On May 9, Hoosick Falls senior Jake Sparks had a game for the ages.
Not only did the Marshall University baseball commit hit for the cycle, he was 6 for 6 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.
On the mound, Sparks tossed a complete game, allowing two runs, with 15 strikeouts in a 22-2 Wasaren League victory over Waterford-Halfmoon.
“I don’t know if anyone’s ever had a better overall game, especially when you throw in the pitching,” said Hoosick Falls coach Mike Lilac. “He was hitting these towering shots and we were all looking like, ‘where’d they go.’ There weren’t any cheap ones. He got a hold of all of them.”
Sparks’ 14 RBIs in the game set a new New York State record, beating out three players who previously had 13 RBIs in a game.
“It looks like that’s the record,” Lilac said. “There were three other guys that had 13, so we’re figuring out how to send his name in there.”
Sparks passed Maple Hill’s Nick Papas (2008), Holley’s Mike Bower (1985) and Troy’s Mike Krogh (2007), who all had 13 RBIs in a game.
“I think it was Coach Lilac that told me. It was a few days after that we realized it was a state record, but I couldn’t believe it,” Sparks said. “It’s pretty cool, thinking of all the players who have gone through New York State. I’ll be up there until someone gets 15.”
Sparks’ six hits is also tied for sixth place all-time in state history for number of hits in a game. His three home runs in the game is tied for seventh place in state history as well.
“I’m just thinking about hitting the ball hard,” said Sparks, who recalled a 12U double-header when we went 6 for 7, with six home runs. “My teammates were talking about the cycle and the home runs, but if you think that at the plate, you’re just going to pop out or strike out.”
“He’s the best player we’ve ever had,” Lilac said. “I can’t say that about basketball because we’ve had a lot of good players, but he’s definitely the best baseball player we’ve had.”
LILAC, LAMBERT HIT MILESTONE VICTORIES
Last week two longtime Wasaren League coaches hit major career milestone victories.
This past Thursday, Lilac earned his 400th career win as Hoosick Falls defeated Waterford-Halfmoon 14-4.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around — 400 wins,” Sparks said of his coach. “We did the math and it’s about 12 wins over 33 seasons. It’s incredible. We only play 20 games a season and he’s done it in basketball and baseball.”
In a 12-1 victory over Schuylerville last Saturday, Saratoga Central Catholic coach Alphonse Lambert hit the 600th victory of his career.
Lambert, who has led the Saints’ baseball program since 1988, is within striking distance of joining the NYSPHSAA record-book for career wins.
He is 23 wins away from cracking the top 10 in state history.
Longtime Fort Plain coach Craig Phillips is the all-time NYSPHSAA and Section 2 leader with 806 wins, while Queensbury’s Jay Marra is second in Section 2 with 689.