Longland drove him home with a single just inside the third-base line for the initial 1-0 lead after one inning of play.
That slim edge didn’t last long as Lowry plated a pair of runs in the second inning.
A single by Michael Arenas, a fielder’s choice and a walk loaded the bases for the Buckaroos.
No. 8 hitter Tytin Johnson singled softly through the right side of the infield, driving in Arenas. However, the ball was mishandled in right field, allowing a second run to score on the play.
But that just seemed to wake up the Railroaders.
In the bottom half of the second, Sparks batted around and took a 7-2 advantage with a six-run rally.
Pitcher Travis Dulgar helped his cause with a leadoff single. A walk and hit batsman left the bases juiced with one out.
Leadoff hitter Austin Garrick hit a grounder that deflected off a diving third baseman’s glove. The ball ricocheted away from the shortstop, allowing two runs to come home on the infield single for a 3-2 Sparks lead.
An error enabled a run to score and a sac fly by Putman made it a 5-2 ballgame. With one runner on and two outs, Longland put a charge in the first pitch he saw and deposited it beyond the left-field fence. The two-run homer capped the rally and left the Railroaders with a 7-2 lead after two innings of play.
When Dulgar took the mound in the top of the third, he didn’t have his best stuff.
A walk, infield error and another walk loaded the bases with no outs. It didn’t get better for Dulgar, who beaned and walked the next two batters and saw his day come to a close with his team leading 7-4.
With the bases still full of Buckaroos, Dustin Alexander came on in relief of Dulgar. Alexander almost escaped the inning unscathed after inducing an infield popup and striking out the next batter, but a wild pitch with two outs chased home a run. Alexander went on to strike out that batter, keeping Sparks in front 7-5.
The first four frames didn’t decide anything after Lowry rallied for two runs in the top of the fourth to tie the game at 7-7.
A walk and error put two runners in scoring position. A passed ball brought home the first run and then Arenas knotted the game with a double over third base that squirted away from Putman.
Jesse Studebaker picked up the pitching win, working six innings. He gave up seven runs but none scored after the second inning. He finished with five strikeouts, two walks and two hit batsmen.
In the first game Saturday morning, Sparks watched Spring Creek push across two runs in the opening inning, but that didn’t leave the hosts discouraged.
The Railroaders started the bottom of the second with back-to-back hit batsmen. Dulgar singled in a run and Sparks got another on a bunt by Mac Green as part of a three-run rally that gave the Maroon and Gold the lead for good.
In the fourth, Collin Ray doubled and scored on a Brandon Coleman single for an insurance run that proved to be the game winner after the Spartans tallied one more in the top of the fifth.
Carter went the distance on the mound for Sparks. He allowed five hits and walked five while striking out eight for the win.
The Railroaders finished with six hits in the game. No one had more than one, and Ray’s double was the only one that went for extra bases.
With the split, Sparks sits 7-4 overall and 4-4 in league play.