Spanish Springs was stuck with a 6-5 home loss by Bishop Manogue Thursday and it marked the third-straight league loss by the Cougars. Spanish Springs had not lost three straight league games since the 2004 spring season, two years before Davidson took over the local program.
The Cougars fell to 18-8 overall and 11-5 in Northern 4A conference clashes.
“If we continue to give good teams extra chances they’re going to take advantage,” Davidson said. “That’s what happened today and that’s what happened in the other games. Defense wins championships and we are not playing good defense. Until we fix the problem, this is the result.”
Spanish Springs, which won state championships in 2007, 2008 and 2010, has already been saddled with more losses than in any of the previous seven years. On Thursday, it committed five errors and misplayed other balls in the afternoon’s howling winds that proved advantageous for Manogue (20-6, 13-4).
Spanish Springs and Manogue went into Thursday’s league affair tied for second place in the Northern 4A standings but the SSHS nine dropped into a tie for third with Carson following the defeat.
“The frustrating thing as a coach is you prepare all week. The kids did prepare well,” Davidson said. “Then you come out and play like that.”
Spanish Springs got off to a good start, picking up a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. The first two hitters in the Cougars’ lineup, Bella Rovens and Dani Smith, drew walks and stole a base. Rovens scored on a Brette Lawrence single and Smith came plateward after stealing home.
Unfortunately for Spanish Springs, Manogue starting pitcher Bailey Oos-Johns was pulled after walking Rovens and Smith. Miners coach Dave Hargrove turned to senior Kayla Batastini and she responded.
She went on to earn the pitching win, working seven innings, scattering eight hits and allowing three runs, only two of which were earned. Batastini struck out nine and walked two.
“She’d still like to be called an infielder,” Hargrove said of his ace. “But she’s good and she’s gotten a lot of wins for us this year. When we need to have the ball in the strike zone, she does that for us.”
After Batastini went to the circle and provided some calm for the visiting Miners, they began to chip away at the Cougars’ edge and eventually take the lead. Manogue scored single runs in the second and third innings, pulling into a 2-2 deadlock.
In the top of the fourth, Manogue jumped on top 4-2. JoJo Young walked and Christa Young singled. Both came around to score after a groundout, sacrifice bunt and an SSHS fielding miscue.
The Cougars had some fight left. They proceeded to score two runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth to knot the contest at four runs apiece. With one out, Rovens walked and Smith singled. They scored after a single by Lawrence and an error that allowed Myrissa Prince to reach.
The 4-4 tie was short-lived. Manogue answered with two runs in the top of inning six. Christa Young walked and Sammi Tallman singled before coming around to score the go-ahead runs.
“Spanish Springs beat us earlier but we’re a completely different team,” Hargrove said. “This group of girls does not have a superstar pitcher. They have been down in a lot of games, but they never give up.”
Spanish Springs got one of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh after Lawrence singled and her courtesy runner Karlie Merritt came around to score. However, the single run proved too little too late and the hosts were faced with defeat.
Lawrence had three of the Cougars’ eight hits Thursday, but she needed more offensive help. She was the losing pitcher in the circle despite turning in a complete-game. She struck out four and walked two while scattering seven Miners hits. She was tagged for six runs but only four were earned due to the Cougars’ less than stellar defensive performance.
Spanish Springs goes to Douglas for a twin bill Saturday. First pitch of Game 1 is set for 10 a.m.