Cougars ace southpaw Brette Lawrence led the way in the SSHS crew's tournament opener against Benicia. She struck out six and did not issue a walk, scattering five hits in the complete-game shutout.
"Brette threw very well," Cougars coach Jeff Davidson said. "In that game, we played very good defense behind her as well ... She really moved the ball around well today. All of her pitches were working. She threw a lot of changeups and kept their hitters off balance. Those helped her be successful."
Spanish Springs scored four runs in the fourth and three in the sixth to account for its offensive output. Sadye Roulund and Kayla Arterburn singled and scored to start and highlight the fourth frame. Kelsey Stroshine, who reached safely on a sacrifice, and Bayley Broadwater, who was hit by a pitch, also scored in the rally.
In the sixth, Alyx Penrod singled while Roulund was hit by a pitch and Arterburn singled again. All three scored. Stroshine ripped a key triple in the inning.
While the Cougars were never really threatened in the tournament opener. The second game was a different story.
The contest was tied 1-1 through five innings before the Cougars pushed across four runs in the sixth and eventually held on for the two-run triumph.
Trailing 1-0, Spanish Springs tied Antelope at a run apiece when No. 9 hitter Autumn Alexander singled and scored in the bottom of the third.
In the sixth, Sidney Sinclair and Kelsie Merritt singled to start the inning. After two sacrifices, a fielder's choice and a Stroshine single, the Cougars had a 5-1 edge.
Antelope added two runs in the top of the seventh but never got the tying run on base.
Karlie Merritt worked all seven innings for the Cougars in the circle. She whiffed four and walked two, limiting Antelope to five hits en route to earning the victory.
Spanish springs concludes its trip through pool play with a game at 3:15 p.m. Friday against Del Oro of Loomis, Calif.
Spanish Springs wasn't the only Sparks school competing in the annual season-opening tournament. Reed was in Sacramento as well, getting in a tourney tilt. The Raiders opened their pool play against Placer of Auburn, Calif. although not much was settled. The two teams played to a 4-4 tie after five innings.
Reed was lucky to get out of the contest with a draw, given that it fell behind 4-0 after two innings. Placer's leadoff hitter bashed a solo homer to initiate the bottom of the first inning. After two Reed errors later in the frame, Placer had a 2-0 edge.
Reed committed two more errors in the bottom of the second, leading to two more unearned Placer runs.
"The first two innings were ugly for us," third-year Reed coach Jon Wunder said. "This was a character builder. "We told the girls after the second inning, our response would tell us everything. We'd find out how we respond to adversity. Then we started chipping away and took advantage of their mistakes."
The Raiders trimmed the Placer lead to 4-1 with a single score in the third. Cassy Walsh singled and moved to second when the ball was misplayed in left field. She moved to third on a passed ball and scored on a Marriah Levesque groundout.
In the fourth, Reed tacked on two more runs. Lindsay Yearman cruised into second base on a two-base error after her high infield fly ball fell to the dirt. She moved to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch. Later in the inning, Tyler Sumpter pinch hit for Laura Frost. Wunder called on Frost to re-enter and run on the sequence. She stole second and raced all the way home when a pick-off throw sailed into the outfield.
Reed tied the game in the fifth when Denaya Thompson reached on an error in right field. Her pinch runner, Chelsea Cummings, scored all the way from first on a Mary Dettling single.
All four of Reed's runs were unearned. The RHS nine was limited to three hits in the preseason deadlock.
Reed concludes pool play with a pair of games. It will meet suburban Sacramento schools Roseville and El Camino today at 3:15 p.m. and 5 p.m.