All four Cougar errors figured in the Miners’ scoring. Bishop Manogue did not score in an inning that Spanish Springs played clean defense.
“We didn’t deserve to win. You can’t make four errors and expect to be in it, let alone beat a good team,” Spanish Springs coach Mike Bosco said.
Friday’s loss left Manogue with a sweep of the week’s three-game series against Spanish Springs. It also wrapped up the regular season for both schools. Manogue (25-7, 16-2) had already clinched the HDL title, the first league championship for any team at the private Catholic school since it joined Nevada’s 4A ranks prior to the 2004-05 schoolyear.
“You want to be playing your best baseball when the playoffs are starting and we played well,” veteran Bishop Manogue coach Charles Oppio said.
The three straight losses leave Spanish Springs (14-11, 10-8) settling for the HDL’s fourth and final playoff seed. The 4A North Region tournament opens Tuesday. Spanish Springs will go to Reno for a first-round playoff affair.
“This is hard. You go week by week. You hope your inconsistent play at the beginning of the season improves,” Bosco said. “But with us, it’s Jekyll and Hyde. There are times you can watch us and go ‘that team can really play.’ It just amazes me. I hope the Jekyll team shows up next week and we don’t embarrass ourselves.”
On Friday, Spanish Springs wasted no time jumping ahead. The Cougars grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Adam Miller reached on a high chopper that went for an infield single. He circled the sacks after a Tony Robinson double and a sacrifice fly by Derrek Doutre.
The one-run lead didn’t stand up for long. Manogue answered with a trio of runs in its half of the inning. The Miners got a few gifts to help their cause. Craig Batory and Mike Olivo walked and got hit by a pitch. Joe Weiland hit a fly ball that fell for an RBI single.
With one out, Brett Hinckley hit a ball to third base. Robinson, playing third base for the Cougars, tried to cut down Olivo at the plate, but his throw bounced in the dirt and away, allowing Olivo to score. Hinckley, who had reached on the fielder’s choice, came plateward later in the inning, scoring on an RBI groundout off the bat of Evan Miller.
Spanish Springs trimmed the Manogue lead to 3-2 with a run in the top of the third. Still, the Cougars were less than thrilled with the inning. The SSHS nine loaded the bases with no outs but managed just the one run. Brandon Mathis, who had drawn a leadoff walk, scored on a Robinson groundout. That left Cougars on the corners with one out, but Robinson was picked off trying to steal second base and Doutre struck out to end the threat.
Another Spanish Springs gift helped Manogue tack on three more runs. The Miners added their second three spot in the bottom of the fifth frame. Batory singled to initiate the Manogue rally. Olivo proceeded to get down a bunt that Doutre fielded cleanly off the mound, but in an attempt to get the lead runner at second base, he threw the baseball into center field.
To make things worse for the Cougars, center fielder Mathis misplayed the errant throw and let the ball get by him. The miscues left Manogue with runners on second and third and no outs. Weiland was issued an intentional walk and Damon Elder made Spanish Springs pay with a bases-clearing double into the right-center field gap.
The Cougars had some fight left. Tony Robinson led off the sixth and was hit by a pitch. He went to second on a balk and raced home on a ground-rule double by Doutre.
Spanish Springs’ hopes of a big inning took a hit on a controversial call. Riley Tauchen hit a laser down the left-field line that could have gone for extra bases and drove in a run. The ball appeared to land fair but was called foul. Tauchen wound up grounding out. The Cougars went on to load the bases with one out, but Miners’ reliever Justin Bowman induced an inning-ending double play ground ball by Cougars’ No. 8 hitter Garrett Moore.
Bishop Manogue scored its final run in the bottom of inning six. John O’Gara ripped a one-out double and came home after a passed ball and error.
Doutre took the loss on the hill for Spanish Springs despite giving up just four hits to the Miners. He struck out three and walked four.
“Derrek didn’t have his best stuff, but he competed. He gave us a chance to win. We just weren’t able to capitalize because of our mistakes,” Bosco said.
Oppio had similar sentiments.
“That kid (Doutre) is a good pitcher. He’s effectively wild,” the Miners skipper said. “He’s a lefty and you never quite know where it’s going. He pitched a great game.”