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Spanish Springs picks up first baseball win
by Dan Eckles
Mar 09, 2012 | 926 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Spanish Springs Cougars split a pair of preseason games at home in the annual season-opening Mike Bearman Memorial Tournament Friday. In the process, the SSHS nine picked up its first win of the two-day old season.

Spanish Springs, which was beaten 8-1 Thursday in its tourney and season debut at Douglas, dropped its first game Friday — 6-3 to Carson — but bounced back later in the day to down Truckee 9-3.

In the early game Friday, Spanish Springs got two runs in the third and pushed across another in the fifth en route to taking a 3-1 advantage. Unfortunately for the Sparks school, it could not close out the contest. Carson put up five runs in the top of inning six and held on for the road win.

Carson got four hits and two walks in its fifth-inning rally. Gehrig Tucker had the key knock for the Senators in the frame, rapping out a two-run double.

Spanish Springs trailed 1-0 as it came up for its turn in the bottom of the third. After a one-out single by Troy Weller and a two-run homer by Matt Mannens, the Cougars had a 2-1 lead.

The Sparks school extended its edge to 3-1 with a single score in the fifth. Shane Lawson singled, stole second and came plateward after a Chase Kittilsen single and sacrifice fly by Vinny Agliolo.

Kittilsen was solid on the hill for Spanish Springs through five innings before being knocked out of the game three hitters into the sixth. He was saddled with the loss but his start that stretched deep into the game was encouraging for Cougars coach Ben Hofmann.

“I was very pleased with Chase today,” the second-year SSHS skipper said. “He kept us in the game, did what we wanted him to do and is getting better at throwing strikes.”

Kittilsen finished with a line of: five innings pitched, six hits, five strikeouts and seven walks.

In the second game of the day, it was the Cougars who posted the big inning and captured the tournament triumph.

Spanish Springs trailed 2-1 to Truckee after three and a half innings, but strung together a seven-run rally in the bottom of the fourth, breaking the game open.

Truckee got a run in the top of the first but Spanish Springs answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the first. Mannens singled, stole second and raced home on a Shane Lawson single. Truckee grabbed its 2-1 lead with a run in the third, but that just set the stage for the Cougars’ tell-tale fourth.

Lawson started the fourth with a single and Kittilsen followed with a walk. A walk to Agliolo saturated the sacks. Chad Little ripped a two-run double to put the Cougs on top 3-2. They did not relinquish the lead. Taylor McBroom got down a sacrifice squeeze bunt, plating a run.

Hunter Fralick reached on a fielder’s choice and Tory Weller walked, forcing in another run. The inning was capped after a two-run triple by Mannens and an RBI single by Lawson.

Leading 8-2, Spanish Springs tacked on its final run in the sixth. That came thanks to a solo homer by Nikk Audenreid, in his first plate appearance of the game.

Austin Damoth picked up the pitching win for Spanish Springs. He worked four innings, allowing two runs, scattering three hits while walking four and hitting a pair of batters. He did record three strikeouts.

Lucas Jones turned in two scoreless innings of relief for the Cougars.

“We’ve still got a long ways to go,” Hofmann said after the day’s split. “Our approaches at the plate still are not very good. We’ve talked about when we get 2-0 and 3-1 counts, to look for those fastballs. But we’re not swinging at those hitters’ pitches, then going deep into counts and having to swing at a pitcher’s pitch.”

Spanish Springs concludes the preseason tournament today with a pair of games at Reed — against Fallon at 10 a.m. and then against Reed at 12:30 p.m.
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