ELKO – Entering the series with matching records, the Elko and Spring Creek baseball teams played to break the gridlock.
After winning the first game by a final score of 10-2 on Friday, Elko took the series with a 7-4 win in the first game of the doubleheader Saturday morning – Spring Creek coming to life and splitting the twin bill with an 8-3 victory in the series finale.
Game One of DH
The Spartans started the game with success, scoring a run in the top of the first inning.
Senior Brock Gilligan drew a one-out walk, and senior Max Shanks went for a two-out single to center field.
A passed ball advanced the runners, and Gilligan was driven in by a base knock to left field by senior Hunter Buzzetti.
The Indians got out of the inning with a throw from sophomore catcher Luke Blair to senior shortstop Austyn Marin, nailing an attempted steal at second.
Elko went down in order in the bottom half.
In the top of the second, Elko senior pitcher Brycen Kelly bookended the frame with strikeouts – stranding senior designated hitter Tanner Knudsen after he reached from an error at third base.
Kelly led off the bottom half with a walk, and sophomore courtesy runner Jake Zeller advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior Kohl McIntosh – the Spartans shutting down the frame with a fly out to junior Kyle Owsley in center field.
Spring Creek added to its lead in the top of the third.
Senior Clay Campbell was hit by a pitch in the leadoff spot, stole second base and scored on a single by Gilligan to left field.
Elko recorded consecutive outs, but Buzzetti reached on a two-out error at third base – allowing Gilligan to score for a 3-0 lead.
Senior James Testerman drew a free pass, and Buzzetti scored on an RBI single by Knudsen to right field – opening a 4-0 advantage.
Blair drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half, senior Christian Quintana singled in the air to center and a sac bunt by Jones drove in junior courtesy runner Rolando Acosta.
Spring Creek limited the damage with a strikeout by senior pitcher Jay King and a fly out to Owsley.
Campbell drew a one-out walk for the Spartans in the top of the fourth, but the Indians closed the frame with a 6-1 double play.
The Indians seized control in the bottom of the fourth, starting with leadoff walks to Kelly and junior Cutler Macias.
McIntosh tagged a base knock to right field – an error allowing Kelly to score – and Marin drove in two runs with a line-drive single up the middle, tying the game 4-4 as he scored Zeller and McIntosh.
Elko took the lead for good with a groundout RBI by senior Kaleb Martinez, crossing Marin.
The Spartans were retired one-two-three in the top of the fifth, the inning closing with a strikeout by Macias.
Elko threatened to blow the game open in the bottom of the fifth – loading the bases with a leadoff single by Kelly, a one-out base knock by McIntosh and a walk by Marin – but the Indians stranded three runners with a popup to junior third baseman Cameron Dockery in foul ground and a strikeout by King.
The only baserunner for Spring Creek in the top of the sixth was Testerman on a leadoff walk, followed by three straight outs.
In the bottom half, Jones led off with a single to right field and stole second base, swiped third and rolled home on an error at third base.
Junior Colby Tiner doubled to right to right field and scored on a double steal, Kelly thrown out at second after drawing a walk but allowing Tiner to run home for a three-run lead.
In the bottom half, Spring Creek’s comeback bid was denied in a three-up, three-down frame on a groundout to Tiner at second base and consecutive fly outs to Jones in center field.
The Indians clinched the series with a 7-4 win.
Marin led Elko with two RBIs, batting 1-for-2 and scoring a run of his own.
Jones also hit 1-for-2, drove in a run and scored another.
Martinez tallied the final RBI for the Indians.
McIntosh was a perfect 2-for-2 and scored a run, Kelly went 1-for-1 with a run scored, Quintana closed 2-for-3 at the dish and Tiner was 1-for-4 with a double and scored a run.
In courtesy runner roles, Zeller and Acosta scored a run apiece.
In relief, Macias picked up the win – allowing no runs on no hits with a strikeout and a walk over 3-2/3 innings.
In the start, just one of Kelly’s four runs allowed was earned – giving up four hits and striking out four batters with three walks in 3-1/3 innings.
For the Spartans, Knudsen finished 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Gilligan went 1-for-3 at the plate, drove in a run and scored two more.
Buzzetti closed 1-for-3 at the dish with an RBI and a run scored.
Spring Creek’s other hit came off the bat of Shanks (1-for-3) and Campbell scored a run.
In the loss, King went 5-1/3 innings and allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and six free passes.
Junior Ryan Thurston closed for the Spartans, allowing a walk in 2/3 of an inning.
SPRING CREEK – 103 000 0 – 442
ELKO – 001 402 X – 782
After seeing a lead disappear in the morning ballgame, Spring Creek made the impactful plays late in the series finale.
The Spartans scored the final six runs for an 8-3 victory.
Gilligan drew a one-out walk in the top of the first, took second on a passed ball – King reaching base on an error at second – Shanks driving in Gilligan with a base knock to center field.
