Spanish Springs didn’t suffer a loss to a Nevada opponent until it locked horns with Reno in a High Desert League doubleheader and dropped the night cap, 7-6. The loss dropped the Cougars’ record down to 12-2 overall and 6-1 in Northern D-I action.
Following the loss, Spanish Springs had its second long layoff of at least 10 days between games of the season.
“This year we played up and down. We really never played consistently,” SSHS softball coach Jeff Davidson said. “When we played well and got good hitting, pitching and defense, we could play with anybody. We’d have a couple pretty good games and then we’d have a couple games where we didn’t play well. We never really found our groove this year.
“I thought those breaks were tough. You start open gym in January. You have tryouts at the end of February. Then you start playing tournaments in March, so you’re ready to go for the season. When you have two longs breaks, it kind of changes the routine a little bit. What you try to do in practice to simulate game situations, it’s not quite the same as playing games.”
The Cougars seemed to get back on track after the second break. Despite a 5-0 pool play loss to Logan (Calif.) at Reed’s Easter/Spring Break Tournament, Spanish Springs rolled to three straight shutouts to set up a matchup with Reno in the championship. The Purple and White easily took that game, 10-4.
Spanish Springs followed up the spring break tournament championship with a key league win over Bishop Manogue, keeping it among the league leaders.
However, an 8-2 loss to Damonte Ranch showed the Cougars had some work to do.
But the local squad responded with four consecutive victories, including a 10-0 win over Douglas, which went on to play for the regional championship.
That set up a meeting with cross-town rival Reed. The Raiders entered the Saturday twin bill with a 10-1 league mark but the offense was hit and miss at times, while the Cougars were 9-2 and had issues with their defensive consistency. Their team fielding percentage was .934, down from .946 a year ago.
Those defensive issues reared their ugly head again in Game 2 of the doubleheader. After dropping the opener 7-2, Spanish Springs committed six errors in a 4-3 loss to suffer a sweep.
With no chance at earning the HDL’s top seed, the Cougars proceeded to win their final three games and secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round home playoff contest. Spanish Springs took that game, knocking off Manogue 3-2.
That was the only postseason game Spanish Springs won, being eliminated from the playoffs thanks to 9-4 and 3-0 losses to Damonte and Reed, respectively.
Senior Brette Lawrence, who signed to play softball at Villanova, didn’t quite put up the numbers that earned her co-Player of the Year honors as a junior. But she was still impressive in leading the Cougs.
Lawrence batted .400 with a team-leading 40 hits. She also led the team with nine doubles and was tied for tops with 25 RBI. In the circle, the left-hander went 15-5 with a 1.59 ERA. She allowed 27 earned runs on 102 hits in 119 innings. Lawrence walked 19 and struck out 128, while limiting opposing hitters to a .219 batting average.
“Brette, first of all, is a very good teammate. She works extremely hard in practice and always has a great attitude,” Davidson said. “It’s a pleasure of mine to have coached her for the last three years on varsity. When is Brette is playing, you always know what you’re going to get. She’s going to go out and compete and give it her all every game.”
Spanish Springs will have plenty of talent coming back with 10 returners. Junior Sadye Roulund and sophomore Ally Batastini both had solid spring campaigns.
Roulund led the Cougars with a .448 batting average. She also drove in 24 runs.
Like Lawrence, Batastini is a standout two-way player. Batastini hit .387, knocked in 25 RBI and hit a team-high five home runs. She also scored 22 runs of her own. Batastini recorded a 7-3 pitching record with a 2.13 ERA.
“Sadye Roulund led the team in hitting this year. She’ll move behind the plate and take over for Sidney (Sinclair),” Davidson said. “Ally Batastini is coming back and she’ll be doing a lot of the pitching next year. She hit very well for us this year. We have Bayley Broadwater at short. Basically we have our whole infield coming back and outfield.”
Davidson went on to mention Alyx Penrod, Myrissa Prince, Autumn Alexander, Megan Archer, Kayla Arterburn and Amanda Barham as key returners.