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Reed baseball takes down Sparks
by Aaron Retherford
Apr 12, 2010 | 770 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - Reed's Alex Young dives back into first base while Sparks' first baseman Dakota Bailey catches the pickoff attempt. Reed went on to win 13-3.
Tribune/John Byrne - Reed's Alex Young dives back into first base while Sparks' first baseman Dakota Bailey catches the pickoff attempt. Reed went on to win 13-3.
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Neither head coach was in the dugout when Reed and Sparks used to battle it out in league play, but on Monday the Rail City rivalry was brought back one more time.

It was still fun for the players, although it didn't turn out to be much of a rivalry as Railroaders pitchers could not throw strikes.

The wildness cost Sparks as the Raiders put up seven runs in the third inning on the strength of only four hits and cruised to a 13-3 non-league victory in four and a half innings.

"We couldn't find the plate," Sparks baseball coach Greg Vasko said. "It's kind of tough when we have our league series on Saturday and then have to come back and play three this week."

Sparks got off to a good start when Joe Puccinelli lifted a high fly ball down the right-field line that carried out of the ballpark for a two-run homer in the first inning.

Reed answered right back in the bottom half of the inning with three runs to take the lead for good. Eric Wilkinson scored on an error and Derek Garcia and Jason Stroberg delivered back-to-back RBI singles.

In the bottom of the third, Wilkinson led off with a rocket shot over the center-field fence, pushing the gap to 4-2.

With one out, things went downhill fast for the visiting Railroaders.

After three straight singles loaded the bases, the Blue and Gold didn't record another hit in the inning but still rallied for six more runs.

Sparks starting pitcher Dennis Morelli hit a batter and walked in a run to end his day. The next two batters were hit by pitches and the one after was walked, forcing in three more runs. The final run of the inning scored on Garcia's RBI fielder's choice, making it a 10-2 game.

"We ended a losing streak, and that's all we asked of them," Reed baseball coach Nick Royle said. "We executed on defense, our pitchers got ahead in the count and we hit the ball. We just have to carry that on for when conference starts again."

In the top of the fourth with one out, Joe Christ turned on an A.J. Silva pitch and powered it over the fence in left field. The solo home run closed the gap to 10-3.

But the home team was able to push across three runs in the bottom of the fourth frame to make it a double-digit lead.

Although the first three Raiders who came up to the plate in the fourth all hit safely, including an RBI double by Alex Young, Reed almost didn't get enough runs to institute the 10-run mercy rule.

A walk loaded the bases, but Puccinelli, the third Sparks pitcher of the day, got the next two batters out. However, a base-loaded walk by Garcia increased the lead to 12-3 and Stroberg's run-scoring infield single capped the scoring.

Silva went 4 1-3 innings on the mound for the win. He allowed three runs on four hits, while striking out five and walking one.

Stroberg led Reed's offense with three hits and two RBIs. Wilkinson, Garcia and Young also drove in a pair of runs. Wilkinson and Ryan Butler finished with two hits apiece.

Monday's matchup was part of a four-team round robin style mini tournament for Spring Break week. Sparks (4-10) is at Carson tonight, while Reed (5-12) hosts North Valleys. The Raiders will then go down to Carson Wednesday and the Railroaders will play the Panthers.

Both local squads are trying to prepare for the final stretch of league play.

"It doesn't matter if we're still in the playoff hunt or if we're out of it, we have a chance to ruin a perfect conference record. We still have to play our other cross-town rival Spanish Springs, and we still have to play North Valleys," Royle said. "We've got a chance absolutely. We just have to keep getting better as we go on and be ready to make a run for it at the end."
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