Forty-five minutes after the Centennials drubbed South Tahoe 14-2 in a mercy-rule shortened game, Sparks National was one out away from taking down Reno American West and keeping its hope of advancing to the single elimination bracket alive.
But no one could have predicted what happened next.
RAW had one runner on but trailed 9-4 in the bottom of the sixth with two outs. Alex Scott drew a walk to keep the inning going for Joel Seth, who singled in Nolan Dalpe.
Ty Maker was then walked to load the bases, and both the No. 8 and 9 hitters were hit by pitches for two easy RBIs.
With the lead down to 9-7, the Nationals brought in relief pitcher Tyler Berge, who helped his team build the large lead by going 3-for-3 at the plate with a two-run triple and three runs scored. However, he couldn’t get it done on the mound.
Berge walked Patrick Deleon, forcing in a run, cutting the deficit to 9-8. A pitch in the dirt got away from catcher Wade Webb and allowed the game-tying run to cross home.
But RAW did not want to go extra innings. Avery Nork drew a walk, again loading the bases. On a 3-1 pitch to Dalpe, RAW fans watched ball four and the winning run come home.
RAW only had one hit during the six-run rally.
Sparks National enjoyed a 9-2 advantage following a five-run fourth inning. Adrian Garcia recorded his second RBI single of the game in the top of the fourth. Three batters later, Jordan Frost singled in a run and bench player Elijah Lopez followed with a two-run single on a line drive to left field. Bryce Bryant capped the spurt with a run-scoring single.
The Nationals started to pull away as early as the second inning. Mark Kostsios’ single and Berge’s three-bagger plated three runs, handing the local squad a 4-1 lead. It wouldn’t be enough.
Sparks National hopes to avoid going winless in its four games when it concludes Pool B play today at 5:30 p.m. against Reno National.
Like the Nationals, the Sparks Centennial bench also came through. Jon Pinto drove in three runs and reached base safely in both his plate appearances in the four-inning triumph.
A day after smacking four hits and driving in five runs, Brandon Koszuth scorched a pair of two-run doubles to help lead the Centennials to the lopsided win. Austin Beard stayed hot also, adding three singles and an RBI. Beard is now 8-for-8 in the past two games.
Sparks Centennial jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first inning and bumped the gap to 8-0 with a five-run rally in the top of the third before South Tahoe finally got on the board with its only two runs in the game in the bottom half of the inning. Grant Hummeson’s ground-rule double plated the two runs for South Tahoe.
The Centennials tallied six more runs in the fourth to set up the 10-run mercy rule.
Chris Anderson came off the bench and was 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Logan Davis also added two hits and an RBI.
Mateo Lemus pitched 2 2-3 innings of relief to pick up the win on the mound, clinching the top seed from Pool A with a 4-0 record. The single elimination bracket starts Thursday at 5:30 p.m.
•Results from the Sparks National 10-11-year-old all-stars’ Tuesday night game were unavailable at press time. Both the National and Centennial 10-11-year-olds finish round robin action tonight at 8 p.m. against Reno Continental and Washoe respectively.