In the first game, the Sparks sluggers needed only five innings to put away North Tahoe, 12-2, as the 10-run mercy rule went into effect. Then, Sparks outlasted the visiting Lakers 13-8 in the second game.
Five of the Railroaders' 12 runs in Game 1 were the result of errors by North Tahoe. There were countless other times when the Lakers shot themselves in the foot by overthrowing or dropping the baseball. Junior pitcher Brendan Nelson struggled to throw pickoffs to first base and those errors cost his team several bases throughout the game.
The Lakers' outfield also had trouble handling fly-balls, letting them drop or missing the catch altogether.
After the Lakers put themselves on the scoreboard first, the Railroaders got that run back and more. Senior Kirk Putman got the train moving by sacrificing himself to bring senior Leonel Abundis in for the team’s first score. Seniors Dennis Morelli and Joe Christ each came home after a wild pitch by Nelson. This made the score 3-1 at the end of the first inning.
Sparks starting pitcher Tyler Dresbach meanwhile, was having an easy time locating his curveball and retiring Laker batters.
Morelli brought in Abundis for another run in the second inning to raise the score to 4-1
The Railroaders offense did some heavy lifting in the bottom of the third frame by putting up five runs. Dresbach hit an RBI single to begin the inning and later scored himself after the Lakers' third baseman was overthrown. Soon after, Sparks sophomore Keiffer Putman grounded out but not before junior Kody McClelland scored another run from third. Junior Brandon Harris smacked an RBI triple that hit the left-field fence and was later brought home by Morelli. At the end of the fifth, Sparks was on top 9-1.
Kirk Putman ended the game in the bottom of the fifth when he slugged an RBI triple off the right-field wall to put his team up by 10 runs.
The day’s second game featured a bit more drama. NTHS pitcher Colin Spencer hit three straight Railroaders at one point in the bottom of the fifth inning, much to the displeasure of the Sparks faithful. Sparks head baseball coach Greg Vasko didn’t believe the hits were intentional.
“I don’t think that was intentional, “he said. “He was having a hard time with his control.”
As for the rest of the game, it was much of the same. North Tahoe scored first in the opening inning and went up 3-0. Sparks came right back in the bottom half of the inning after Morelli hit a two-run triple and later was brought home thanks to a wild pitch by Spencer.
The home team also put another five runs up on the board in its half of the third inning. Harris smacked a go-ahead RBI single and later scored thanks to a Spencer wild pitch. Morelli and Kirk Putman came across home plate after North Tahoe’s Conner Altick badly overthrew his first baseman. The score at that point was 7-3. Sparks' Martin Jordan finished the inning by hitting an RBI single up the middle.
Nelson hit a 2-run double in the top of the fourth to bring the Lakers to within 8-5.
Jordan belted an RBI double in the fifth and later scored when Harris was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. McClelland brought in another run to raise the score to 11-5.
Abundis put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth by hitting a 2-run double to put his team up by the final score, 13-8.
Sparks snuffed out a potential North Tahoe rally by ending the top of the seventh inning with a double play.
Despite so many mistakes by his team, Vasko was just glad to get the wins.
“I’m happy to get the wins, but not happy with the way we played,” he said. “We can play a lot better than we did today but a win is a win. We took advantage of their mistakes in the first game and they took advantage of ours in the second. It’s a good thing we had more runs on the board.”
The Railroaders improved to 5-0 in league play and 7-5 overall. Next, Sparks will host Whittell on Tuesday at 4 p.m.