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Sparks Centennial Juniors to play for all-star district championship
by Tribune Staff
Jul 10, 2013 | 1093 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sparks Centennial will play for a championship Friday night in Carson City at the District 1 Juniors Division All-Star Tournament.

The local team, comprised of 13- and 14-year-olds, sits undefeated in tournament play after beating Carson 9-2 Tuesday and slipping by Reno American 10-8 in eight innings Wednesday.

On Wednesday against Reno American, Sparks Centennial fell behind 5-2 after three innings. That score remained intact until the Centennials posted a five-run sixth-inning.

Reno American rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to knot the score at sevens. Both teams scored one run in the seventh to force extra baseball, but Sparks managed two more runs in the eighth inning while Reno American was held scoreless, securing the two-run triumph for the Rail City squad.

"We've been slow starting with the sticks," Sparks Centennial coach Steven Howe said. "Our guys off the bench have been the key. We've made changes and they've ignited the offense. Both times we've made the switches, we've banged out a bunch of runs.

"These type of late-game comebacks have gelled the team together and made everyone feel like it's a team effort. Not one kid is doing everything. Last night, every single kid contributed offensively or defensively."

In Tuesday's tournament opener, Carson captured an early edge, capitalizing on a pair of first-inning Sparks errors to score a 1-0 lead. The Centennial club knotted the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the third on a Nicholas Howe RBI single.

SC responded with five runs in the fifth and eventually took a 6-2 lead. Sparks added three more runs in the sixth to account for its final seven-run advantage.

Sparks hurler Anthony Messenger scattered five hits over six innings to record the win, striking out six and walking just one.

Sparks meets the winner of tonight's Carson vs. Reno American game in the tourney title tilt Friday at 7:30 p.m. If Sparks loses that game, it would have to be beaten again Saturday night to lose the tournament championship.

"We're in the driver's seat, so we're pretty happy with where we're at," Howe said.
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