Heading into the bottom of the fourth inning trailing Washoe 10-8, Centennial broke out its sticks and put a 10-spot on the scoreboard that would prove to be the deciding factor of the game.
Two walks and an error got things started for Centennial in the bottom frame of the fourth. With the bases loaded and one out, Zach Means sent a frozen rope over the outreached glove of Washoe’s shortstop to plate J.T. Skiver and Ryan Thackaberry, tying the game at 10-10. A pair of walks then pushed Jacob Williamson home before Rylan Charles doubled to the left-field fence, scoring two more for a 13-10 lead.
Things were just getting started for Centennial as Skiver drove in two more runs with a single to right field. After a single from Alex Padilla, Williamson got in on the mix with his second at-bat of the inning, sending a single up the middle that scored another run for the SC 10s, pushing their lead to 16-10. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Casey Burfield ripped a single down the left-field line that plated another duo of runners, leaving the scoreboard reading 18-10 in favor of Sparks Centennial.
An insurance run was added in the bottom of the fifth but proved unnecessary as Burfield clamped down on the mound for SC. A 3-up, 3-down top of the fifth cooled off the Washoe bats before Burfield closed out the victory in the top of the sixth to put the Centennial 10s into the championship game on Friday.
To start the game, Washoe pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the first but Sparks Centennial answered right back with a pair of its own.
After a walk to Christian Carlson, Dylan Husted turned on the first pitch he saw and sent a towering two-run shot deep over the left-field fence to tie the game at 2-2.
In the top of the second, Washoe answered back with a barrage of runs. After loading the bases with two singles and a walk, Geno Crow hit a line drive into center field where a diving miss cleared the base paths and gave Washoe a 5-2 lead. A ground-rule double from Nolan Craddock followed, pushing the Washoe lead to 6-2. After a pop out, Chris Rosa hit a bloop single into right field to plate Craddock, leaving Washoe ahead 7-2.
Washoe’s damage was short-lived as Centennial quickly erased the deficit with its next at-bat. Two walks with a single sandwiched in between, loaded the sacks for the Centennial 10s before a walk pushed Burfield home to cut the Washoe lead to 7-3. Charles then doubled to center field for two more runs. An ensuing walk to Skiver set up Padilla to repeat the feat with a ground-rule double to left-center field to tie the game at 7-7.
A scoreless top of the third allowed Centennial to take its first lead of the game in the bottom half. With Means standing on third base and two outs, Husted delivered a single through the right side of the infield to give Centennial an 8-7 advantage.
Washoe retook the lead in the top of the fourth with a leadoff single from Craddock and a trio of doubles to follow from Carter Lewis, Rosa and Jake Wenzel for a 10-8 edge before Centennial's comeback.
Centennial will look to win the tournament in the championship game on Friday with first pitch set for 5:30 at Governors Field in Carson City.
•On the 11-year-olds side of things in the Nevada District 1 Little League All-Star Tournament, the Sparks Centennial squad did not fair as well as its younger counterparts, dropping a 7-5 decision to the group from South Tahoe in their Monday night match-up.
Sparks Centennial got itself into trouble early, digging a hole that unfortunately for the SC 11s proved too large to climb out of.
After South Tahoe managed to push a run home in the bottom of the first inning on a passed ball, Centennial spotted its opponents five runs in the bottom half of the second.
A leadoff walk set the stage for South Tahoe's Zach Dill, who sent a rocket deep to center field for a two-run homer to extend South Tahoe's advantage to 3-0. Another walk followed, allowing Mickey Sullivan to rope an RBI double down the left field line. A single advanced Sullivan to third where a passed ball brought him home. Chris Pfister then singled to score Nick Buchholtz for a 6-0 South Tahoe lead.
Sparks Centennial tried to fight its way back, but its efforts proved too little, too late.
Three runs in the top of the third cut the deficit in half. Derek Rosemark, Takoda Kester and Scotty Cameron started things off in the third with a trio of singles for Centennial's first run of the game. After a fielder's choice, Jeremy Gallegos doubled to the fence in center field to add two runs to the inning's damage, leaving the score at 6-3.
A run was tacked on by South Tahoe in the bottom of the third for a 7-3 edge before the Centennial 11s resumed their comeback effort in the fourth.
Daniel Walsh led off with a single, followed by Jordan Oliver reaching base safely on a hit-by-pitch. Rosemark brought Walsh home with a single to right field before a fielder's choice off the bat of Kester left the score at the final of 7-5. Sparks Centennial made things interesting in the top of the sixth with back-to-back walks, but with two outs already recorded South Tahoe recorded the final out of the game on a ground out for the win.
Centennial will try to keep its championship dreams alive with a game tonight in the loser's bracket. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m.