SPARTA, NJ-  A walk-off home run sealed Sparta High School softball’s win over Morris Knolls with a 10-9 finish. The teams battled to the end with the lead changing sides a couple of times.

“It makes us work harder when they get ahead,” captain Emily Jacobs said.   

“Our energy is affected as the game changes,” captain Alexa Acker said.  “The energy goes up when we’re up and down when we’re down.  We have to make sure we keep it up.”

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Sparta got on the board first with a run in the first inning. The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth when the Spartans had a two out rally, making Knoll's pitcher work, adding five to the total.

The Golden Eagles answered back with a sixth inning rally of their own, adding five runs, narrowing the Spartan lead to one. Mackenzie Masternak was on the mound for six innings for the win, staying in after a stinger from a line drive shot back at her.

The excitement continued as once again Sparta’s lead was overtaken by Knolls seventh inning rally including homerun shot over the left field fence.  With Alexa Acker closing for Sparta, the Golden Eagles got four more across the plate tipping the score to their favor at 9-8. 

At the bottom of the seventh, Sparta’s Mason Munier hit a bomb over the right field fence for a two-run homer to end the game.

Jacobs led the Spartans with three runs on four at bats. She had a double, a walk, a stolen base and an RBI for the outing.

Munier went 3-for-5 with two singles, three RBIs and a home run.

Brynn McCurry and Sydney Girous each crossed the plate twice.  McCurry was 1-for-4 with an RBI.  Giroux was 1-for-2 with double and an RBI.

Masternak helped her cause with a double, scoring for the Spartans.  Reagan Rech added a run.  Daniella Rispoli had two RBIs on her single. 

Sparta is 8-5 for the season.  The number eight seed will host ninth seed Pope John on Saturday morning in the second round of the Hunterdon/Warren/ Sussex Tournament, after a first round bye. The winner will face number one seed Phillipsburg on Tuesday at the Stateliners’ home field.

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