Behind a one-hit complete game effort from starter Gehrig Parks, Spanish Springs extended its win streak to four as it thrashed the Colts 12-0 Tuesday afternoon in a mercy-rule shortened five-inning affair.
“I was pleased the way we came out,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “I thought ‘Rig set the tempo on the mound. His first inning was a seven-pitch inning and that just really set the tone for the way the game was going to go. He looked real good on the mound and we were able to get him a couple in the first. That whole first inning just set the tempo for the game.”
From the first pitch, Parks commanded the game as he mowed down the Wooster lineup with three-up, three-down innings through the first three frames.
With Parks dealing on the mound, Spanish Springs took advantage at the dish.
Matt Mannens led the top of the first inning off with a walk before moving to second base on a fielder’s choice. Lucas Jones then reached first on a hit-by-pitch. A double steal followed, moving both runners into scoring position for Vinny Agliolo, who brought both home with a single into left-center field for a 2-0 SSHS lead.
In their second trip to the plate, the Cougars batted through the lineup as they posted four more runs.
After an out started the inning off, Parks reached base on a dropped strike three. Hunter Pinto followed by dropping a double just between the Wooster right and center fielders, leaving runners on second and third. Next, Shannon Kelly laid down a squeeze bunt to score Parks while the throw to first ended up in foul territory, giving Pinto a free path to the plate and putting Kelly on third.
With the Purple and Silver holding a 4-0 edge, Mannens then dropped a single in front of the WHS center fielder to score Kelly for a 5-0 advantage. The next at-bat resulted in a double from Kenny Semenko, once again putting Cougars on second and third. This time, Jones dug into the batter’s box for a two-RBI single into center field, leaving Spanish Springs on top 6-0.
In the top of the fourth, SSHS yet again posted a four-spot.
A hit-by-pitch put leadoff batter Kelly on first, followed by a walk to Mannens and a double steal to put two in scoring position. After a pop out, Jones stepped to the plate with another shot to do some damage and he didn’t miss out on the opportunity, clearing the bases with a triple to the right field wall. A passed ball then finished the final 90 feet for Jones to put the Cougs ahead 9-0. Another hit batsman put Jeff McCusker on base before Jake Haley sent him around the bases with a double to the warning track in right-center field. That left the SSHS squad on top 10-0.
Wooster finally looked as though it would manage to manufacture some runs in the bottom of the fourth, but it came up empty as Parks came out unscathed.
To start the bottom half of the frame, a leadoff single ended Parks’ no-hit bid. An error then put runners at first and second before a pair of fielder’s choices left runners in scoring position with two outs. A walk loaded the bases for the Colts, but three straight strikes from Parks to the next batter left the three WHS runners stranded on the base paths.
Spanish Springs (9-3, 5-2 HDL) added two insurance runs in the top of the fifth as a sacrifice fly from Kory Glatthar plated Pinto and an error scored Kelly.
Jones went 2-for-2 on the day, including a triple and three RBI. Pinto went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs.
“We were much better at the plate,” Hofmann said. “We’ve been working on a good approach and it’s been coming along. We had a couple good games against Reno and a good game against Damonte. Our approach is getting better. As long as our kids keep doing that, I think our kids will be successful more times than not.”
Parks earned the win with six strikeouts, one hit and three walks.
Spanish Springs visits Bishop Manogue today at 3:45 p.m. before capping its series against Wooster at home on Thursday. With three games in three days, Hofmann said the Cougars will need to keep their focus on the next opponent.
“We told our guys to enjoy this win on the bus ride home, but as soon as we get into the Spanish Springs Valley we now have to switch gears to Manogue,” he said. “The same thing will be true after Manogue. Win or lose, once we get back to Spanish Springs we’ll have to turn the page to Wooster.