To make matters seem worse, Spanish Springs had just drummed Wooster at home a day earlier. The Cougars (21-7) fell to 12-6 in league play and find themselves in a dogfight for the second through fifth playoff seeds.
"It's very frustrating," Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. "It's a game where we're were fighting for our seeding life and we can't afford to not show up mentally, emotionally or any other way. We're not a good enough team to just show up and beat somebody because we're Spanish Springs."
The Northern 4A's top four regular season finishers get to host a first-round playoff game. The Cougars have already locked up a postseason berth.
That lackadaisical approach seemed to be the Cougars' plan Wednesday. Spanish Springs had no trouble dismantling Wooster a day earlier, enforcing a 10-run mercy rule in a 13-3 romp over the Colts at home. But Wednesday was a much different story.
Wooster broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning by pushing across two runs. It never trailed again.
Down 4-1 after five innings, Spanish Springs tried to hang around. The Sparks school got a run in the top of the sixth to make it 4-2. Tanner Oates doubled and scored after a Kendall Murphy RBI single.
Wooster responded with two runs in its half of the fifth to hold the Cougars at bay.
The visiting SSHS squad got an unearned run with two outs in the top of the seventh to account for the final 6-3 margin.
Spanish Springs was out-hit by Wooster 9-6 and committed four errors to Wooster's two.
"We couldn't get on top of anything," Hofmann said. "For the most part, we could not string consecutive good at bats together, like we've been able to do all year."
Spanish Springs wraps up its regular season with a league series against McQueen. The Cougars host the Lancers today at 3:45 p.m. and then the two teams meet Friday in the season finale at Aces Ballpark. First pitch Friday is set for 4 p.m.
"I thought we were on the right track," Hofmann said. "We had good approaches and good at bats Tuesday, but that did not carry over to today. That's the bottom line. I was hoping to get on a nice little run here into the playoffs. And we still can. We have to come out tomorrow, play well and go from there … This league is up for grabs. Whoever gets hot has the best chance to win it."
South Tahoe 8, Sparks 7
•Sparks was handed just its second league loss of the season in the one-run defeat at the Lake Wednesday.
Sparks (15-7) committed six errors and gave up seven unearned runs in the disappointing defeat. The going got bad from the start as Sparks never led.
"We were trying to stop that bad momentum and they just kept on scoring runs left and right," Sparks coach Greg Vasko said. "We didn't play the way we're capable of playing. I don't know what to say. We just did not play well."
Sparks and South Tahoe meet again Saturday in a league twin bill at SHS, set to start at 11 a.m. If Sparks can get even a split, it will capture the Mount Rose League's top playoff seed into next week's Northern 3A regional tournament.