Sparks could have folded after losing the early game in the eighth inning, but the hosts didn’t quit, even when they saw their 10-2 lead disappear.
The Railroaders rallied for nine runs in the second inning of Game 2, all of which were unearned after the Warriors committed five errors in the inning.
However, Sparks did come up with some big hits off Whittell pitcher Amanda Harris, who pitched both games and seemingly lost steam in the second.
The Railroaders scored all nine runs after two outs were recorded. Riley Regas and Jocelyn Vasquez hit back-to-back RBI singles before Lachelle Clem doubled in two runs. The rally continued with a run-scoring triple by Madisyn Locke and an RBI double by Marissa Cossio. The Railroaders went ahead 10-2 on Madison Franco’s RBI single to cap the big inning that saw 14 Railroaders stride to the plate.
But the lead was not safe.
Whittell answered right back with a six-run top of the third and took the lead with a trio of runs in the fourth.
The 11-10 lead did not last long.
An RBI double by Cossio tied the game at 11-11 and Sparks grabbed the edge for good thanks to an illegal pitch that made it 12-11 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Railroaders put the game away with five runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth.
Cossio continued her big game by crushing a three-run homer in the fifth frame. She went 3-for-4 with five RBI.
Vasquez helped her cause in the circle by driving in Regas with a single in the fifth after Regas led off the inning with a triple. Regas and Locke also rapped out three hits in the victory. Locke was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle.
“Isn’t this game wonderful? The girl who was making a lot of errors made the final three outs of the game,” Sparks softball coach Frank Avilla said. “All these girls are working hard, and they’re trying to play the game properly. I’d be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t tired after today. They’re giving us a chance. Our pitching is keeping us in games. Now that our discipline is starting to come at the plate, we’re starting to peak.”
In Game 1, Sparks was down 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Railroaders had runners on first and second and no outs.
After a strikeout, Harris looked like she recorded a second consecutive strikeout, but was called for an illegal pitch. That moved up the runners to second and third, allowing the tying run to score on an infield groundout. Sparks stranded a potential winning run at third.
In the top of the eighth, Emily Harris hit a one-out double and traded places with Bree Brewer, who doubled her home. Brewer came home on a sacrifice fly, giving the Warriors a 5-3 lead.
Despite a leadoff triple down the right-field line by Michelle Cardenas, Sparks wouldn’t get a run in the bottom half of the eighth until after Cardenas was gunned down at the plate on a controversial call. Vasquez drove in a run with a bloop single, accounting for the final 5-4 margin.
Sparks (8-9, 4-2) is back in action against South Tahoe next Saturday.