With the postseason beginning next week, they’re looking for more. However, on Thursday they just wanted to relish their final home game and pick up a win in the process.
Spanish Springs senior ace Mallary Darby baffled Bishop Manogue hitters and led the Cougars to a 7-0 triumph over the visiting Miners in the opener of a three-game High Desert League series.
Darby gave up just one hit, a bloop single to Manogue’s leadoff hitter, Melissa Rosenthal, in the top of the first inning. The Miners struck out 14 times against Spanish Springs’ hard-throwing right-hander Thursday. She did not issue a walk en route to a complete-game victory.
“I just did what I always do. I pitched my game,” Darby said. “My riseball wasn’t working that well so I had to throw more curveballs than I usually do. It’s really nice to have something else to go to if one thing’s not working.”
Cougars’ coach Jeff Davidson tinkered with his lineup a bit. The Spanish Springs skipper started all eight of his seniors on Senior Day. They came through too, staking Darby to a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
Ashley Decker reached on an error to start the Cougars’ first inning. Jaci Carlsen and Jen Martensen followed with walks to load the bases. Karyln Jones proceeded to lace a two-run single to give Spanish Springs all the offense it would need.
Of course the Cougars weren’t done on the offensive end. Spanish Springs added a trio of runs in the third inning for a 5-0 lead. Carlsen walked and Amanda Collier reached on an infield single. Martensen got down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up and Jones responded again, this time ripping a two-run double.
Jones was cut down at the plate later in the inning but Rebecca Davidson scored the third run of the rally for the Cougars. She singled and circled the sacks after a stolen base and single by Annalee Rubio.
Spanish Springs tacked on two more runs with single scores in the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth, Ashley Collier walked, stole second and third and raced home on an errant pick-off attempt.
In the sixth, Decker reached safely with an infield single. She moved to second on a groundout and scored all the way from second base on a long sacrifice fly to center field by Carlsen.
Decker had three of the Cougars’ seven hits on the day.
“I’m always thinking about helping my team. Every time I get up, I’m thinking about starting a rally,” said Decker, the Cougars’ all-league sophomore leadoff hitter. “I usually do and that gets everyone fired up.”
The usually potent Cougars’ lineup was limited to seven hits, but part of that was because they were patient at the plate. Spanish Springs worked seven walks and a hit batter off of Bishop Manogue pitching.
“They were pitching us away. We teach our kids to be aggressive early in the count, but we’re also a very patient team,” Coach Davidson said. “We didn’t hit the ball extremely well, but we did score seven runs. Plus, Mallary pitched a great game and we played solid defense.”
Spanish Springs (16-0, 23-5) and Manogue conclude their series Saturday with a doubleheader at Manogue. First pitch of Game 1 is slated for 10 a.m. This weekend’s games mark the final contests of the regular season. Spanish Springs, which had already clinched the HDL’s top seed, will compete in the 4A North Region Tournament, starting next Thursday.