Truckee baseball wins playoff opener
Truckee starter Justin Vosburgh found his groove after a rocky first inning and the Wolverines carried a seven-run rally after two outs in the sixth to a 12-6 comeback win over visiting Sparks on Friday.
Truckee now leads 1-0 in the best-of-three Northern 3A regional series, which continues Saturday at 10 a.m. If necessary, a third game will be played at 1 p.m.
“It was shaky,” Vosburgh said of the first inning, as the Railroaders tagged him for five runs on five hits and a walk. “But I knew our team had come back from some deficits before. I knew if I could hold them from there, we could do it.”
The Wolverines steadily chipped away at the lead, tying the score at 5 in the fifth before Sparks added another run in the top half of the sixth to regain the lead, 6-5.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Truckee poured it on, scoring seven runs on a combination of clutch hitting, small ball and several crucial Railroader mistakes behind left-handed starter Danny Monroe.
“We played five good innings,” said Sparks head coach Greg Vasko. “But there was the one inning where we fell apart. We had the game and we let it go. We made some mental mistakes and a few errors and Truckee took advantage of it.”
After Truckee junior Kevin Decker tied the score at 6 with an RBI double ” he also hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first ” Sparks’ right fielder dropped a shallow fly ball off the bat of Vosburgh to allow in two runs.
More importantly, the fielding error opened the flood gates.
A throwing error later and Truckee head coach Mike Ellis called for a squeeze bunt with runners at second and third and senior Trevor Allen at the plate. Allen laid down a perfect bunt along the first baseline to score Keven Sahlberg, then Brady Maclane, who rounded third in full stride, catching the first baseman off guard as he slid safely home.
The large home crowd was ecstatic as the Wolverines took an 11-6 lead, then added a final run on a wild pitch.
“The fans got it going,” Vosburgh said. “The fans came out to support us this game, and they definitely helped get us going.”
Ellis was radiating excitement after the comeback.
“I tip my hat to the kids, every one of them. Everyone was in the game and on it,” he said. “It was a good team effort. And Vosburgh threw great. After that bad first inning he shut the door.”
Vosburgh recorded eight strikeouts, several of which came on a curveball he used effectively to keep Sparks hitters off balance.
“It was the first day I really had my curve working good,” said Vosburgh, who held the Railroaders hitless after Aaron Quilici singled to lead off the second. “I actually had more command with it than my fastball.”
Decker led the way offensively for the Wolverines, going 3 for 3 with a home run, double and two RBIs. The catcher also threw out a runner attempting to steal second and made a number of key blocks on balls in the dirt and with runners on base.
Sahlberg was 1 for 2 with a triple and an RBI and Vosburgh was 1 for 2 with an RBI. With a hit apiece were Maclane, Allen, Michael Taylor, Scott Mathot and Michael Fagan.
The Wolverines put pressure on Sparks catcher Nicholas Posey throughout the contest, stealing 10 bases.
For the Railroaders, Jake Kozlowski went 1 for 3 and picked up three RBIs on a first-inning double. Quilici was 2 for 3 and Nicholas Posey 1 for 1 with a first-inning RBI. Monroe and Chris Haun each had one hit.
Truckee and Sparks meet at 10 a.m. Saturday for Game 2 in the best-of-three series. If necessary, a third game will be played at 1 p.m.
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