Like in the Game 1 defeat Thursday, Sparks scratched out a run in the top of the first for an early 1-0 lead. Lowry erased the deficit in the second inning Thursday but didn't wait even that long Friday. The host Buckaroos pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to jump ahead 2-1.
The Sparks offense struggled to get much going, failing to score in the next four innings. Lowry tacked on runs in the third and the fifth frames to forge ahead 4-1, but Sparks (14-9) did not roll over and play dead.
The SHS crew rallied for two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh to deadlock the playoff affair at 4-4 and force extra innings. Sparks did not score in the top of the eighth, but Lowry (17-10) scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth with two outs to post the walk-off win.
“We played tight the whole game. We were down 4-1. We battled back and tied it up,” Sparks baseball coach Greg Vasko said. “It went into extra innings. We got some base runners, but we just couldn’t get them home. I think today’s performance was better. The kids played really hard and were focused. I’m proud of what they did and how they fought.”
Jared Longland was the tough-luck loser for Sparks. He went the distance and was saddled with the defeat, giving up five runs, four earned, while scattering 11 Buckaroo hits, striking out five and walking four.
Railroaders sophomore Austin Garrick was the lone Sparks player to finish with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 at the plate. He also scored a pair of runs.