It’s not like Morelli needed the 15 runs his teammates gave him anyway. He was one walk away from pitching a perfect five innings in Tuesday afternoon’s 15-0 victory over the visiting Whittell Warriors.
In his five innings of work, Morelli walked only one batter, struck out 11 Warriors, and didn’t allow a single hit in the game shortened by the 10-run mercy rule. The senior right-hander felt all his pitches were working and going exactly where he wanted them to go.
“I threw how I normally throw, just hitting my spots,“ Morelli said. “My curveball was working today and it threw them off balance. It feels good when my team backs me up (with run support). It makes me feel like I don’t have to work as hard.” The Railroader offense was still clicking since its last game against Incline one week ago when they put up 39 runs in two games. Senior Martin Jordan began the scoring spree by jumping on a full-count pitch and slugging the ball over the right-field fence for a home run.
A couple of walks later, Sparks loaded the bases with no outs. Sophomore Jared Longland squeaked a grounder past Warrior pitcher Alex Vogt to bring in senior Joe Christ. That raised the score to 2-0.
Senior Tyler Dresbach reached home after a wild pitch and senior Leonel Abundis brought junior Quinn Lightfoot home by hitting a sacrifice fly ball to make the score 4-0. Junior Kody McClelland also reached home after a wild pitch.
Morelli, Jordan, and Christ each hit an RBI double in their second at-bat of the inning to give the team an 8-0 lead over Whittell.
The bottom of the third inning was much of the same story for the Railroaders as they put up another three runs.
Whittell’s Cody Gibson came the closest to getting a hit off Morelli during the blowout. Unfortunately for him, he hammered a line drive in the top of the fourth inning right back at Morelli who threw up his glove in defense and caught the ball for the final out. At that point, Morelli couldn’t be stopped and Sparks was having everything go right.
The Railroaders scored another three runs thanks to Abundis, junior Brandon Harris and Morelli to give the hosts a 15-0 lead.
Sparks head coach Greg Vasko said that the team has put in the work to improve its hitting.
“We’ve been working hard on our two-strike hitting because we were looking at a lot of those kinds of pitches earlier in the year,” Vasko said. “Give the kids a lot of credit. I can’t do it for them. They have to put forth the effort and that’s what they’ve been doing.”
As for Morelli’s effort, Vasko was impressed.
“He only threw 63 pitches in five innings, just outstanding,” he said. “He was hitting locations and just threw well. He did what we needed him to do.”
The Railroaders and their hot bats will go to Fallon on Friday at 4 p.m.