But first up was Washoe in the play-in game, a perennial favorite to win any local Little League tournament. And just like that, the Centennials were sent down to the consolation bracket championship game with their second straight loss, a 16-5 decision to Washoe in five innings Tuesday night at Governors Field in Carson City. Erik Mohr came off the bench for Washoe and sparked his team with three hits and four RBI.
Washoe appeared to have scored the game’s first run when it loaded the bases and Jack Weise sprinted home after a wild pitch went to the backstop. But Sparks Centennial appealed the play and Weise was called out. Washoe then failed to post a run in the opening inning.
The Centennials turned that dodged bullet into all sorts of offensive momentum in the bottom half of the first inning.
Derek Rosemark blasted a leadoff double off the top of the fence and Takoda Kester put runners on the corners with a liner to center field.
An error at third loaded the bases for Sparks Centennial. Jeremy Gallegos followed with a run-scoring single, a hard grounder up the middle, breaking the scoreless tie.
Still with the bases full of Centennial runners, a passed ball enabled everyone to move up and a run to score.
After back-to-back strikeouts by Washoe pitcher August Souza, Dominic LeGrange hit a little dribbler down the third-base line. Souza made a sliding snag and tried to make the play at first from his knees, but his throw was well off the mark. Two runs scored on the two-base error, the third error of the inning for Washoe.
But Washoe wasn’t about to roll over because it trailed 4-0 after one inning.
Aidan Elliott led off the top of the second with a ground-rule double to center field. A wild pitch advanced him to third and he scored his team’s first run on a Luke Jaksick RBI groundout.
Washoe wasn’t done. Consecutive singles by Paul Vossen and Ben Blackmore preceded a base on balls to Weise, which loaded the bases. Vossen came home on Josh Menante’s infield single and two more runs touched the plate when a throw to home from third went to the backstop, tying the game at 4-4.
And then the momentum belonged to Washoe. After shutting down the Centennials in the bottom of the second, Washoe turned to its bench and hit some balls hard.
A Texas leaguer by Jaksick put a runner on with one out. Pinch hitter Adam Vossen hit a fly ball to deep center field that was dropped, putting runners on first and third for Mohr in his pinch-hitting duties. Mohr put a charge into a Kester pitch and drilled the base of the fence in right-center for an RBI two-bagger.
Weise stepped into the batter’s box and sent two runs home with his double down the right-field line, handing Washoe a 7-4 lead.
Sparks Centennial answered right back. Souza walked the first two hitters of the bottom of the third and handed the ball over to relief pitcher Menante, who didn’t fair much better, walking the first batter he faced.
With the sacks saturated, LeGrange dumped a soft liner into shallow right field, bringing the Centennials to within two with an RBI single, 7-5.
That’s as close as Sparks could get as Menante got three straight outs and left the bases loaded.
Then Washoe went back to work.
Cole Demosthenes doubled to right to lead off the top of the fourth. A bunt single by Gunner Gouldsmith left runners on the corners and a wild pitch allowed Demosthenes to score.
A hit batsman and a bunt fielder’s choice loaded them up for Adam Vossen, who hit another fly ball that was dropped in the outfield. This time, two runs scored, forging Washoe into a 10-5 lead. Mohr came through again, launching a two-run double in the left-center field gap.
A second dropped fly ball in the inning enabled a run to score, capping the six-run rally and leaving Washoe with a 13-5 cushion.
Washoe went up by double digits in the top of the fifth frame, scoring on a double steal with runners on first and third and getting its 15th run when Mohr capped his 3-for-3, four-RBI performance with an RBI single. Washoe batted around the order and posted a three spot in the fifth, while stranding three runners, but led 16-5, heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Sparks Centennial got two runners on, but Mohr got the final out with a strikeout.
Joining Mohr were Weise, Menante, Gouldsmith, Elliott and Paul Vossen with more than one hit in the victory. Rosemark and LeGrange were the lone Centennial players with two hits in the losing cause.
Sparks Centennial will play in the consolation bracket final Friday night at 8 p.m., while Washoe must beat South Tahoe twice to earn a berth to the state tournament.