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Portola too much for Sparks
by Aaron Retherford
Apr 20, 2011 | 800 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks baserunner Michelle Cardenas gets down the third baseline while evaluating the action in Wednesday's SHS loss.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Sparks baserunner Michelle Cardenas gets down the third baseline while evaluating the action in Wednesday's SHS loss.
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The score was one-sided in Wednesday’s non-league softball meeting between Sparks and Portola, but the action didn’t feel dominated.

However, that was just a silver lining on what turned out to be a 12-1 five-inning rout by the Tigers.

“The last few games other teams are just stringing together hits and we’re not,” Sparks softball coach Frank Avilla said. “We’re hitting the ball at people and making a lot of base running mistakes that we shouldn’t be. They know how to do that. All I can attribute that to is a lack of focus. We just have to keep working hard.”

The California school scored a single unearned run in the top of the first and the game stayed competitive for over half the game. Portola pushed across all the runs it would need in the second frame.

The Tigers loaded the bases with no outs, but a pop-up in foul territory led to the inning’s first out and failed to move the runners.

Then, Casey Pearson came up to the plate and spanked a belt-high pitch for a two-run double to center field. Portola capped the three-run rally on Ellie Kibble’s RBI groundout to shortstop, increasing the visiting squad’s lead to 4-0.

Freshman Sandra Kibble went the distance in the circle for the Tigers. Sparks scored its lone run off her in the bottom of the second, but it was unearned.

Krystal Parker led off the bottom of the second by hitting a grounder that got past the first baseman and then snuck by the right fielder. Parker sped all the way to third on the play. She scored on a passed ball that went to the backstop, cutting the deficit to 4-1.

The score remained that way after the third inning. The Railroaders had a good chance to close the gap, but stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. It was the story of the game for the Maroon and Gold.

“I’m going off the top of my head, but I know we stranded at least 10,” Avilla said. “Then we go an press. What I’m really upset with is our leadership. Our leadership isn’t following the role like it should be. They’re making excuses for plays they should make. It’s just about accountability and they all will be held accountable. We’re going to keep working hard.”

Portola’s two-out rally in the fourth added two runs to the scoreboard.

Ellie Kibble benefited from a wind-aided pop-up that carried over the second baseman. She stole second and was hit in the helmet by the throw, allowing her to scamper to third. A walk to Catherine Cruse put runners on the corners for Daijia Thomas, who took a low pitch and hit a line drive shot to the gap in left-center field. Her two-bagger plated both runners, pushing the lead to 6-1.

Sparks left two more runners on in the bottom of the fourth.

The Tigers doubled their run total through the first four innings with a six-run fifth inning to institute the 10-run mercy rule. All of those runs came after there were two outs.

The first run of the inning scored on an error.

Ellie Kibble made it 8-1 with her run-scoring single to left field.

A walk left the sacks saturated for Thomas. She blooped a single over second base, driving in a pair of runs, bumping the gap up to 10-1.

McKenna Popish’s two-run single that dropped into shallow center field capped the rally.

Sparks (2-13) is back in action in a Mount Rose League single game at Truckee Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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