The Spanish Springs 11-year-olds battled Silver State twice and came away with 11-7 and 6-4 victories to win state and punch their ticket to the regional tournament in Elk Grove, Calif.
In the best-of-three series, Spanish Springs took control by winning the opener. It then controlled the second game but watched Silver State erase a 4-0 Spanish Springs lead with a four-run fourth.
Silver State shortstop Trevor French made a diving stop and a throw from his knees to record the final out of the top of the fourth. Silver State then parlayed that into its first offensive momentum of the game.
To start the bottom of the fourth, Sam Sanchez reached on a walk and then went to third when Hunter Dunithan dropped down a sacrifice bunt but the throw to first got away, leaving runners on second and third.
Clayton Lent followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield for Silver State’s first run of the game.
With runners on the corners, Jake Miller squeezed home a run, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Spanish Springs got its first out of the inning on a comebacker to pitcher Conner Pulp. Initially the grounder deflected off Pulp and he had to chase it down behind the mound to make the throw to first. However, an ill-advised throw across the diamond to third went to the fence and a third run scored in the inning.
Silver State got the equalizer on Jason Ferati’s RBI groundout, but Spanish Springs answered right back in the top of the fifth frame.
Nate Miller drew a one-out walk and came home on Joe Prizina’s run-scoring single to right field.
Spanish Springs added an insurance run in the inning. Tristan Hussey smoked a shot to left field that two-hopped the fence for a double. He later scored on an error, accounting for the final 6-4 margin.
Pulp pitched all six innings to pick up the win on the mound. He also broke the scoreless tie in the top of the first.
Pulp’s leadoff walk put a runner on base and he scampered home on a wild pitch in the first inning.
Spanish Springs took a 4-0 advantage with a three-run rally in the third.
Pulp laced a double. Calvin Bailey was safe on a sacrifice bunt when the Silver State catcher didn’t make a throw to any base.
A fielder’s choice loaded them up for Prizina, who just got under a ball, lifting a flyball to deep right field that was dropped, allowing two runs to score. Hussey’s RBI single up the middle pushed the lead to 4-0.
•Earlier in the day, the Spanish Springs 8-year-olds pulled out something special to earn the top seed for today’s single elimination tournament that will decide the state champion at the age group.
Fallon was up 9-0 on the Spanish Springs 8-year-olds but saw the hosts rally for 10 unanswered runs over the final two innings to secure a 10-9 victory in a game shortened to four innings due to time-limit restrictions.
In the bottom of the third, Ryan Cooper started the rally by getting on base thanks to a Fallon fielding error. Cooper touched home thanks to a wild pitch.
Drew Rovens walked and Lukas Hutson hit a hard grounder through the infield that went for Spanish Springs’ first hit and drove in his team’s second run as he ended up on second base.
Then it was Teegan Smith’s turn, who crushed a shot to right field that rolled all the way to the fence as he circled the sacks for an inside-the-parker.
Spanish Springs kept the momentum going. An error allowed Zack Harbart to get on base and he eventually scored on a wild pitch.
With one out, Ivan Sanchez tripled to left field and Aramus Anderson’s two-out bloop single knocked Sanchez in to conclude the six-run inning.
Spanish Springs finished its comeback trail in the bottom of the fourth with four runs.
Cooper initiated the rally again. This time he hit a hard liner to left for a double and made it 9-7 when he scored on a fielding error with the bases loaded.
Rovens sprinted home on a wild pitch, closing the gap to 9-8.
With one out and runners on second and third, JJ Dain came through in the clutch, delivering a game-winning two-run single to right field.
After going hitless in the first two innings, Spanish Springs finished with seven hits to Fallon’s three.
Fallon scored nine runs on only two hits, taking advantage of eight walks and two hit batsmen. Kaden Crutcher had a two-run single in the top of the second and Brayden Blea drove in a pair with a line drive that sprayed up chalk from the right-field line for a triple.
Spanish Springs plays in the semifinals of the single-elimination bracket today at 1:30 p.m.. The championship game is at 4 p.m.