After earning a pair of shutouts with an 8-0 win over Galena and a 7-0 decision over Fallon to advance to the championship against Reno, Spanish Springs kept things rolling into the final. Hitting early and often, the Cougars cruised to a 10-4 victory.
“It was a complete team effort in all three games,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “Everybody contributed. I told the team after that the reason we won the tournament was because it was a total team effort and that’s what it takes to win.”
Wasting no time, SSHS jumped out early on Reno in the top of the first inning. A leadoff single by Kelsie Merritt started things off. Myrissa Prince then belted a line drive down the left-field line that rolled to the fence, giving Prince plenty of time for an inside-the-park home run and a 2-0 edge.
After the Huskies responded with a run in the bottom half of the first, Spanish Springs (17-3) tacked on two more runs to its lead in the second.
With runners on the corner, the Cougars ran a successful double-steal as Prince stole second and Bayley Broadwater touched home for a 3-1 advantage. A Reno fielding error then allowed Prince to round the bases, leaving the Cougs on top 4-1.
Following a Reno run in the bottom of the third, the score stayed at 4-2 until the top of the fifth when SSHS cushioned its lead.
Back-to-back singles from Kelsey Stroshine and Sadye Roulund started the top half of the fifth, bringing Megan Archer to the dish. Archer delivered with a double into center field, plating both for a 6-2 lead while advancing to third on the throw. Merritt then brought Archer home with an infield single to put the Huskies in a 7-2 hole.
In the bottom of the fifth, Reno attempted to put together a comeback effort, but was cut down by the Cougars.
After putting their first three batters of the inning safely on base, the Huskies were poised to do damage with the bases full and no outs. A fielder’s choice trimmed the score to 7-3 and left Reno with runners in scoring position and one out. The Huskies looked to add another run with a sacrifice fly into right field foul territory, but Merritt lasered a shot to the plate, cutting the hopeful RHS runner down at the dish to end the inning. It was the second time the Huskies tested Merritt’s arm in the contest, and the second time she left them empty handed.
“She came up big for us in the championship throwing a runner out at third and another runner out at the plate to stop rallies,” Davidson said. “It was huge because it stopped Reno’s momentum and ended the innings and then we came back and used that. The kids were all fired up and they put together some hits and scored some runs. It really helped turn the game in our favor. They were two perfect strikes.”
That momentum carried into the final inning. With the score at 7-4 through six, the Cougars gave themselves plenty of insurance in the top of the seventh. A walk and a hit by pitch put Archer and Broadwater on base and brought Taylor Helton to the plate. Helton then sent a shot into left field and rounded the bases for an inside-the-park three-run homer, resulting in the 10-4 final.
In the circle, Brette Lawrence earned the win. Lawrence went the distance as she gave up three earned runs and six hits while striking out nine and walking four.
Lawrence added three innings of work against Galena to start the day, earning the victory by striking out five, giving up no runs on two hits and two walks. She also went 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI.
Ally Batastini recorded the win in Game 2, earning the shutout with four strikeouts and two hits allowed with no walks.
Spanish Springs will return to Divison I North league action as it visits Bishop Manogue Tuesday. First pitch is set for 3:45 p.m.
While the Cougars were named tournament champs, Reed’s day ended in the semifinals.
To set up the semifinal match-up versus Reno, the Raiders topped Wooster 10-0. Unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, that offensive production didn’t carry over against the Huskies as Reed fell 1-0.
In the top of the fourth inning, Reno took advantage of a Reed error to break the scoring drought and seize the lead. Reed threatened to tie the game and more in the bottom half of the frame, but came up short.
After putting their two first batters on base, the Raiders were poised to cross the plate with runners on second and third and no outs. Three straight outs abruptly ended the Reed threat though.
In the bottom of the fifth, Reed (16-3-3) was on the brink of yet again knotting the game at 1-1, but with the tying run rounding third, the relay from left field shut the Raiders down.
“We got a great pitching performance from Jackie (Sertic) and with the exception of one play, we played really good defense,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “I’m going to sound like a broken record and say what I do probably every two weeks, but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities and they did.
“They’re a very good team. It was good for us to get pushed and no one likes to lose, but we wanted to get good games in and I think we definitely accomplished that. For the most part, I thought our pitching and defense was a strong point all weekend. Our offense was a little inconsistent. We were pulling too many pitches, except when we needed one. If you have runners on second and third with no outs, we’ll take that long fly ball at that point. We just couldn’t get it. We just didn’t make the adjustments today.”
Sertic struck out 10 from the circle against the Huskies, with one walk and one unearned run allowed. Against the Colts, Dettling earned a no-hit win over four innings as she struck out six and walked five.
Reed returns to the diamond Thursday as it host Manogue at 3:45 p.m.
“The second half of the season is absolutely going to be the toughest part of the season,” Wunder said. “We told them to bring their lunch box and come ready to work on Monday because we’re going to work. We’re going to work on some mental toughness and we’re going to work on some hitting. Hitting will be huge.”