The Raiders entered the game with a slight advantage, having played one less game. The Cougars had to use all the arms they could find on the mound, but it didn’t spell success as the RHS crew cruised to a 20-9 triumph.
Reed benefited from a fortuitous bounce from the very first batter. Beau Tittensor led off the bottom of the first with a high chopper in front of the plate that SSHS pitcher Nikk Audenried could not bare hand cleanly. However, it didn’t look like the leadoff single would amount to anything after the Cougars recorded two straight outs.
But with Tittensor on third and A.J. Silva at the plate, things started to get rolling. A pitch in the dirt skipped away to the right, allowing Tittensor to sprint home for the game’s first run. It also cost Silva an RBI as Reed’s clean-up hitter smoked a frozen rope past Cougars shortstop Matt Mannens on the very next pitch.
Joey Dice drew a two-out base on balls. With runners on first and second, Reed tried a little hit and run action. Troy O’Connor hit a slow grounder deep in the hole at short where Mannens vacated his position. Mannens was able to get to the ball before it made it to the outfield, but Silva was not stopping at third.
Silva kept on chugging home. A good throw to the plate would have nailed him for the third out, but the throw was high and wide and runners moved up to second and third.
Now leading 2-0, Ryan Butler made his mark in the batter’s box. Stuck in an 0-2 hole, Butler worked the count full and delivered with a two-run double to the right-center field gap, forging the Raiders ahead 4-0.
Connor Cox then followed with a jam shot down the right-field line, driving in Butler for a 5-0 edge with an RBI single.
The Blue and Gold got lucky again in the bottom of the second.
After Tanner Paris and Chuck Stroberg hit back-to-back singles through the hole between shortstop and third, Silva scorched a shot that likely would have been a tailor-made double play, but instead drilled the infield umpire, loading the bases.
Reed again took advantage of the good fortunes. Dice got an easy RBI by walking, and Troy O’Connor drove in a pair with a line-drive single to right field, giving the hosts an 8-0 lead with no outs in the second. It also ended Audenried’s day on the mound.
Taylor McBroom came on in relief, but immediately walked Butler to load the bases again. McBroom induced a double play from Cox, but a run still scored, leaving the scoreboard to read 9-0.
McBroom struggled in his second inning of relief, losing command of his pitches.
An error allowed leadoff man Tittensor to reach base. McBroom walked Stroberg, putting runners on the corners with two outs. A Silva double to opposite field plated Tittensor.
Dice received a free pass, saturating the sacks. A wild pitch pushed Stroberg across and McBroom’s fourth walk of the inning reloaded the bases and forced the Cougars to go to the bullpen, trailing 11-0.
It didn’t get much better for Junior Ruiz. Butler welcomed him to the game with a shot to deep center that only went for an RBI single because runners had to wait to see if it would be caught. Then Casey Higgins’ base knock drove in a run.
A walk and hit batsman pushed across two more runs, capping the six-run rally that left Reed with a 15-0 lead after three innings.
In the fourth frame, Spanish Springs finally got on the board with a two-out rally when Reed starter Spencer Jones lost a little control of his location.
Jones walked pinch hitter Hunter Tracy, gave up an infield single to Lucas Jones, and walked Mannens. Shane Lawson made sure the visiting team would not be shut out on the scoreboard, singling home Tracy with a base hit to left. However, the ball was misplayed, enabling all the runners to move up 90 feet, including a second run across home plate.
Following another walk, Vinnie Agliolo lifted a fly ball to right-center, but miscommunication allowed it to drop in for a two-run double, cutting the deficit to 15-4.
In the bottom half of the fourth frame, Reed got its 16th run on a sacrifice fly by Cox.
For the second time in the game, the Cougars got their bats going with two outs. In the top of the fifth, Lucas Jones sliced an RBI double down the right-field line, starting the rally that would help Spanish Springs avoid the 10-run mercy rule momentarily.
