With its backs against the wall, Sparks Centennial knocked off back-to-back No. 2 seeds to reach Monday night’s semifinal.
However, North Valley was on its own improbable run as the two No. 4 seeds locked up at Shadow Mountain Park in Sparks.
While the Centennials only had five hits on the night, they saved the best for last as Jon Mikal Ugalde went down and got a low pitch, golfing it to the stars and over the left-field fence for a two-run shot in the top of the last inning.
Ugalde’s home run gave Sparks some breathing room and the visitors held on for a 6-3 victory. Sparks will face the No. 1 seed from the blue pool, Reno National, today at 8 p.m. on Field 1 at Shadow Mountain.
On the mound for the Centennials, Jamie Romero dealt 4 1-3 innings, allowing all three North Valley runs but picked up the win thanks to Blake Zabala’s RBI in the fourth frame, which made it a 4-1 game. North Valley then rallied for two runs in the bottom of the fourth, cutting the deficit to 4-3.
Alex Padilla came on in relief and tossed 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, but came out with one out left in the game.
North Valley managed just four base hits on the night as both offenses found wild pitches more useful to advance runners. Ugalde’s bomb was the only time the outfield had to move back on a batted ball.