Behind a barrage of hits and Cougar errors, Damonte grabbed a 9-4 victory over SSHS, advancing in the winners’ bracket of the Division I North Region Softball Tournament.
With zeroes still on the scoreboard midway through the second inning, Damonte struck first.
Chanel Bates led things off for the Mustangs with a double. An error on a popped up bunt, followed by a sacrifice bunt, then left DRHS with runners in scoring position. A pop out put Spanish Springs one out away from getting out of the jam, but Adelle Oaks inflicted damage with a two-RBI single back up the middle. A single and walk then loaded the bases for the Mustangs, setting the table for Briley Brewer, who delivered with a two-run single into center, leaving DRHS up 4-0.
“That was huge,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said of the Mustangs’ second inning. “I don’t know how many earned runs we gave up at the beginning of the game, but they ended up having a big inning because of it. That hurt big time. We just didn’t make the routine plays and they took advantage of it. We gave them extra opportunities and they took advantage. You have to give Damonte credit for that.”
In the bottom of the third, the Mustangs added to their advantage.
A leadoff single, followed by an error, put Damonte runners on the corners. After SSHS starting pitcher Brette Lawrence struck out a pair, Oaks beat out a ground ball to plate one run. A passed ball then allowed one more DRHS run, pushing the score to 6-0 and ending Lawrence’s day in the circle.
Spanish Springs finally got on the scoreboard in the top half of the fourth frame with a pair, cutting the margin to 6-2. A single off the bat of Sadye Roulund and a dropped fly ball off the bat of Kelsey Stroshine put the Cougars in business with runners on second and third. Kelsie Merritt then hit a grounder to short, where a subsequent throw in the dirt to first plated two for the Cougars.
With time running out for Spanish Springs, the Mustangs put the nail in the coffin in the bottom of the fifth with four singles and an SSHS error, adding a trio of runs to its edge for a 9-2 lead.
“If we played error-free ball, it’s probably a close game,” Davidson said. “Once they got ahead though, and by a big margin, they played looser and we played tighter. I don’t consider our errors physical mistakes. Those were mental mistakes. We didn’t play the mental part of the game very well today and they took advantage of those mistakes.”
Spanish Springs attempted to mount a comeback with its final at bat, but managed to push just two runs home to result in the 9-4 final.
Kalyn Paque earned the win for the Mustangs, going the distance in the circle. She struck out three while walking one and giving up eight hits over seven innings. Lawrence took the loss for the Cougars, pitching 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts, six hits and six runs against, two of which were earned. Ally Batastini pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief, giving up four hits and three runs (two earned) while striking out three.
At the dish, Roulund led the Cougars with a 3-for-4 effort. Batastini was 2-for-4.
The loss dropped Spanish Springs into the losers’ bracket where it will face Reed in an elimination game. The Raiders swept the season series with wins of 7-2 and 4-3. The game will be played at Bishop Manogue High School with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
In order for the Cougars to stave off elimination, Davidson said his squad will need a cleaner performance.
“We have to play error-free ball and be aggressive at the plate if we want to keep playing,” he said.