Buzzetti was hit by a pitch, and King scored on a fly ball by Davis to center field – but the Indians ended the inning with an 8-1-5 double play.
Jones made the play in center for the second out and threw home, sophomore pitcher Lincoln Ratliff making the cut and throwing Shanks out at third with a toss to Acosta.
After one, Spring Creek led 2-0.
Elko managed just one baserunner in the bottom half, Martinez wearing a one-out pitch.
The only runner for the Spartans in the top of the second came on a one-out walk to Testerman, and Elko cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the inning.
Ratliff led off with a single to right field, and Marin placed runners at first and second with a one-out base knock to left field.
Acosta was hit by a pitch and loaded the bases, the Indians scoring their first run on a groundout RBI from Quintana that drove in Zeller.
The Spartans fell in order in the top of the third, and the Indians knotted the score with a run in the bottom half.
Tiner nailed a one-out base knock to left, Kelly following with a single to the same spot of the field.
Ratliff drove in Tiner with a perfectly-placed bunt and reached first, McIntosh dropping a sac bunt – placing runners on second and third – but Elko two with a fly out to Owsley.
Buzzetti led off the top of the fourth with a single to left field, but the next-three hitters fall in order.
In the bottom half, Acosta drilled a leadoff double to left and scored on a one-out single from Jones for a 3-2 lead.
The inning closed with a quick-twitch snag by Davis at third base on a rocket line drive by Kelly to third base – likely saving two runs.
Owsley led off the top of the fifth with a line drive up the middle, and Spring Creek came up huge with two away.
An error at short allowed King to reach base and crossed Owsley – tying the score 3-3 – and Shanks drew a walk.
King scored on a clutch double by Buzzetti to deep-center field for a 4-3 lead, and the Spartans went up 6-4 on a two-run rip by Davis – driving in Shanks and Buzzetti.
McIntosh hit a one-out single for the Indians in the bottom half, but the inning was closed with a 6-3 double play by King to Shanks – Elko senior Lupe Ortiz stepping on the base well before the ball arrived.
The Spartans added to their lead in the top of the sixth.
Testerman led off with a single to left field and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Owsley, scoring on a hammered double by Campbell to left field for a 7-3 lead.
After a popup in foul ground, Spring Creek added to its cushion with another two-out run.
King scored Campbell with an RBI base knock to right field, but Elko finally got out of the inning with a nice grab by Tiner at short.
Elko’s attempt for a comeback took a major hit in the bottom half, falling in order.
Buzzetti led off the top of the seventh with a single, and Testerman reached with a throwing error from short with two outs – Marin ending the inning with a strikeout.
Once again, Elko was retired in order to close the game – senior Brendyn Taylor making an incredible, leaping snag at second on a live drive, King fielding a groundout at short and Testerman sealing the win with a catch in right field.
The Spartans gained their first win of the series with an 8-3 victory in the finale.
Hitting was close for both teams in terms of a final tally – the Spartans closing with nine and Elko finishing with eight – but Spring Creek got hot in the late innings.
Of Spring Creek’s eight runs, the Spartans scored five of their final six with two outs.
Davis led the Spartans with three RBIs, finishing 1-for-3 with a two-run single and a sac fly.
Buzzetti batted 3-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored.
King crossed for a pair of runs, driving in another and hitting 1-for-4.
Shanks went 1-for-3 and Campbell closed 1-for-4 with a double, each driving in a run and scoring one apiece.
Testerman and Owsley were each 1-for-3 with a run scored, and the offense was capped by a run from Gilligan.
On the mound, Gilligan went the distance – allowing three runs on eight hits with a strikeout and no walks for the complete-game win.
Ratliff finished 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI for the Indians.
Jones hit 1-for-4 and drove in a run, and Quintana added Elko’s other RBI.
Acosta went 1-for-2 with a double for Elko’s only extra-base hit and scored a run, Tiner finishing 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Zeller notched the Indians’ other score as a courtesy runner.
McIntosh and Marin each hit 1-for-2, and Kelly closed 1-for-4 at the plate.
Picking up the loss, none of Ratliff’s six runs were earned – allowing five hits with two Ks and three walks in five innings.
Marin entered the game in relief, allowing two runs on four hits with a strikeout and no free passes over two innings.
SPRING CREEK – 200 042 0 – 890
ELKO – 011 100 0 – 383
The Indians (14-4 in league) are currently tied with Fallon (14-4) for No. 2 in the Division 3A North standings – the Greenwave currently possessing the head-to-head advantage – Elko playing No. 1 Truckee (15-2) at 2 p.m. Friday at North Valleys High School, in Reno, closing the three-game series with a doubleheader at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.
Spring Creek (13-5 in league) is in sole possession of fourth place in the 3A North and will host Fallon in a crucial three-game series, the Spartans firing the first pitch at 2 p.m. Friday, in Spring Creek, the series ending with a twin bill at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday.