SPARKS – The Elko girls softball team was dominant in its league opener.
The Lady Indians exploded offensively and were shut-down good on the mound Friday in a 19-1 shellacking of the Lady Railroaders, in Sparks.
Elko scored two runs in the top of the first inning, seniors Lauryn Guenin and Jacqueline Pete each going for base knocks – both scoring on a two-out, two-RBI double by senior Kaitlyn Rizo.
The Lady Indians escaped three baserunners in the bottom half – giving up two walks and an error – the frame closing with the second strikeout for junior Breanna Whitted.
Juniors Madi Murray and Caresse Basaraba singled in the top of the second, Murray taking home on a double steal and Basaraba scoring on an error at second base.
Sophomore Lexi Schweer scored on a sacrifice by Guenin for a 5-0 lead, Whitted hit a base knock to left field and an error in center field on a fly ball allowed junior Dariahn Primeaux to score a run – opening a 6-0 advantage.
After allowing a leadoff single, Whitted sat down the next-three hitters in order in the bottom half – fanning the last two with looking Ks.
Freshman Emery Lesbo led off the top of the third with a base hit to shortstop, followed by free passes to both Murray and senior Kenzie Ratliff.
Lesbo scored on a sac fly by Schweer, Murray crossed on a line drive up the middle by Guenin and Whitted singled on a groundball up the gut – the two-run single driving in both Ratliff and Guenin.
Through the top of the third, the Lady Indians opened a double-digit lead at 10-0.
Sparks’ lone run of the contest came in the bottom half – sophomore Jocelynn Branson cranking a solo homer to left field.
In the top of the fourth, Murray smoked a line-drive single to center field and Ratliff drew a walk – the runners advancing to second and third on a sacrifice by Basaraba – Murray and Ratliff each scoring on an error in right field.
Schweer was driven home by a fly ball to left by Guenin – the Lady Indians going up 13-1.
The Lady Railroaders managed only a single in the bottom of the fourth, Whitted bookending the inning with swinging strikeouts.
The beginning of the very end for Sparks came in the top of the fifth.
Pete was hit by a leadoff pitch, Lesbo reached on an error at shortstop, and Murray tagged a line-drive RBI to center – scoring Pete.
An error at first base crammed the paths full, Lesbo scoring on a bases-loaded walk to Basaraba.
Murray cruised home on an error at third base, and the Lady Railroaders committed a two-run, two-out error at short – Basaraba and Schweer strolling in for an 18-1 advantage.
The bases were juiced once more as Pete drew a walk, and Guenin scored the final run of the contest an RBI base knock by Rizo straight back up the middle.
Following a leadoff error in left field in the bottom half of the fifth, Elko slammed the door – retiring the next three batters – steamrolling the Lady Railroaders 19-1 in the Lady Indians’ league opener.
Guenin and Rizo each drove in three runs for Elko, Guenin hitting 3-for-4 and Rizo batting 2-for-5 with a double – Guenin also scoring three runs of her own.
Whitted finished with two RBIs and went 2-for-5 at the dish, Schweer driving in a pair of runs without notching a hit – tying Guenin with three runs scored.
Murray scored a game-high four runs and posted a perfect 3-for-3 day at the dish, adding an RBI.
Basaraba (1-for-2, RBI), Pete (1-for-3), Lesbo (1-for-4) and Ratliff scored two runs apiece – Primeaux stamping her foot on the plate for the Lady Indians’ other run.
Paired with her solid day at the plate, Whitted was stellar on the mound – allowing one run on three hits over 4-2/3 innings – striking out nine batters and walking two.
Freshman Jersey Tsosie entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the fifth and picked up the save, retiring the only batter she faced with a popup to third base.
The Lady Railroaders shot themselves in the feet routinely on defense, committing nine errors.
ELKO – 244 36 – (19)(13)2
SPARKS – 001 00 – 139
The two-game series will close with a single game, first pitch set for noon Saturday, in Sparks.
*Note – The Elko baseball team did not play Friday, as Sparks has forfeited its Friday contests due to a lack of pitchers. The Indians will face the Railroaders in a doubleheader at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday, in Sparks.