While the games were played at Spanish Springs, McQueen was the home team as the doubleheader was originally scheduled for the Lancers’ home field. However, the northwest Reno school’s fields were still saturated from this week’s wet storms. The venue change was made to avoid further re-scheduling issues.
The Cougars may have been the visitors but they were right at home. The SSHS nine put up three runs in the first inning of Game 1 and did not face a deficit on the day.
Dani Smith and Danica Arterburn singled and scored on a two-run single by Sydney Darby. A Myrissa Prince double plated Darby.
“Softball is a game of firsts,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “We preach that. On defense, we want to get the first hitter of the inning out. We want to score the first run of the game and so on.
“We worked really hard this week on being aggressive early. Today we did that. It helps your team’s confidence.”
The Cougars extended their edge to 4-0 with a run in the second. Julianna Waller reached on an error and eventually came home on a Smith single.
McQueen narrowed the margin to 4-1 with its lone run of the day in the bottom of the fourth. That score was short-lived as Spanish Springs answered with its final two runs of the opener in the fifth frame. Alyx Penrod and Arterburn singled. Both scored after an RBI groundout by Darby and a McQueen error.
Arterburn went the distance in the circle and picked up the Game 1 pitching win. She scattered seven Lancers hits while striking out 11 and walking only one.
In Game 2, Spanish Springs put on an offensive display. The Cougars rapped out 16 hits en route to the lopsided triumph. Again, the SSHS club wasted no time putting McQueen in a hole. The Cougars ripped off a trio of first-inning runs and were never really threatened.
“We hit the ball down and hard extremely well later,” Davidson said. “In that first game, we hit quite a few pitches in the air. The key to hitting is hitting the ball hard, down, line drives. We did that in the second game.”
That first-inning scoring came when Bella Rovens and Dani Smith singled while Arterburn walked to load the bases. Darby cleared them with a three-run double.
Spanish Springs produced its biggest offensive inning of the day with a five-run second. Arterburn and Darby had RBI doubles in the big inning while Myrissa Prince had a run-scoring single.
Spanish Springs continued to pour it on. The local squad tacked on two runs in the third, three in the fourth and one more in the fifth.
Darby, who had a two-run single in the fourth, drove in six runs in Game 2 and nine overall in the two conference clashes.
“Even her outs were hit extremely hard,” Davidson said of Darby’s prowess at the plate Saturday. “She just had a great day.”
Arterburn tossed the first three innings without allowing a run. Kaytlin Ripa handled the final two. She didn’t give up a run either as the teammates combined on a three-hit shutout.
Spanish Springs (8-2, 4-0 HDL) returns to the diamond Tuesday when it meets Fallon in a non-league tilt.