HOOSICK, N.Y. — Jake Sparks’ complete game shutout led the Panthers to a 15-0 victory over Waterford on Friday afternoon. The sophomore right-hander struck out nine and was in complete control all afternoon, allowing only two hits and not surrendering a single walk.
It took Hoosick Falls just five innings to secure the win. The first three batters Hoosick Falls sent to the plate all reached and came around to score in the first inning. The Panthers grabbed five runs in the first and scored in a multitude of ways. Along with a couple of runs off of hits, the Panthers also scored on a passed ball, an error by Waterford’s second baseman and an errant pick-off attempt.
Panthers coach Mike Lilac said his team feels comfortable with Sparks on the rubber.
“Everything just loosens up, it’s contagious,” Lilac said. “Everybody was hitting the ball hard.”
Hoosick Falls looked determined to get back in the win column after a tough loss on Wednesday. The Panthers trailed Spa Catholic by four runs in the bottom of the seventh, rallied to tie the game before ultimately losing in extra innings.
On Friday, they added one run in the second inning before scoring five more times in the third to break open a commanding 11-0 lead.
As the season progresses, Lilac is tinkering with his lineup trying to get as much out of it as possible. One change against Waterford: Connor Jones back behind the plate catching.
Andrew Sparks has spent a lot of time behind the plate for Hoosick Falls so far this season, but he was moved to short on Friday and looked comfortable handling all of his fielding chances cleanly.
Jones, who has caught in the past for the Panthers, looked at home behind the plate. In the fifth inning Waterford had runners on the corners. The player on first tried his luck, trying to swipe second. Jones fumbled the transition from glove to hand, but his powerful arm made up for the bobble as he still threw out the base runner by a full step.
Jones is one of the shorter players on Hoosick Falls’ roster, but you wouldn’t know that by his arm strength.
“For a little guy, he’s got one of the best arms on the team,” Lilac said.
The Hoosick Falls coach said that Jones will spend more time behind the plate. He’ll also continue to see time on the mound as one of the stronger pitching options the Panthers have. With the win, Hoosick Falls improved to 4-3 in league play and travel to Berlin-New Lebanon for a Wasaren League contest today.