The Cougars swept a doubleheader at Hug High School by scores of 14-1 and 11-0, forcing shortened five-inning affairs in each game.
“Today we hit the ball extremely well, with a lot of hard ground balls and line drives,” coach Jeff Davidson said. “That’s a big improvement to the pop-ups we were hitting Thursday.”
With the pair of victories over the Hawks on Saturday, the SSHS squad concluded the regular season with a 28-2 record (16-0 in league) and will face Galena in the first round of regional play this week.
Two total innings of scoring would have been enough to take care of things for the Cougars against the hapless Hawks, who finished the season winless. In the first game, SSHS scored seven runs in the first inning and five runs in the second. In Game 2, the girls in purple plated six runs in the first inning and four more in the second, rendering the final three frames of each game superfluous.
Hug scored its only run of the twin billing in its first inning at the plate. Amanda Leos doubled in a run but Cougars starting pitcher Kaytlin Ripa stopped the Hawks there, commanding the circle for four innings with six strikeouts and no walks.
Offensively, the Cougars were successful up and down the lineup. Leadoff hitter Bella Rovens and No. 2 hitter Kayla Arterburn were each 3-for4 with an RBI in the first game, while Myrissa Prince was 3-for-3 with three triples.
In the second game, Danica Arterburn started the scoring when she doubled in the first inning to drive in the first two batters, who had reached on a bunt single and a hit by pitch. Sydney Darby added an RBI single and another double by Julianna Walker made it 4-0. An error by Hug third baseman Leos allowed another run to score and Sidney Sinclair concluded game two’s first-inning scoring with an RBI single.
When the Cougars weren’t slapping the ball or driving it into the gap, Hug’s defense couldn’t handle the ball consistently to record outs, which didn’t help the team’s cause any more than facing Ripa in the pitcher’s circle again in Game 2. This time the Cougars senior didn’t allow any runs while allowing just a second-inning double, which she eliminated by picking the runner off at second base.
Prince concluded the SSHS scoring frenzy with a long home run to right field to make the score 11-0.
At the end of play Saturday, Davidson said he wanted to make sure every player got onto the field in Saturday’s game and that this week will be dedicated to drilling fundamentals to get ready for the playoffs. The Cougars’ first opponent, the Galena Grizzlies, fell to SSHS three times this season by scores of 11-5, 8-0 and 15-0. Nonetheless, Davidson said his team has to be ready because in the postseason, every team starts with a record of 0-0.
“What’s happened to this point doesn’t matter,” he said.