"This is the best Senior Day ever," said SSHS senior Brette Lawrence, who threw a five-inning perfect game in the Cougars' Game 2 triumph.
Lawrence struck out six without issuing a walk in the five-inning gem. She needed only 43 pitches to finish off the Panthers. Thirty-eight of those were strikes.
"I have never thrown a perfect game in high school. That was my first," said Lawrence, soaking up the euphoric emotion of the day. "I really located the ball well today. And my defense helped me and backed me up."
So did the Cougars' offense. Spanish Springs pushed across four first-inning runs, added two more in the second and then tacked on a four spot in the fourth to extend its edge to double digits and put the 10-run rule into effect.
Kelsey Stroshine roped a two-run double, while Myrissa Prince and Taylor Helton laced run-scoring singles in the Cougars' four-run first. An inning later, Stroshine drilled another two-run double, this time plating Sidney Sinclair and Amanda Barham.
The score stayed at 6-0 as Spanish Springs did not score in the third but the Cougars' offense went right back to work in the fourth. Singles by Barham and Lawrence, along with Megan Archer getting hit by a pitch, loaded the bases. Stroshine continued her big day by bashing a bases-clearing double. Prince singled in Stroshine to end the inning's scoring.
Stroshine was 3-for-3 in the second game with seven RBI.
"Every day at practice, we practice hitting with runners on base," Stroshine said. "I just thought to myself 'I need to score those runners.' I was patient and knew the North Valleys pitcher's best pitch was her riseball. I was looking for pitches I knew I could hit and drive."
As good as the Cougars' offense was in Game 2, it may have been better in the first game. The Cougars rapped out 13 hits in the twin bill's opener and managed a 16-run explosion. A seven-run second-inning rally and a six-run third-inning outburst accounted for the bulk of the offensive onslaught.
Lawrence hammered out a three-run double and Ally Batastini bashed a two-run home run, highlighting the second-inning rally. Batastini crushed just the seventh ball ever to leave the yard on the Cougars' campus.
"It was the coolest feeling ever," Batastini said. "I just looked for my pitch, something I could drive. She gave me a little and I took a lot. I just thought it was a hard hit. Then as I was rounding first base, I saw it go over and I had a huge smile on my face."
The Cougars kept on smiling as their offense continued to churn out scores. Sinclair had a two-run triple and Sadye Roulund a two-run single in the Cougars' big third inning.
Spanish Springs put together a three-run fourth-inning rally to finish its Game 1 offensive fireworks.
"Spanish Springs hit the ball so well. There's not a lot we could do," North Valleys coach Danielle Verlanic said. "We tried different pitchers. They still hit it. I've seen Spanish Springs play a few times and this is the best I've seen them play. They just hit the ball so well. We played pretty good defense. We just got beat."
Karlie Merritt earned the Game 1 pitching win for Spanish Springs. She scattered five North Valleys hits, striking out five and walking just one in the five-inning complete game.
"We got two great pitching performances today from Karlie and Brette," SSHS coach Jeff Davidson said. "They played with a lot of heart and intensity. They were focused from the first pitch to the last. They just played two outstanding games. They played error-free and hit the ball very well. They were very disciplined at the plate. As a coach, that's what we ask them to do. As a team, the girls played excellent."
The two games conclude the regular season for both teams. Spanish Springs (25-6, 12-4) is the High Desert League's No. 2 seed and will host a first-round game of the Division I North Regional Tournament against Bishop Manogue at 4 p.m. Tuesday. North Valleys (11-16, 7-9) is the HDL's No. 4 seed and will travel to face Sierra League champion and defending North champ Damonte Ranch Tuesday at 4 p.m.