Spanish Springs posted wins of 4-2 and 12-2 to sweep the twin bill that matched up league and cross-town rivals. The Cougars (25-2) strengthened their grip on the HDL's top spot, improving to 13-0 in conference clashes. Reed (19-8) fell to 10-3 in league play.
"Both of these teams believe these are big games," Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. "And it will always be a big series when Spanish Springs and Reed play each other. We preached about staying focused for every pitch. You have to when you play quality teams. You must stay upbeat because there will be ups and downs. Our teams showed some heart and character. We kept swinging it and being aggressive all day."
Saturday's first game was tight throughout. Reed even held an early advantage. The Raiders jumped out to a quick 2-0 edge with a pair of first inning runs. Mary Dettling singled, and after a strikeout, Shivaun Landeros singled. Both scored after RBI singles by Destinee Levesque and Andi Lee.
Spanish Springs got one run back in the bottom of the first. Bella Rovens scored for the Cougars after a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt by Dani Smith and a Danica Arterburn single.
The Cougars tied the game at 2-2 with a single run in the bottom of the fourth. Three straight singles by Arterburn, Sydney Darby and Brette Lawrence loaded the bases. Arterburn scored soon after on a wild pitch.
Reed never was able to score again in the opener after the first inning. Spanish Springs scored the winning run and tacked on an insurance score in the fifth. Kayla Arterbrun walked to start the Cougars' fifth. After a pop out, Dani Smith reached safely on an error. Reed induced a groundout, but Darby walked to saturate the sacks with SSHS baserunners. Brette Lawrence proceeded to
rip a two-run single, forging Spanish Springs into its final 4-2 lead.
"We're a pretty solid defensive team, but we didn't necessarily show it today," Reed coach Jon Wunder said. "We have to work on our mental game. We made some errors and that goes back to our mental approach."
Danica Arterburn picked up the pitching win for the Cougars. She scattered seven Reed hits in a seven-strikeout, one-walk outing. She did hit two batters, but picked up the key pitching win.
Levesque took the loss for Reed, but turned in a solid outing in the circle. She allowed the four runs, but just two were earned. She gave up eight hits while fanning five and issuing two walks.
Game 2 was a different story. Spanish Springs got three runs in the first inning and just kept building on its lead until it enforced the 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Cougars three-run first inning started when Rovens walked and came around to score after a Smith sacrifice bunt and a Danica Arterburn triple. An RBI double by Darby brought Arterburn in to score and Myrissa Prince followed with a run-scoring single to plate Darby.
Reed tried to hang around initially. The Raiders trimed the Cougars' lead to 3-1 when Megan Dettling singled and scored after a Tyler Sumpter double.
"Obviously they are good. They are the state champs," Wunder said. "I didn't like our mental approach at the plate ... We didn't make the adjustments we needed to. We chased the riseball and popped up I don't know how many times. We left a lot of runners on."
Spanish Springs responded with three more runs in the third. Darby and Lawrence singled. A Prince sacrifice bunt moved them both up. Darby scored on a fielder's choice by Julianna Waller and Kayla Arterburn capped the outburst with a two-run double.
There wasn't much drama left in Game 2. Reed did get a run in the top of the fourth to make it 6-2, but Spanish Springs blew the game open with five runs in the sixth.
Danica Arterburn turned in her second complete-game pitching victory of the day by also going the distance in Game 2 for Spanish Springs. She gave up only one earned run and limited Reed to six hits in the second contest. She whiffed three and walked three.
"I wasn't planning on throwing her in Game 2 but she said she wanted the ball so I gave it to her," Davidson said. "Danica has a great mental approach to pitching. We talked on Wednesday about focusing on every pitch. But once that's over, move on to the next. Don't give in to hitters and hit your spots. She did that today."
Spanish Springs hosts Wooster Thursday at 3:45 p.m. while Reed goes to Manogue Thursday at 3:45 p.m.