The critics can't say that anymore after Damonte dumped perennial state power Spanish Springs 8-2 on the SSHS squad's home field.
Not many prep softball fans in the Truckee Meadows expected the conference clash to be a one-sided affair; and it wasn't through the first four innings of action. The game was a pitchers' duel early on as Mustangs ace Kalyn Paque and Cougars ace Brette Lawrence took turns mowing down hitters.
However, Damonte Ranch broke through in the top of inning five, putting together a three-run rally for all the offense it would need. The Mustangs' rally started when Jahnel Smith singled and then Adelle Oaks got down a bunt single. Bayli West followed with a sacrifice bunt to put DRHS runners on second and third. Paque followed with a sacrifice fly, breaking the scoreless tie.
The inning continued when Kerrigan Travens laced an RBI single to right field and moved up to second after an outfield error. Briley Brewer cleaned up the frame with an RBI single to plate Travens.
Damonte extended its lead to 4-0 after it tacked on an unearned run in the sixth thanks to a pair of Cougars errors. Spanish Springs committed six errors in defeat.
"It was a close game through four innings, but they out-hit us," Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. "We just didn't play good defense. You can't do that against good teams and expect to come out on top ... We've been playing pretty solid softball, but today we made too many mistakes."
Any faint comeback hopes the Cougars were clinging to vanished in the seventh after Damonte Ranch (17-3, 9-0) blew the game open with four more runs. Brewer had an RBI triple, Smith had a two-run single and Oaks roped an RBI single to account for the four runs. Spanish Springs committed another error in the seventh to help the Damonte cause.
The Spanish Springs offense finally showed some signs of life in the bottom of the seventh. The Cougars scored two late runs but it proved way too little, too late. Pinch hitters Megan Archer and Taylor Helton both singled. The duo circled the sacks when Aubrene Blas hammered a drive into the right-center field gap that went for a two-run RBI triple.
Paque picked up the pitching victory for Damonte Ranch. She scattered seven Cougars hits, and gave up the two runs in a 10-strikeout, no walk performance. Lawrence was saddled with the loss as she was tagged for 12 hits. She struck out eight and walked two.
"Kalyn doesn't walk people. She makes them hit," Mustangs coach Tierney Cahill said. "She had good command and her off-speed stuff was good.
"We always respect our opponents. Offensively, our kids made adjustments. We've been working hard. We got a couple kids going. You hope that happens every day."
The Cougars (18-4, 6-2) will try to shake off the bitter taste of Thursday's defeat when they return to diamond action Saturday. The SSHS gang will host High Desert League rival McQueen in a twin bill that begins at 11 a.m.