Saturday’s games were very different from one another. Needing only two hits, Sparks took the opener, 2-1. But in the nightcap, South Tahoe jumped out to a 13-1 lead before settling for a 13-11 triumph.
In Game 2, South Tahoe got on the scoreboard first when leadoff batter Taylor Week reached base on an error and eventually sprinted home following a wild pitch, handing the Vikings a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The California school pushed across four runs in the top of the second without hitting the ball out of the infield by taking advantage of Sparks’ lack of composure.
Jordan Mann got on when a throw from third base on a routine grounder went airborne over the first baseman. Mann ended up on second.
Kolby Eymann dropped down a sacrifice bunt and Sparks pitcher Casey Carter decided to try for the lead runner instead. Carter air-mailed his throw out of play, allowing Mann to score and Eymann got second base.
River Quinn was then hit by a pitch, No. 9 hitter RJ Rivera pushed a bunt past first baseman Brandon Friedmann for an infield single.
A wild pitch advanced all three runners 90 feet and increased South Tahoe’s advantage to 3-0.
The Vikings took a 4-0 lead on a safety squeeze by Week.
With one out, an intentional walk loaded the bases. An unintentional walk to Cody Higgins forced in a run and left the Vikings with a 5-0 lead.
Sparks got one run back in the bottom of the second on an infield groundout by Friedmann, cutting the deficit to 5-1.
It got ugly again for the Maroon and Gold in the top of the fourth. The bases were full of Vikings after an error, hit batsman and walk. Higgins earned his second easy RBI with a bases-loaded walk.
Tyler Sharp knocked in one run with a jamshot to shallow center field.
Still with the bases juiced, Eymann laid down a squeeze bunt. Carter tried to bare hand the ball and flip it home for a force out, but he never got control.
South Tahoe pushed its lead to 9-1 thanks to a wild pitch.
The Vikings padded the cushion to more than 10 runs in the fifth frame in hopes of instituting the 10-run mercy rule after Sparks’ half of the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Dominic Diana smoked a two-run single to left field, and Sharp hit a double down the left-field line that drove in a pair of runs for a 13-1 edge.
Fans were not destined to go home early though.
Carter scraped the back of the short porch in right field for solo homer.
Keiffer Putman went from first to third on a double by Jared Longland. Putman scored on an infield groundout and a Collin Ray double brought in Longland for a 13-4 score.
Sparks made things interesting in the seventh, tallying seven runs.
Friedmann had an RBI single. Brandon Coleman cleared the bases loaded with a double, and Carter had a two-run double in the final inning.
“We just said ‘here take the game’ and it was a little too late when we started hitting the ball and taking advantage of their mistakes,” Sparks baseball coach Greg Vasko said. “In all reality, we didn’t play well enough to win.”
Like their female counterparts, the Railroaders baseball squad was busy stealing a Game 1 victory in the bottom of the final inning on a bad throw.
In the bottom of the seventh, Longland ripped a one-out single.
With two outs, Sparks hit what looked like an inning-ending groundball to second base. However, the throw to first was in the dirt and Longland scored the winning run.
That also gave Longland the pitching win, who allowed four hits, four walks and one hit batsman in the complete-game triumph. He struck out nine.
South Tahoe got its only run in the top of the first. Week tripled to start the game and scored his team’s only run.
The Railroaders knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Carter belted a triple with one out. Longland plated him with a sacrifice fly.
Sparks (8-5, 5-5) will take on Incline in a doubleheader Saturday.