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Sparks baseball splits, softball swept
by Tribune Staff
Mar 10, 2012 | 955 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After taking its first game of the season with a 9-5 victory, the Sparks baseball team kept the momentum rolling and its bats hot in its second tilt of the young season.

Facing off against Carlin in the Lovelock tournament, the Railroaders coasted to a 9-0 victory. Starting pitcher Jared Longland went the distance for the Maroon and Gold, earning the win with three walks and eight strikeouts through six innings of work.

“He threw really well today,” Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. “He was hitting locations and making it tough on Carlin and kept them a little bit off balance. He gave up just four hits.”

Totaling nine hits, the Railroaders’ scattered runs throughout the game, putting up two runs in the first, second and fifth innings each. Keiffer Putman led the battering assault, going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Casey Carter also went 2-for-3, while L.B. Rose, Cody McClelland and Brandon Harris all hit a double.

In its second game of the day the Maroon and Gold battled back and forth against Lovelock, but eventually fell to the Mustangs 10-4.

Holding a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the third, Sparks starting pitcher Carter watched as Lovelock put a seven spot on the scoreboard. Carter was chased from the game, walking five and striking out two through three innings.

“It was pretty close from the get go. The lead kept changing and then they scored seven runs in the third,” Vasko said. “Our defense just kind of fell apart. We just made a bunch of errors. It just seemed like it was a domino effect and we have to take care of that. We weren’t giving our pitcher the support that he needed. We had several ground balls that should have been taken care of. We had fly balls that were kind of in-betweeners that dropped in.

“We have to improve on our defense. We’ll work on it. We have to be a little bit more patient hitters, but the main thing we need to focus on is our defense.”

Rose led the Railroaders with a 2-for-2 performance including a home run, while Harris went 2-for-3 with a double.

Sparks (2-1) returns to the diamond Saturday when it opens Mount Rose League play with a doubleheader against Incline set to start at 11 a.m.

The Sparks softball team did not fare as well as the baseball team did at the plate, dropping both of its games with an 18-5 loss to Carlin and an 11-0 defeat at the hands of Lovelock. The Lady Railroaders managed just three hits in their first contest and two in the second.

For Sparks coach Frank Avilla, there were still some positives from the weekend.

“We played everybody,” Avilla said. “This was a weekend for that. Everybody played all weekend long. Now Monday we’ll get back to getting ready for league. This was a good weekend for us to see where to put everybody. It was a rush to get everybody in, especially those who have never played before.

“We’re a very young team and we just want them to take a bite and go feed at the dish. We just want to get them some experience, get some at-bats and some innings in so we can get them a little bit more comfortable and help them to understand the game.”

While the Maroon and Gold was not scattering hits all over the field, Avilla said that his team hit the ball well against Lovelock, but unfortunately hit the ball right to defenders. Now Avilla wants the Railroaders to stay focused heading into the rest of their season.

“I want them to play seven full innings no matter what the score is, no matter where we’re at in it,” Avilla said. “If we can do that and put that together and get rid of the jitters and nervousness, we’ll be in good shape. I think we’re going to be okay.”

Sparks (0-3) opens league play when it hosts Incline Saturday for a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.
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