With the score knotted at 3-3, Elko went to the dish in the top of the sixth and put a five-spot on the scoreboard to seize an 8-3 advantage. The Indians added an insurance run in the seventh although the extra cushion wouldn’t be needed as Elko went on to a 9-3 victory.
Sparks started off hot in the first inning, posting three runs to take the lead. Austin Garrick took a walk to lead off the bottom half of the first followed by an error that allowed Casey Carter to reach base safely. Keiffer Putman then stepped to the plate and ripped a double to score Garrick. Jared Longland followed and promptly traded places with Putman for a two-RBI double to leave Sparks on top 3-0.
From there though, the Railroaders went cold as their first-inning production would be the last of the day.
Elko responded immediately with three runs of its own in the top of the second to tie the game up. In the top of half of the sixth frame, the Indians distanced themselves from SHS as they batted through the order to post five runs.
“They had a couple hits and we made some mistakes in the field,” Sparks coach Greg Vasko said of Elko’s sixth inning. “We had a couple errant throws and when you add that on top of playing against a pretty good team, it will cost you. You can’t have those mistakes.”
Sparks (6-3, 3-3) attempted to string together a rally of its own in the bottom half of the sixth but let a prime opportunity fizzle away. After loading the bases with just one out, a pair of strikeouts ended the inning quietly for the Railroaders.
“We had people on base, we just didn’t get them in,” Vasko said. “I mean we had the bases loaded in the sixth inning and a base hit here and there and we’re right back in the ball game. We just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had.”
Putman led the Railroaders’ effort on the day, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Sparks had seven hits on the game.
The Railroaders wrap up the trio of crossover games today. Sparks will take on Spring Creek at 9 a.m. before meeting Lowry at noon.
"We have to play together as a unit and not make mistakes,” Vasko said. “We have to swing the bat at the plate. We went down looking and just weren’t swinging it. We’re taught to swing, so tomorrow we’re going to swing the bats.”