Sparks trailed by three after six innings but watched its guests from Truckee put up eight runs in the top of the seventh inning and cruise to 19-8 triumph.
“We lost focus. That’s been the issue. We’ve got a young team,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “When we focus for seven full innings, we do well.”
Sparks led 7-4 after four innings but gave up three, four and eight runs in the last three innings as its winning hopes were dashed.
The Wolverines jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after the top half of the first inning, but Sparks had an answer. The Railroaders used three walks and two hits to put up four scores of its own. Ally Tallman singled and scored while Amanda Mahon posted an RBI single in the SHS rally.
In the second inning, Katie Hippert reached on an error for Sparks and came home on a triple by Kristina Avilla. Tallman brought Avilla plateward with an RBI groundout.
Truckee tacked on a run in the fourth, but Sparks came back with a fourth-inning run as well. Mahon tripled and scored when Krystal Johnson reached on an error.
Sparks final run came in the fifth. Rebecca Patterson got down a bunt single and circled the sacks after singles by Hippert and Avilla.
Avilla, Mahon and Hippert all had two hits in the loss for Sparks.
‘’We’ll be better next time out,” Avilla said. “I thought we hit well, but we have to play for seven full innings. We also had some base-running mistakes. That will happen early in the year and we’ll get it shored up.”
Sparks returns to action Friday when it plays in the Susanville, Calif. tournament.
Truckee used a big fifth inning to break the game open en route to a 9-2 triumph in the 3A North opener for both schools.
“Truckee has a good team. There’s just a lot of things we need to work on,” second-year Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. “We had runners in scoring position a lot and didn’t get them in. It’s still early in the season. I’m not ready to get too concerned yet.”
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Sparks scored a run to pull within 3-2. Danny Monroe and Kent Orta walked. Then James Justice laced a run-scoring single to plate Monroe. Unfortunately for the Railroaders, the wheels fell off from there.
Truckee rapped out five hits and took advantage of a Sparks error to push across its six runs in the top of the fifth frame. Jordan Diero and Michael Fagan had doubles to highlight the rally. Monroe, the Railroaders’ starting pitcher, was knocked out of the game when the visiting Wolverines rallied.
Sparks High’s senior left-hander took the loss, tossing five innings while scattering eight hits. He struck out six and walked three. Monroe was tagged for the nine runs, but only five were earned as the Railroaders committed six errors in defeat.
Truckee broke the scoreless tie with a run in the top of inning three. Sparks came back in the bottom of the frame and knotted the game at 1-1. Justice walked and Jaime Pacheco doubled. Justice came home on an RBI single by Juan Rodriguez.
The Wolverines pushed their lead to 3-1 with two runs in the top of the third inning.
Mclane Brady worked the first four innings on the hill for Truckee and picked up the win. He limited Sparks to five hits in a five-strikeout, five-walk effort.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve started off league with a win. We played good defense today and that was probably the difference,” Wolverines coach Mike Ellis said, alluding to his team’s error-free play. “We made plays.”
A bright spot for Sparks was the pitching relief outing of Martin Jordan. He turned in two shutout innings for the Railroaders. He did not give up a hit or walk and struck out three in the stint.