The Cougars’ first nine losses in Northern 4A play all came by three runs or less. However, ineffective pitching and suspect defense against Bishop Manogue allowed the Miners to earn a series sweep with a 16-8 road win.
“Too many walks. Too many hit batters. That was a big part of it,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said. “We were behind in counts all day. If you give them 2-0 and 3-1 counts to hit in, they’re going to be successful.”
Manogue jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two and a half innings and looked poised to cruise past the home team. Kyle Lewis’ solo homer in the first and Patrick Hinojosa’s two-run shot in the second both cleared the short porch in right field and jumpstarted the Miners’ cause. Connor Thompson had an RBI single in the second.
In the top of the third, Logan Howard hit a hot shot back up the middle, driving in a pair of runs for the 6-0 advantage.
Still, Spanish Springs didn’t bow out without a fight.
Manogue starting pitcher Kyle Pruneau was perfect through the first two innings, but the Purple and Silver sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the third inning and tied it up with a six-run rally. Five of the runs came with two outs.
Matt Mannens drove in the first run with an infield single up the middle. Shannon Kelly followed Mannens with his own RBI single, finding the hole between shortstop and third base.
With the bases loaded and two outs, the runners were on the move for Chadd Little, who hit a line drive to right field, knocking in two more runners.
Taylor McBroom and Kenny Semenko laced back-to-back RBI seeing-eye singles, capping the game-tying rally.
“I was pleased we came back in the third and got back into the game. I was really pleased with the energy there,” Hofmann said. “But we put four errors on the board and you can’t give them free bases and extend the inning even more against a good hitting team.”
The only other runs Spanish Springs scored were on sacrifice flies by Gehrig Parks and Vinnie Agliolo in the fifth and sixth innings. By then, the Miners had already built another sizable lead.
Manogue pushed across five more runs in the top of the fifth frame. In the inning, there were two walks and two hit batsmen. The big blow came on a two-run double down the first-base line by Devonte German. The Miners also scored two runs on an error and one thanks to a bases-loaded walk, grabbing an 11-6 lead.
Manogue also scored a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Lewis, who finished with three RBI.
The visitors put the game out of reach with a four-run seventh inning.
Pruneau doubled to start the inning and came home on Hinojosa’s run-scoring single, a line drive to center field, capping his three-RBI performance.
With the infield playing in, No. 9 hitter Anthony Damonte drove in two runs with a grounder through the infield. MJ Farthing’s two-out RBI single accounted for the final 16-8 margin.
Spanish Springs ended up walking six hitters, hitting four and committing four errors.
Harrison Shawa pitched 2 1-3 innings of relief, allowing just one run to pick up the pitching victory. Damonte threw the final two innings for the Miners.
McBroom was the lone Cougar with more than one hit.
Of Manogue’s 15 hits, Howard had three of them. Thompson, German and Hinojosa each added two.
Spanish Springs (10-14, 4-10 in Northern 4A) will have a chance to play at Aces Ballpark for the third straight year when it takes on cross-town rival Reed at 4 p.m.