“The first game against Fernley was pretty close in the beginning; then the bottom just fell out,” Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. “It was relatively close and then they got a couple of hits and a couple of walks and we made a couple mistakes, and next thing you know they have a pretty decent lead on us.”
With the Vaqueros holding a slight 4-1 advantage heading into the sixth inning, Fernley ripped off seven runs to induce the mercy rule.
A leadoff single was followed by an error on a sacrifice bunt and then a three-run home run that pushed the lead to 7-1. A pair of walks ensued before an error loaded the bases and another group of mistakes allowed Fernley to leave the scoreboard reading the final margin of 11-1.
“We made too many mistakes,” Vasko said. “That’s what it comes down to. That’s what took place.”
The Railroaders bounced back in their second game, jumping on Dayton right away with six runs in the first inning.
After a leadoff hit batsman, an error and walk loaded the bases, senior catcher L.B. Rose cleared the sacks with a three-run double. Jared Longland traded places with Rose with another double before Kody McClelland rounded the bases with a two-run homer.
“After the last two games where we got 10-run ruled, I think our guys decided they wanted to play some baseball,” Vasko said.
Facing off against the Dust Devils, the Maroon and Gold flexed its power at the dish. Rose had a huge game at the plate, going 4-for-4, including a home run and seven RBI. Longland also batted a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBI. Seniors James McCarty and Brandon Harris both went 3-for-4, finishing the game with four RBI and two RBI, respectively.
Longland, who took the mound in the second contest, earned the win while giving up just four hits.
Seeing his team do its best impersonation of Jekyll and Hyde, Vasko said he wished he knew the answer to the two polar opposite showings.
“That’s the million dollar question we’ve been asking ourselves,” Vasko said. “If I knew the answer to what would make them turn around that quick, I’d do it all the time. I just told them that we went out there to Fallon and we were 0-2 in our first pair of games and now it’s a matter of what’s in your heart and how prideful can you be. They started off and they scored six straight runs.
Despite the rough weekend for Sparks (8-3, 5-0 Mount Rose League), Vasko said he is not too worried.
“Regardless of this weekend, we’re still not sitting too bad,” Vasko said. “We’re still our league leaders. We just have to play the game the way it’s meant to be played. We have to make the routine plays that are at us and just focus on the things that we can control. You can’t control how windy it is, but you can control the mental aspect of it all and your approach at the plate.”
Sparks hosts Silver Stage High on Tuesday with first pitch set for 4 p.m.