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Sparks Centennial 11s win district crown
by Tribune Staff
Jul 06, 2013 | 2713 views | 0 0 comments | 123 123 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks Centennial pitcher Rylan Charles fires a pitch toward the plate during his complete-game shutout of Reno National Friday night.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks Centennial pitcher Rylan Charles fires a pitch toward the plate during his complete-game shutout of Reno National Friday night.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - Rylan Charles (left) and Sparks Centennial teammate Benat Van Hoose were euphoric after winning a District 1 Little League tournament championship.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Rylan Charles (left) and Sparks Centennial teammate Benat Van Hoose were euphoric after winning a District 1 Little League tournament championship.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks Centennial all-star Christian Carlson is hoisted in the air by assistant coach Brent Husted during a postgame celebration Friday night.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks Centennial all-star Christian Carlson is hoisted in the air by assistant coach Brent Husted during a postgame celebration Friday night.
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Rylan Charles baffled the Reno National all-stars Friday night, hurling a four-hit shutout and leading his Sparks Centennial squad to a 2-0 triumph in the District 1 11-year-old all-star Little League tournament's championship game at Governor's Fields in Carson City.

Charles turned in the six-inning complete-game victory, needing only 75 pitches. He struck out eight and waked just one in the pitching gem.

"He threw strikes," said his father and Sparks centennial coach Ray Charles, a long-time softball and baseball coach at Reed High School. "Rylan kept the ball down and our defense was outstanding. The team really does play good defense when he pitches. Walks kill you in Little League. So to have just one walk, and it was late, then to keep them off the bases was huge. He had one inning where he needed only three pitches to retire the side. When you pound the zone, good things happen."

It didn't take long for Sparks Centennial to find some offense. The local squad scratched out a run in the top of the first inning and never trailed. Christian Carlson and Dylan Husted singled. Rylan Charles was intentionally walked to load the bases. Carlson scored soon after on a wild pitch.

Unfortunately for Sparks, that's all the scoring it could muster in the first. In fact, there wasn't much more offense the rest of the way. The Centennials did add an insurance run in the fourth. Three straight singles, by Carlson, Husted and Rylan Charles resulted in the second Sparks run.

Carlson had three hits in the win while Husted and Rylan Charles added two apiece. That trio rapped out seven of the nine Sparks Centennial hits.

"We left some runners on but they turned a couple double plays that hurt us too," coach Charles said. "Reno National played clean defense. Their second baseman was unbelievable. And then we didn't move runners up a couple times. When you don't move runners up and take care of business, that can come back and bite you. We were fortunate to hold them off."

Both teams played error-free baseball in the tourney title tilt.

Sparks Centennial, which also won the District 1 tournament as 10-year-olds last summer, earns a trip back to the state tournament. The state tournament is scheduled for July 19-22 in Las Vegas. The Centennials picked up a win against two losses at state last summer and will look to improve on that mark in their second go round.

"Our expectations are to improve," coach Charles said. "Once you've been there, it's a little different. Our kids will be a little more relaxed. We had to fight through District 1 just to get here. That's prepared us for state. I'm a little concerned about the heat. We'll have to work on it and figure out how to play in it. Out of the 11 kids on our roster, 10 are back from last year, so we've got good experience going down there."

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