The Cougars had four throwing errors in the first two innings, leading to a trio of runs as the Grizzlies secured the series sweep with a 4-1 home win.
“We gave them a few runs and they were able to stake them to their pitcher. That was the difference,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said.
Spanish Springs starting pitcher Chase Kittilsen had a wild first inning. After Galena leadoff batter Jorge Medina singled, Kittilsen paid close attention to the Grizzly speedster, a little too much attention. Kittilsen spent more time throwing over to first than pitching to the batter, and eventually one got past first baseman Chadd Little, allowing Medina to go from first to third.
Some wild high heat sailed over catcher Kenny Semenko and got stuck in the fence out of the vision of Semenko, enabling Medina to sprint home for the game’s first run.
Cole Fenner singled with one out, and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with two outs. A full-count meant everyone was on the move, but Kittilsen froze Alex Barajas with a called strike three on the outside corner, leaving the bases juiced.
In the bottom of the second, Spanish Springs threw the ball around again, leading to two more runs for the home team.
An infield single to deep shortstop put Sean Pferschy on base to start the inning. An errant pickoff throw at first and second advanced Pferschy to third, setting up No. 9 hitter Andrew Hunter’s run-scoring single just over first base.
A sacrifice bunt moved Hunter to second, and then he took advantage of a pitch in the dirt. However, Semenko’s throw down to third was also in the dirt and went down the left-field line. Hunter scored on the third error of the inning, making it a 3-0 ballgame.
Galena starting pitcher Drew Anderson continued to baffle the Cougars hitters. Through four innings, only one ball left the infield against Anderson.
Neither team recorded an extra base hit until the bottom of the fifth frame when Galena third baseman Ryan Ford smoked a gap shot into left-center field for a two-bagger. With two outs, Barajas hit a single into shallow right field off the end of his bat. Defensive substitute Gehrig Parks made a perfect throw from right field to the plate, but Ford knocked the ball from Semenko’s glove. That left the Grizz with a 4-0 lead after five innings.
The Cougars ended Anderson’s shutout bid in the sixth. Shane Lawson was hit by a pitch to start the inning and went to second on a groundout to third. Spanish Springs’ third ball to leave the infield plated Lawson. Kittilsen ripped an RBI double just inside the left-field line, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
Anderson went the distance, tossing a four-hitter. He walked one, hit a batter and had five strikeouts to help Galena improve to 2-4 in league play.
“Their guy was good today. Their third baseman made a couple nice plays,” Hofmann said. “They didn’t hit the ball hard that many times either. It was just tough conditions to play in today. Pitchers were at the advantage.”
The left side of Galena’s infield was solid on the day. Ford at third and Barajas at short combined for 10 infield assists. Ford was also the only Grizzly with more than one hit. He was 2-for-2 with a double and single.
Spanish Springs (6-7, 4-4 in Northern 4A) returns home Saturday for Game 1 of its series with Reno. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Damonte Ranch 9, Reed 0
Early in the Raiders’ game at the southeast Reno school wasn’t pretty either. Reed committed four errors and eight runs came across in the second inning as the Mustangs earned the Northern 4A series sweep.
“Our pitching threw well, got groundballs, but we couldn’t play defense behind them,” Reed baseball coach Ray Charles. “It was a tough defensive day. We’re struggling now, so it’s back to the drawing board.”
Damonte scored another run in the sixth to account for the final margin.
Charles said the team needs to start hitting and playing better defense in order to take advantage of good pitching.
Reed (7-6, 3-5) is on the road again Saturday. It’s contest at Bishop Manogue is scheduled for 11 a.m.