Fernley (8-11) jumped on the Cougars with a run in the top of the first. Fernley’s Chelsea Rivera drew a leadoff walk and she scored after a pair of infield singles. Unfortunately for fans of the Lyon County school, that’s as good as it got.
Spanish Springs (20-1) answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed again. Cougars leadoff hitter Ashley Decker singled and stole second. She scored on an RBI single by Karley Hopkins, who circled the sacks shortly thereafter following a Sydney Darby double.
The game was still tight after three and half innings. The Cougars led 3-1 at that point, but the perennial 4A state power was about to blow the game open.
Decker led off the Cougars’ fourth with an inside-the-park homer down the left-field line. Stevie Trevino then reached on an error and scored on another RBI single by Hopkins. Danica Arterburn reached later in the inning for Spanish Springs on an error that allowed Hopkins to race home.
Leading 6-1 after five, Spanish Springs ended the game early in the sixth. The Cougars scored five in the frame to put the 10-run mercy rule into effect. Hopkins laced her fourth single of the day to get the SSHS crew going in the sixth. After a sacrifice bunt moved Hopkins up a base, Karlyn Jones mashed an RBI double. Arterburn then proceeded to rip a run-scoring triple, pushing the Cougars’ edge to 8-1.
Spanish Springs, which finished with 14 hits on the day, did not let up. Julianna Waller rapped out an RBI single to plate Arterburn. Mindy Mikkelson walked. Waller and Mikkelson both scored on a Fernley error.
“The offense got better as the game wore on,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “It was rough on both teams with the wind and the cold. But we got everybody a chance to play and everybody contributed. That’s what I wanted.”
Arterburn picked up the pitching victory. The Cougars junior right-hander baffled the visiting Vaqueros after the first inning. She allowed just the two early hits in an 11-strikeout, two-walk performance.
“They didn’t hit her hard. Both of their hits did not even reach the outfield,” Davidson said. “They got the one run, but then she came back and pitched really well. She’s done that every time she’s gotten the opportunity.”
Spanish Springs gets more than a week off before it returns to game action. The Cougars don’t play again until April 29 when they open up a three-game High Desert League series against arch-rival Reed.