A Mannens base hit and a hit batsman left nowhere to put Chase Kittilsen, who homered against Fallon in the morning game. This time, Kittilsen cleared the fence in left-center field for a grand slam, getting his team to within seven runs, 16-9.
But Reed stormed back to end the game with the mercy rule as the home team took a page out of the Cougars’ playbook by rallying with two outs off reliever Lucas Jones.
Brett Chaney laced an RBI single up the middle, making it 17-9. With two runners on base, Drew Bryant launched a no-doubter to left field, ending the game with his three-run blast.
Silva led the Raiders with his 3-for-3 day at the plate. Butler was 2-for-2 with three RBI.
Spencer Jones pitched all five innings to get the complete-game victory. He allowed 10 hits, walked five, hit three batters and struck out three.
Lucas Jones finished 3-for-3 at the plate. Mannens was 2-for-2 for the Cougars. Kittilsen also had a double to go with his grand slam.
“We got tired, but I liked our guys going in,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said. “This whole weekend the general rule was we didn’t throw enough strikes. We were behind in counts a lot today. When you’re behind in counts to a good-hitting team, more times than not, they’re going to make you pay for it.”
Reed took a 30-minute break before getting back to work against Fallon in the Raiders’ final game of the preseason tourney.
The Raiders improved to 4-1 on the young season by earning their second 10-run mercy-rule shortened win of the day with a 12-2 victory over the Greenwave in six innings.
“We’ve just been excited for this tournament, waiting to see how we would start the season,” Reed baseball coach Ray Charles said. “We definitely started off on the right foot, but preseason is preseason. Tuesday is when it starts for real.”
Just like in the first game, Reed walked off with a mercy-rule win.
Leading 9-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth, the Raiders got three consecutive at-bats that produced a run. Higgins and Chaney had back-to-back RBI base hits, and Jake Means sent everyone home with a sacrifice fly to center field. Means also had two RBI doubles in the game.
Silva scattered five hits over his six innings of work on the hill, striking out five and walking none in the win.
Offensively, Tittensor contributed a 2-RBI double, while Paris and Stroberg had RBI singles.
Reed scored in every inning but the third and scored three runs in the second, fourth and sixth frames.
For Fallon, Garrett Llamas hit a bases-empty home run.
The Raiders (4-1) open Northern 4A league action Tuesday at home against McQueen. First pitch is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.
Prior to its game with Reed, Spanish Springs took on Fallon and ended things early thanks to an 8-run rally in the bottom of the sixth that instituted the 10-run mercy rule in an 11-1 triumph. The Cougars scored all eight runs with no outs.
“It took us a little while because it was cold, but I think it took everyone a little while to get going,” Hofmann said. “It’s no excuse because it’s going to be cold the rest of the year I’m sure. But it did take us a little while to get going. We got into their bullpen and hitting kind of got contagious.”
Spanish Springs only scored runs in two innings. In the bottom of the third and with one out, Kittilsen belted a solo homer to get things started.
Later in the inning, Anthony Tiscareno went deep for a two-run, two-out home run, making it a 3-0 ballgame.
Fallon picked up its lone run in the top of the fourth, but struggled against Cougars pitcher Garrett Covington, who went the distance on the mound.
The score remained 3-1 for the next two innings until the Purple and White went off on the Greenwave.
From the No. 9 hole in the lineup, Lucas Jones led off the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot.
Coming back around to the top of the order, Mannens doubled, Lawson was hit by a pitch and a walk loaded the bases for the meat of the of the order.
Agliolo and Chad Little ripped back-to-back two-run singles, increasing the lead to 8-1.
Tiscareno doubled, putting two runners in scoring position. A Tracy pinch-hit single drove in a run for a 9-1 advantage.
McBroom reloaded the bases by drawing a walk, and Scott Dwyer came off the bench to end the game with a two-run single.
Spanish Springs (2-3) will now face Damonte Ranch at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday at home in league play.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do in a lot of areas,” Hofmann said. “I’m pleased with the energy and the effort. We just have to execute better.”