For both teams, pitching started off strong, as the game went into the second inning 0-0 with just one hit between the two teams.
In the second inning, Sparks got two runs across. Dennis Morelli got on with a walk for Sparks. Connor Cox followed up with a double, sending Morelli home and getting Sparks on the board. Cox scored on a bunt just to the left of first base by pitcher Brandon Herzbrun. That rendered the Elko defense incapable of properly securing an out, for the 2-0 Sparks lead.
The local squad added another to its tally in the bottom of the third. Gabe Martin reached second on an error. He scored on a Morelli single.
Sparks doubled its lead in the fourth, taking a 6-0 edge. Cox led off with an inside-the-park home run. Next, Herzbrun doubled and scored on a wild pitch with Lionel Abundis at bat. Dennis Bartee walked, stole second and scored from second on an error that allowed Brian Pachnik to reach first. Sparks ended the inning with a 6-0 edge over Elko.
In the fifth inning, Sparks added four more runs to finish off Elko. Mike Merriott led off with a single and Morelli followed with a walk. They scored on another Elko error on a Herzbrun bunt. Meriott scored on the bunt, and Morelli scored on a poor throw to first base, forging Sparks ahead 8-0.
Austin Lee got on with a single. Abundis followed with a single, plating Herzbrun. With the bases loaded and just one out, Pachnik singled to send Lee in to score and end the game.
"Our approach was to be aggressive at the plate," coach Elisha Zayas said.
The win helps Sparks not only continue in the tournament but could give them a better chance for success.
Herzbrun did the work on the hill for Sparks, throwing just 58 pitches in five innings He allowed three hits and took out five with strikeouts.
“It helps us save on pitching,” Zayas said. “We have a ton of pitching on this team ... This is excellent. We didn't have to sub anybody.
“We were a little worried, particularly about our defense. This is no walk in the park. We're going to have to play aggressive. There's some bigger and better teams in this tournament. We've got to show them we're here for a reason.”
Sparks will play Saturday against Reno West at McQueen High School at 10 a.m.