Truckee baseball | Wolverines come from behind to beat Sparks | SierraSun.com

Truckee baseball | Wolverines come from behind to beat Sparks

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunSteve Baker pitches against Sparks on Wednesday.
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TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Wolverines made their home fans sweat it out in the rain before sending them home happy Wednesday.

In a first-place showdown through a light drizzle, the Truckee baseball team had to carve away at a four-run, third-inning deficit against visiting Sparks before finally rallying in the bottom of the sixth to overtake the lead and then hang on for a 7-6 victory.

and#8220;That was a tight one,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Mike Ellis, whose team kept its undefeated in Mount Rose League record intact, at 10-0, while improving to 21-5 overall.

The Railroaders (8-2 MRL, 14-6 overall), winners of seven of their last nine entering the game, took advantage of a rough third inning by Truckee starter Steven Baker to take a 5-1 lead.

The Wolverines chipped away with a run in the bottom of the third and two in the fifth to narrow the margin to 5-4.

They then surged ahead with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, capped by a two-run single off the bat of Luke Theis.

Aaron Pado, who relieved Baker, did not allow a hit the final inning and two-thirds to preserve the win.

and#8220;It was a tough loss,and#8221; Sparks head coach Greg Vasko told the Daily Sparks Tribune. and#8220;They’re a good team and they battled just as much as we battled. It was a fight. That’s how it should be when two first-place teams fight it out. That’s baseball. It was a great game to see.and#8221;

Truckee drew first blood with a run off of Sparks starter Jared Longland in the bottom of the first. But Baker, who was coming off a complete-game win against South Tahoe in which carried a no-hitter into the seventh, ran into trouble in the third.

The Railroaders drew a couple of walks to lead off the inning before Keiffer Putman reached first on an infield hit off the glove of Baker. With the bases juiced, Baker forced in a run with a walk. L.B. Rose then ripped a two-run double to left, while an error and fielder’s choice scored two more, giving Sparks a 5-1 lead.

and#8220;That was Baker’s worst outing of the year,and#8221; Ellis said. and#8220;I knew it was coming sooner or later, being a pitcher myself. You’re going to have your off days. But he battled and made adjustments. I’m glad it happened now rather than in the state tournament.and#8221;

Baker hung in there, giving up seven hits and six walks while striking out seven in five and one-third innings. Pado recorded the final out with runners on second and third to wrack the nerves of the hardiest of fans who stuck around.

and#8220;They’ve gotten better,and#8221; Ellis said of Sparks. and#8220;They started off slow (this year), but they’re a good team.and#8221;

In Truckee’s big sixth inning, Andy McKechnie ignited the rally when he singled and reached third on a double by Smith. Holmer singled to left to drive in McKechnie, which shaved the Railroaders’ lead to 6-5 after Sparks added an insurance run in the top of the sixth. Theis’ hit knocked in Smith and Holmer for the tying and go-ahead runs.

McKechnie was the only Wolverine to finish with more than one hit, as he went 2-for-3 with a run, while Pado, Jackson Rohlf and Holmer each had a single and RBI, Smith had the double and an RBI, and Theis had the two RBIs on his clutch hit.

Longland gave up six hits and three walks and had seven strikeouts in six innings. The pitcher also helped his cause with a 2-for-4 day with an RBI, while Casey Carter had two hits and Rose had a hit and two RBIs.