In the end, Spanish Springs held on for an 8-7 road win in the conference clash.
“With that wind, and a one-run game, you just never know,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “If a guy runs into one, it doesn’t take a lot to hit one out. The wind can help you too, but it definitely scares you.”
Trailing 8-6 in the bottom of the sixth, Reed threw a big scare into its guests. Erik Martinez and Alex Young reached on Spanish Springs errors.
Jason Stroberg ripped a double that plated Martinez. Young tried to score the game’s tying run but he was cut down at the plate for the third out in the inning, nixing the Raiders’ threat.
Spanish Springs broke a 6-6 tie with two runs in the top of the sixth. Jake Bray doubled and Garek Tauchen followed with a bunt single. Next, Tanner Oates singled to score Bray and give Spanish Springs the lead, 7-6. The Cougars added an insurance run when Anderson hit a hard liner back to the mound.
It got knocked down, but Tauchen scored on the fielder’s choice, giving the SSHS nine its 8-6 advantage.
Spanish Springs (20-5, 11-4) had trailed 6-4 but pulled into a 6-6 deadlock with two runs in the fourth. Bray doubled and Tauchen hit an opposite-field home run, helping his squad knot the game.
The visiting Cougars grabbed a quick 3-0 lead with a trio of first-inning runs. Bray walked and scored later in the inning on a passed ball.
Oates singled and stole second. He went to third when the throw got away into center field. Chase Kittilsen then proceeded to launch a two-run homer.
“We made some mistakes and gave them extra opportunities,” Reed coach Ray Charles said. “You can’t give a team like that, a veteran team, extra opportunities.
“They made plays when they had to. I thought we missed out on some opportunities we had early. Usually when you do that, it comes back to haunt you.”
Reed (10-16, 5-12) seemed unfazed by falling behind 3-0. The Raiders bounced back in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs. Ryan Butler walked, moved to second on a balk and scored when Stroberg reached on an error.
Stroberg scored later in the frame on an RBI single by A.J. Silva.
Neither team scored in the second, but a Kendall Murphy RBI double forged Spanish Springs ahead 4-2 in the top of inning three. Again, Reed had an answer, this time a four-run rally in the bottom of the third.
Stroberg initiated the big inning with a single. After a strikeout, Tanner Parris was hit by a pitch. Silva reached on an error and Stroberg scored.
A Spencer Jones triple brought Silva home Martinez singled in Jones and he scored shortly thereafter, allowing the RHS crew to grab a 6-4 edge.
“I definitely think we’re better than we were (earlier in the year),” Charles said. “I feel we really have improved. They beat us pretty badly the first time we faced them and the last two games have been close. When you get an opportunity to finish off an opponent, you have to do it. We’re getting closer, and hopefully, one of these days, we’ll get over that hump and win one of these close games.”
Spanish Springs starting pitcher Dallas Mellum worked five innings and picked up the pitching victory. He scattered seven hits in a six-strikeout, zero-walk outing. He did hit two Reed batters.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, which is keep us in the game and don’t give up the big inning,” Hofmann said. “He did give up four in that inning, but they weren’t all earned. He let our offense get to work. When our pitchers do that, most of the time we’re just fine.”
The two teams meet again at Spanish Springs at 11 a.m. Saturday.