Behind 6 1-3 innings from starter Garrett Covington, Spanish Springs (10-4, 6-3) managed just enough offense to slip by the Colts for a 2-1 victory Thursday afternoon.
Covington earned the win for the Cougars as he struck out five while giving up just three hits with no walks and one unearned run. Lucas Jones cleaned up the final two batters by fanning both for the save.
“He was really good,” Hofmann said of Covington’s performance. “He does what he does. He keeps guys off balance. They just have a hard time timing him up. He doesn’t throw anything hard, but he’s got everything that he can throw and he throws it for strikes. He stays around the dish and he just does a good job keeping everybody off balance.”
While Covington was doing his best to keep the Colts’ bats quiet, Wooster starter J.J. Harloff was also giving the Cougars trouble at the dish as he struck out eight while giving up just four hits over six innings of work. Fortunately for SSHS, it was able to produce just enough.
Scoreless through the top of the fifth inning, Spanish Springs finally broke the deadlock in the bottom half.
Following a pair of soft groundouts back to the pitcher to start the inning, Matt Mannens stepped to the plate and sent a 1-2 offering high and deep to right field that carried well over the fence for a solo home run, giving the Cougars a 1-0 edge.
The lead was short-lived as Wooster answered right back in the top of the sixth.
An error along with a sacrifice bunt put Colton Duminie on second base as the tying run for the visitors. A groundout then left Spanish Springs one out away from escaping the inning unharmed, but Harloff sent a single back up the middle that allowed Duminie to come home just in time to beat the relay to the plate.
With the score yet again knotted, the Purple and Silver broke through once more, this time taking the lead for good.
An error allowed Jones to reach base safely for SSHS to start off the next inning. Jones then swiped second before moving to third on a fielder’s choice. With one out and the go-ahead run standing 90 feet away, Jake Haley hit a sac fly to center, giving Jones plenty of time to make the score 2-1.
The Colts attempted to rally in the seventh, but fell short with their last at-bats.
After the leadoff man was hit by a pitch but subsequently caught stealing, another Wooster runner reached base via a hit batsman. This time, instead of trying to steal, Wooster let Jaymes Spang move the runner to second with a single through the left side of the infield. With two on and one out, Jones came on in relief for the Cougars and shut the door on the Colts, sending the final two batters down swinging.
“Pitching behind Covington, Covington throws a little softer and he throws a little harder, so we just wanted to go with a heavy doses of fastball and I think that’s all he threw were fastballs,” Hofmann said of Jones’ closing effort. “The idea there was just to go heavy with the fastball and make it look like 100 miles an hour behind what they had seen all game.”
Spanish Springs will now have a week off before returning to the diamond at Hug High School on Thursday. First pitch is set for 3:45 p.m.
“We have work to do,” Hofmann said. “Their guy was good today and kept us off balance, so we have a lot of work to do at the plate. We have some stuff we can work on defensively wise. We are by no means set. We have a lot of work to do.”