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Railroaders romp over Warriors
by Aaron Retherford
Apr 12, 2011 | 719 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks High's Dennis Morelli (center) is congratulated by teammates after smacking a third-inning grand slam.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks High's Dennis Morelli (center) is congratulated by teammates after smacking a third-inning grand slam.
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Once Whittell was forced to swing its bats, it became obvious who was the superior baseball team in a Mount Rose League clash at Sparks High Tuesday.

The Railroaders swept the league series by taking down the Warriors 15-3, outscoring Whittell 30-3 in the two games.

Sparks endured a bumpy start before picking up its second five-inning win over the Stateline school.

In the top of the first inning, Sparks starting pitcher Kirk Putman balked home a run.

The Railroaders were able to tie it up in the bottom half of the inning. Leadoff hitter Brandon Harris singled to left field and went from first to third on Dennis Morelli’s single to right. Harris came home on Putman’s RBI groundout.

Putman got into trouble again in the second inning and couldn’t record an out. He hit the first two batters he faced before the Warriors loaded the bases with a bunt single. Putman hit three batters in one-plus innings of work, all occurring with three balls already on those hitters. The bunt single was the lone hit Whittell got off Putman, but he never had pin-point control, putting six runners on base.

Putman’s third base on balls during his outing forced in a run and ended his day.

Harris came on in relief with the bases still loaded and no outs. Harris struck out the first two batters he faced and induced a rally-killing pop-up to first.

Whittell led 2-1, but that did not last long after Sparks got its at-bats in the bottom half of the second.

Tyler Dresbach initiated the rally with a leadoff double to left field. Jared Longland’s single put runners on the corners for the home team. A wild pitch in the dirt moved both runners up 90 feet and tied the game at 2-2.

Harris belted an RBI double to right-center field, forging the Maroon and Gold ahead for good, 3-2. Morelli plated him with a single to left field for a 4-2 edge.

Harris only allowed one hit during his four innings of relief, but it came off the bat of Matt Schorr to lead off the top of the third. Schorr launched a towering flyball to right field that was curving foul but stayed straight enough to carry over the fence inside the right-field foul pole, closing the gap to 4-3.

Harris struck out six and walked three to record the pitching win.

“He had a lot of confidence. He worked hard and got the job done,” Sparks baseball coach Greg Vasko said of Harris.

Harris got plenty of run support from his teammates after the Railroaders sent 14 hitters to the plate in the third inning.

To start the bottom of the third, Martin Jordan reached base on an error at second base. That’s also how he scored, pushing the lead to 5-3. The two errors also prolonged Whittell starting pitcher Alex Potnick’s inning. All nine runs Sparks pushed across in the third were unearned.

Longland drove in a run with a line drive single to center field, making it a 6-3 game.

With two outs and the bases juiced, Morelli came up to the plate and put a charge into a long flyball that carried over the fence in right-center field. The grand slam padded the cushion to 11-3. Morelli was 3-for-3 with five RBIs.

Joe Christ capped the nine-run rally with an RBI double, leaving the score 13-3 after three innings.

Putman’s two-run double in the fourth frame accounted for the final margin.

“They hit the ball well. They were being patient at the plate,” Vasko said. “They stayed within themselves and didn’t chase that many bad pitches.”

Harris was also 3-for-3 at the plate, helping his cause with a pair of doubles. Putman, Dresbach and Longland each chipped in two hits apiece.

Sparks (8-5, 6-0 in league) hosts a non-league doubleheader with North Valleys Thursday. The first game is scheduled for 11 a.m.
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