Sparks broke open a tight game with six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and nixed any hopes its guests from Truckee had of mounting a comeback. The victory leaves Sparks with its longest winning streak in years. The Railroaders have not been on the short end of a score since a 12-2 loss at Fallon on April 1.
"It feels good to beat Truckee," Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. "They're a really good team. We did what we needed to win ... The kids realize what's at stake and they are stepping up. That's what maturity does for a team."
Sparks senior Martin Jordan thwarted the Truckee offense with a stellar pitching performance. The Railroaders right-hander struck out only two Wolverines hitters, but he also walked only two and allowed just two hits and one earned run en route to collecting the pitching victory.
"He had good location and mixed speeds," Vasko said. "He wasn't trying to strike out a lot of people. He just wanted them to put the ball in play and let our defense take care of it."
Clinging to a 4-2 lead, Sparks came up for its turn in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Quinn Lightfoot was hit by a pitch. Jordan singled and Jared Longland walked to load the bases. Leonel Abundis hit into a fielder's choice on which he reached safely and Lightfoot scored. Brandon Harris followed and made it a 6-2 game with a run-scoring single. Next, Dennis Morelli and Kirk Putman both roped two-run doubles into right-center field, accounting for the local school's last four runs and the final 10-2 margin.
"It's always good to get some insurance," Vasko said. "The kids were focused the whole game. They fought to the end and finished the game. I'm really proud of these guys."
Truckee's Steven Baker singled and scored to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. The California school's advantage was short-lived. Jordan helped his own cause by blasting a towering solo homer to right field that knotted the score at ones in the bottom of the third.
Sparks was not done in the inning. Abundis singled. Morelli reached on a fielder's choice and both circled the sacks on a Putman double.
The Railroaders extended their edge to 4-1 when they tacked on a run in the fourth frame. Tyler Dresbach singled and came around to score after a Truckee error and a balk.
The Wolverines pushed across an unearned run in the top of the fifth but it was all the offense they'd get the rest of the way.
"Jordan threw a great game for them and they were ready to play," Truckee coach Mike Ellis said. "Jordan did a good job keeping us off balance and
they hit the ball well to the opposite field. When we hit anything, it seemed to be right at them. Sparks played well. You have to tip your hat."
Sparks (14-5, 7-0) and Truckee (15-10) meet at THS Saturday for a doubleheader that begins at 11 a.m.
•Truckee came up with a much better result in the softball meeting between the two conference rivals Wednesday. The Wolverines scored six runs in the first inning and never trailed.
Truckee led 7-3 after two innings and then gradually pulled away. The Wolverines had a big fourth inning, scoring seven runs. Sparks hurt its cause by committing nine errors on the day, including six in Truckee's big fourth.
"There are bright spots. We just have to continue to keep playing hard. That's all we can do," Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. "We have to play seven full innings. They hit a grand slam in the first inning but we didn't shrug our shoulders. We came back and got a few runs. We're still learning. We ran into some outs. It's just experience."
Sparks will play Lovelock in a non-league doubleheader today at SHS. First pitch of Game 1 is slated for 3:30 p.m.