The Grizzlies’ ace pitched all seven innings against the Cougs, allowing five hits while striking out 11 without issuing a walk en route to leading his south Reno school to a 5-2 Northern 4A league prep baseball road win.
“Their guy was good today,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “Their pitcher was really good today. We didn’t have a good approach today at times. We want our guys to be aggressive in hitter’s counts, but we want them to be aggressive in the zone. There were times that we weren’t and there were times that we were aggressive outside of it. Their guy did a good job of mixing up his fastball and his off-speed stuff. That was pretty much the game. Their guy was a little bit better than us today.”
Galena got on the scoreboard first in the opening inning. After an error on a bunt allowed Andrew Hunter to reach first base safely, Zackary Parkinson moved Hunter into scoring position with a single to left field. That set up senior Ryan Ford for an RBI single, giving the Grizz the early 1-0 edge.
Spanish Springs struggled mightily with its turn at the dish as Cullen retired the side in both bottom frames of the first and second, collecting a pair of strikeouts in each inning as well.
In the top of the third, Galena gave itself some breathing room. A leadoff double from junior Cole Fenner allowed Parkinson to send him home with a single to center. Parkinson then rounded the sacks on a double to the left-center field gap. That left Cougars in a 3-0 hole.
Spanish Springs responded in the next half inning. An error put Chadd Little on base, setting up Shannon Kelly to plate a run back up the middle. The Cougs got another runner on base, but stranded the pair with a line out double play, leaving the scoreboard reading 3-1 in favor of the Grizzlies.
The score remained the same heading into the fifth inning. That’s when a pair of leadoff walks and a sac bunt got Galena in business. With runners on second and third and one out, the visitors plated another runner with a squeeze bunt from senior Alejandro Barajas, giving Galena a three-run advantage again at 4-1.
SSHS junior Matt Mannens cut into the Grizzlies’ lead in the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot deep over the fence in left field, bringing the score to 4-2. However, the Cougars were unable to muster any more offense through the remainder of the contest.
Galena (5-4, 1-4 Northern 4A) added an insurance run in the top of the seventh with an RBI double from Barajas, leading to the final tally of 5-2.
Mannens led the Cougars at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with the home run.
Spanish Springs (6-6, 4-3 Northern 4A) will get a chance to split the series with the Grizzlies when it plays at Galena on Thursday. First pitch is set for 3:45 p.m.
“The good news is I think we’re pretty evenly matched,” Hofmann said. “I think they’re a good ball club and I think we can be a good ball club. Thursday we have a chance. It’s like I said last week, you’re only as good as your next game’s starter; so we’ll see. Hopefully, our (pitching) guy on Thursday is a little bit better than their guy is on Thursday.”