“We didn’t play as well as we could have,” Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. “We didn’t play clean today. We made too many mistakes in the field. I thought we did okay selecting pitches at the plate. We struck out looking a couple times though, so I think there can be a little more focus there.”
After Fernley posted the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning, the host added to its lead the next frame with a pair of runs.
A pair of singles with a hit batter in between loaded the bases for the Vaqueros before a fielder’s choice allowed one run to score. A bloop single that dropped just in front of the Sparks right fielder then pushed the FHS advantage to 3-0.
In the top of the fourth, the Railroaders responded with a run of their own.
With runners on first and second, Brandon Friedmann hit into a potential double play. On the second leg of the two-out attempt though, the ball flew over the outstretched glove of Fernley’s first baseman, allowing Jared Longland to trot home, cutting the score to 3-1.
Unfortunately for the Maroon and Gold, that would be the culmination of its offensive production as it ended the inning with the bases full.
Fernley widened its advantage in the bottom half of the fourth with a trio of runs before it added two more in the fifth inning to result in the 8-1 final.
The loss marked Sparks’ first loss of its young season, leaving the Railroaders at 3-1. Sparks will look to rebound today in a pair of games. The Railroaders will first take on Fallon at 11:30 a.m. before squaring off against Dayton at 2 p.m. Both games will be played in Dayton.
“We’re a young team, but that’s not an excuse,” Vasko said. “We have two games tomorrow so we’ll see how we play and how we bounce back.
“We just have to play clean. If we clean that up a little bit, we should be okay. We’re a young team and we’re still learning. We have some older guys, but they can’t do it all. We’ll be alright though.”
Unfortunately for the Lady Railroaders, they suffered the same fate as their counterparts, but in a much quicker fashion.
Unable to string anything together from the batter’s box and plagued by a strain of fielding errors, Sparks fell 10-0 in five innings.
Fernley held a 5-0 edge heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Vaqueros doubled their production to that point in the final frame to induce the 10-run mercy rule.
While FHS had its bats going, Sparks also helped the Vaqueros as four runs went unearned in the first inning. The Railroaders were never able to dig themselves out of the hole.
“We left six on base and we spotted them four runs in the first inning,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “Last year though this game was 30-0. Their pitcher is a good pitcher, but it’s a maturity factor for us from the standpoint of understanding the game.
“We have to mentally prepare and do a better job of pre-game warm-up. And that might be a coaching issue. That may be something we need to change, but it still rests with them. It still rests on their shoulders that when the game starts, they have to be ready to go and today they weren’t.”
Sparks (2-3) will hope to see an immediate improvement today as it faces Fallon at 11 a.m. and Dayton at 2 p.m.
“Our girls are coming along and we’ll get better the next game, I guarantee it,” Avilla said. “I’m still excited and enthused. I think we’re in the middle of our learning curve right now.”