Sparks nearly got out of the first inning unscathed, but North Valleys’ Schyler Rullman hit a two-out, two-strike pitch to the fence for a three-run double to key the north Reno school’s big first inning.
North Valleys got another big blast when Mason Blake bashed a three-run homer in the Panthers’ three-run fifth inning.
“This felt good for our kids,” North Valleys coach Beau Walker said. “We were excited to get out there and play, especially because the weather has been so bad. We played within ourselves and played well.”
North Valleys starting pitcher Van Emmerik stole the show on Opening Day. He scattered four hits in five shutout innings of work, striking out 12 without issuing a walk.
“He located his curveball and threw it in hitters’ counts,” Walker said. “He was definitely picking up confidence. We pulled him at 65 pitches because we didn’t want him to go too long this early in the year.”
Trailing 12-0 after five-plus innings, Sparks got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh. Lionel Abundis and Dennis Morelli ripped a pair of doubles to highlight the frame.
Sparks returns to action today when it hosts Fallon at 12:30 p.m. and Lassen of Susanville at 3:30 p.m.