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Ironton SL All-Stars rout Hardscrabble

ASHTABULA — When the Ironton Senior League All-Stars went to bat, Sparks really flew.

Wayne Sparks, that is.

Sparks homered and drove in five runs as Ironton routed Hardscrabble 11-1 Saturday in the opening round of the state senior league tournament.

“Hardscrabble handled the bats pretty good, but our pitching was pretty good,” said Ironton manager Chuck Price. “Everyone hit the ball well up and down the lineup. We hit some seeds for outs and we struck out only once.”

“That’s probably the best we’ve looked offensively this year.”

Howie Lucas started for Ironton and got the win. Lucas worked 3.2 innings and racked up eight strikeouts. He gave up five hits, one earned run and two walks.

Sparks finished for the save as he fanned three and hit a batter.

Defensively, Tres Wilks made a diving catch in the outfield and catcher Jake Murphy threw out a runner trying to steals.

“Hardscrabble handled the bats pretty good, but our pitching was pretty good. We did some little things we needed to do, but when you strike out 11 of 15 outs, you don’t have a lot of opportunities to do things,” said Price.

Ironton wasted little time asserting itself as Sparks cranked a grand slam home run in the bottom of the first inning.

Kyle Dickess and Jonathan Williams started the inning with base hits, Murphy was hit by a pitch and then Sparks went yard.

Tommy Waginger followed with a hit but was left stranded.

Harscrabble got a run in the top of the fourth inning, but Ironton answered with three in its half of the frame.

T.J. Young and Wilks walked to start the Ironton rally. Dickess singled home pinch-runner Tyler Kratzenberg and Wilks scored on a throwing error.

Murphy was hit by a pitch and Sparks doubled for his fifth RBI and the lead was 7-1.

Ironton ended the game in the fifth inning with four runs to create the 10-run mercy rule.

Justin Mahlmeister was safe on an error and Waginger singled. Young doubled to drive in both runners and with one out Dickess hit a two-run, walk-off home run.

Ironton will play at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday against the Miami-Maumee winner.

Hardscrabble 000 10 = 1 5 2

Ironton 400 34 = 11 11 2

Combs, Vickers (4) and Webster. Howie Lucas, Wayne Sparks (4) and Jake Murphy. W-Lucas (8-K, 2-BB, 5-H, 1-ER). Save-Sparks (1.1-IP, 3-K, 0-BB, 1-HBP). L-Combs. 2B-Ironton: T.J. Young, Wayne Sparks. HR-Ironton: Wayne Sparks (GS), Kyle Dickess. Hitting-Hardscrabble: Hicks 2-3, Hartley 1-2, Newseck 2-2; Ironton: Kyle Dickess 3-3, Jonathan Williams 1-3, Wayne Sparks 3-3 5 RBI, Tommy Waginger 2-3, T.J. Young 1-2, Tres Wilks 1-2.