For the second straight year, Spanish Springs and McQueen battled it out at Aces Ballpark. This time, the Cougs made up for being blanked a year ago by crushing the Lancers, 15-3 in six innings.
It was a much needed win for the local school after losing three of its previous four games.
“We’ve been scuffling a little bit to be fair. We really needed something like this,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said. “They had an absolute blast. They’ve been excited all week. We lost 4-0 last year and still had the time of our life. When you win, you have a lot more fun.”
Spanish Springs senior Jake Bray had a day on the big stage. The shortstop went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and four runs scored.
His two-run double off the wall in center field was just one of the big blows the Cougars dealt in an eight-run top of the sixth that instituted the 10-run mercy rule.
Kyle Clark blooped a two-run single to right field before Chase Kittilsen crushed a two-run triple off the left-center field wall.
Matt Mannens kept the rally going by lacing a liner up the middle, plating Kittilsen for a 12-3 lead.
After recording the second out of inning, Spanish Springs sent six more batters to the plate. Bray and Tanner Oates had back-to-back doubles to cap the rally. Oates was 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
“I’ve always said that with this team hitting is contagious. We got a couple guys going and it just blew up,” Hofmann said.
The game was close early on.
Bray singled with one out in the top of the first. He stole second and moved to third on Oates’ grounder to shortstop. Kendall Murphy drove him in with a single back up the middle.
The Lancers tied the game up at 1-1 in the bottom half of the first. Christian Stolo roped a line drive single to center field and came all the way around to score when Kody Reynolds one-hopped the wall in left field for a double.
Spanish Springs reclaimed the lead for good with a four-run second inning. The Cougars increased their advantage to 5-1 thanks to two-run singles by Oates and Malcolm Anderson.
McQueen scored single runs in the second and third innings, but never got closer than the 5-3 deficit.
Spanish Springs starter Dallas Mellum pitched 4 1-3 innings and recorded the win. He scattered eight hits while walking and striking out three.
The Cougars picked up two more runs in the fifth frame, both on squeeze plays. Clark had a one-out triple and scored on Cade Rogers’ bunt single. Garek Tauchen pushed across the other run with a bunt back to the pitcher that was bobbled initially.
Murphy, Anderson, Clark and Rogers all had two hits apiece for the Purple and Silver.
Because of Bishop Manogue’s win Friday, Spanish Springs (22-8, 13-7 in Northern 4A) falls to the fourth seed and will host Carson at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We had a couple goals in mind at the start of the year. The first one was make the playoffs and the second one was host a playoff game. With that said, we accomplished both of those goals. We’re very excited,” Hofmann said.