A lackluster effort by Spanish Springs dealt the team’s playoff hopes a huge blow as Wooster cruised to an 8-2 Northern 4A league victory on the road.
“I am surprised. I really am. I would have thought these guys would care and come out and get a ‘W’ knowing we had a chance to get into the playoffs,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said. “We had a good chance if we handled our business to get into the playoffs. I’m very disappointed and very surprised we didn’t play better today.”
The two teams were tied 2-2 after one inning, and that was the high point for the home squad. The Colts got their two runs when they loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and a hit batsman. Clean-up hitter Sam Klippenstein skied a high fly ball that carried to deep center field. Center fielder Gehrig Parks drifted back on the ball but not far enough as the ball bounced off his outstretched glove, allowing two runs to score on an error.
It could have been worse for the Cougars, but with one out, a suicide squeeze call backfired. Jaymes’ Spang lined a bunt into a diving Vinnie Agliolo’s glove at third base. Agliolo stepped on third for the unassisted double play, ending the inning.
Spanish Springs got those two runs back in the bottom half of the first. Matt Mannens led off with a single and Hunter Fralick was hit by pitch from Wooster starting pitcher Tenaya Brown.
After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Chadd Little tattooed a two-run single to center field, tying the game at 2-2.
However, Spanish Springs managed just one more hit the rest of the game. Brown shut down the Cougars, giving up just a sixth-inning single that broke up his streak of 1-2-3 innings. Brown was perfect in five of the seven frames, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out six and walking none.
“We were terrible. We did not show up ready to play. We had zero energy, zero enthusiasm. No adjustments were made from inning one to inning seven. Twelve pop-ups, three errors and three hits, you can‘t win that way,” Hofmann said.
Meanwhile, Wooster wasn’t an offensive juggernaut, but got plenty of help from the Purple and Silver.
Calvin Dermody led off the top of the second with a bunt single. The bases were full of Colts after a hit batsman and walk. A wild pitch by SSHS starting pitcher Chase Kittilsen allowed Dermody to come home for the go-ahead run.
Kittilsen lasted just two innings and never had much control, walking four and hitting three others while picking up the pitching loss.
Little took over mound duties in the top of the third and threw well, retiring the side in order in the third and fourth innings.
Base on balls hurt Little also. Little walked the first two batters of the fifth and Garrett Powers dropped down a bunt single to load the bases.
Matt Bowers came off the bench in a pinch-hitting capacity and he cleared the bases, one-hopping the fence in center field for a three-run double. That gave Wooster a 6-2 edge.
Little had another 1-2-3 inning in the sixth but couldn’t record an out in the seventh.
Spanish Springs’ third error of the game enabled Klippenstein to reach base. Powers then went opposite field to right field.
Right fielder Lucas Jones had a beat on it and reached up over the fence in an attempt to rob Powers of a home run. But as Jones crashed into the fence, the ball popped out of his glove and Powers ended up with a two-run home run.
Garrett Covington got the final three outs for the Cougars.
Powers had two of the Colts’ five hits. Only three hits were by Wooster starters. The other hits were by pinch hitters in the fifth and seventh innings.
Spanish Springs (12-16, 6-12 in Northern 4A) opens up its final league series today at 3:45 p.m. at first-place McQueen.