Fernley, the three-time
defending 3A state champions, gave Spanish Springs all it could handle before succumbing 3-2 in a non-league affair. A year ago, the 4A champion cougars drubbed the guests from Fernley, but Tuesday’s second go-round was a different story.
Fernley led 2-1 after three and a half innings before Spanish Springs tied the game and eventually pulled out the victory. The Vaqueros got an unearned run in the top of the first when Jayme King hit a ball to center field that was misplayed for a four-base error, allowing King to circle the sacks.
“I’m definitely frustrated. We misplayed two balls in the outfield that led to their two runs,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “And then we didn’t make adjustments offensively. We got runners in scoring position and never got big hits. Then we hit a couple balls hard and they made great plays.
“All year long, we’ve done a good job of making adjustments at the plate, but today we didn’t. We need to be more patient at the plate.”
After Spanish Springs tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first on an inside-the-park home run by Ashley Decker, Fernley (20-2, 12-0 3A North) regained the lead with a single score in the third. Trish Miller singled. Seandra Beck got down a bunt single to move Miller into scoring position and Sev Johnson ripped an RBI double.
In the bottom of the third, Spanish Springs loaded the bases, but could not score. The hosts did deadlock the game at 2-2 with a run in the fourth. Andrea Bailey doubled and her courtesy runner, Dani Smith, scored after a pair of walks and a pop up.
Spanish Springs scored what would prove to be the game-winning run in the bottom of inning six. Decker singled and Karley Hopkins reached on a fielder’s choice. Ashley Collier drilled a deep line drive to left field that was tracked down by Beck, but Decker tagged and advanced to third. Hopkins then took off on a delayed steal and was tagged out, but not before Decker raced home, giving the Cougars the lead.
“I still thought we played real well. Our kids made mistakes but they didn’t really hurt us today,” veteran Fernley coach Diane Chapin said. “We were in it the whole game.”
Ashley Collier, who is still working to return to form after suffering an early season injury, worked a complete game in the circle. She picked up the pitching win for the Cougars, striking out seven without issuing a walk. She scattered five Fernley hits.
“She had some solid moments, but she still needs to continue to work hard,” Davidson said. “I don’t feel like she’s back to where she was at the beginning of the year, not yet. She’s just got to continue to work hard in practice and keep at it.”
Spanish Springs (20-4, 11-1 4A HDL) plays again Thursday when it opens a key High Desert League series at home against Reed at 3:30 p.m.