“They’re a really good hitting team and they took advantage of us a little bit,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “We misplayed a couple of baseballs and that just fueled them. They got contagious hitting the baseball and started to feed off each other. That’s the best way to describe it.”
Things did not look bad for the Purple and Silver after one inning with zeroes still on the scoreboard. The Cougars tried to get things going in the top of the second frame with back-to-back singles from seniors Chadd Little and Chase Kittilsen but the duo ended up stranded on second and third after McQueen pitcher Christian Stolo struck out the next two batters.
The pair of hits would be the only base knocks for the Cougs and proved to be the highlight of the day for Spanish Springs as the Lancers went to work from there.
Robbie Higley led things off for the hosts in the bottom of the second inning with a single that would jump start an onslaught of offense for McQueen. Following Higley, Alex Bentley flied to left field but a dropped ball in the outfield put runners in scoring position. A single through the left side of the infield then plated Higley for the first run of the contest.
A bizarre scene then unfolded as Bentley stole home while the home plate umpire was cleaning the plate. Still, that run was counted as the umpire said he had not called time. The problems for Spanish Springs spread from there.
Up 2-0, the Lancers kept their foot on the gas pedal. Two more singles plated another run before Anthony Calton laced a 2-RBI single to give McQueen a 5-0 edge. A hit batsman then set up Stolo, who singled into right field where a misplay of the ball allowed two more Lancers to touch home, rounding out the frame and leaving the scoreboard reading 7-0 in favor of McQueen.
Stolo did not only do his damage from the batter’s box. Taking the mound for the Lancers, Stolo shut down the visitors. After giving up the two hits in the second inning, Stolo silenced the Spanish Springs bats, retiring nine of the next 10 batters he faced with the lone exception coming on a walk. Along with the walk and two hits, Stolo finished his five-inning gem with 11 strikeouts for the victory.
McQueen added three more runs to its advantage in the bottom of the third. Josh Davis singled into right field where a misplay gave him third base. Logan Comphel wasted little time bringing his teammate home, singling through the right side for an 8-0 lead. A walk to Nick Agliolo and a single from Kody Reynolds then pushed Comphel across the plate before Reynolds put the mercy-rule into action when he scored on an overthrow to second base.
Spanish Springs will close out its series with McQueen, as well as its season, at home today at 3:45 p.m.
“I was happy with our energy today,” Hofmann said. “I was happy with the effort. Guys really were trying, but it just wasn’t our day today. We’ll come out with a good energy and effort again tomorrow and do the best we can. We’re going to do everything we can to go get a W.”
The game is still meaningful for Spanish Springs (12-17, 6-13). An SSHS win and a Douglas loss to Reno would get the Cougars into the postseason.