All of a sudden, this doesn't look so much like a rebuilding season for the Galena High baseball team.
After starting out the season with four straight losses, not to mention a handful of narrow losses in the month of March, the young Grizzlies have battled their way into a first-place tie in the High Desert League. Galena has won five of its last six league games, including a 14-4 triumph at home against Elko on Saturday.
Sophomore Eric Maupin's grand-slam home run highlighted a 10-run third inning outburst as the Grizzlies completed a sweep of their three-game weekend series against Elko.
Galena improved to 9-3 in league (9-10 overall) and moved into a tie with Spanish Springs for first-place. Spanish Springs swept a doubleheader from Damonte Ranch on Saturday, while Reed dropped to 8-4 with a split of its doubleheader against Fallon.
Perhaps those close losses earlier this season are starting to pay off now.
"I think they are," Galena coach Gary McNamara said. "We're definitely maturing as the season's going on because it seems like we get better from week to week. This is the first time we've swept a doubleheader, and with the win today, this is the first time we've swept a series. So hopefully, we're ready to take off on a winning streak."
Elko scored one unearned run in the first inning and two more runs in the third to take a 3-0 lead. As it turned out, the lead was short-lived.
Phil Diaz was hit by a pitch to lead off Galena's third, J.D. Peters followed with a walk and Andrew Ferguson singled to load the bases. That brought up Maupin, who took a pitch the opposite way for his grand-slam over the right field fence. Then, after another walk, freshman Jake Hess hit a towering home run over the left field fence for a two-run homer that made it 6-3.
Ferguson, one of just three seniors on Galena's roster, ended the game in the fifth inning when he hit a two-run homer to right field to make it 14-4.
Ferguson went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and four RBIs. Hess also hit 2-for-2 and Jordan Arnold 2-for-3 to aid Galena's 10-hit attack.
Sophomore Tony Thompson only allowed one run after the third inning to pick up the win. He worked out of trouble in the first inning - after the first two Elko batters reached base on errors - with the help of a double play, one of three the Grizzlies turned on the day.