“I thought considering the wind and the conditions, we played very good defense,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “Our pitcher hit her spots for the most part and we hit the ball well. Despite the windy conditions, I think the team played very well today.”
Junior pitcher Brette Lawrence took the circle for the Cougars and dominated the Huskies. After struggling a bit in the first inning, in which a leadoff single along with a pair of steals and a passed ball, allowed Reno to put a run on the board, Lawrence settled into a groove.
The 1-0 lead did not last long for the visitors. Spanish Springs tied the game in its first at-bat. Back-to-back singles from seniors Bella Rovens and Dani Smith, along with a walk to junior Sidney Sinclair, loaded the bases with one out. However, the Cougars were only able to manage one run, on a passed ball that plated Rovens.
A 3-up, 3-down frame from Lawrence in the top of the second set the Purple and Silver to take its first lead of the game in the bottom of the inning.
Rovens sent a double to the left-center field gap to score Kelsie Stroshine before an error on a pop fly from Smith sent Rovens around the bases, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead. It was all Lawrence would need.
The Cougs’ ace retired 12 of the next 13 batters she faced with some help from her defense.
Still holding a 3-1 lead in the top of the sixth inning, Smith and sophomore Bayley Broadwater showed off their leather. Smith made a running stop on a grounder and threw the runner out from her knees while Broadwater made a pair of nice plays, including a backhanded stab that was capped off by a full-length stretch from freshman first baseman Alyssa Batastini to record the out and retire the side.
“Bayley made two or three outstanding plays,” Davidson said. “Dani Smith made a couple of real nice plays herself. That’s what our pitcher expects. If she’s working hard and she’s hitting her spots, when the other team puts the ball in play she should be able to depend on her defense behind her and today she could. We played great defense behind her and that helped us out.”
With three outs left for the win, the Cougars added insurance runs in the bottom frame of the sixth with a five-spot.
The first three batters of the inning reached base safely for the Cougs, setting up the offensive outburst. A walk pushed Myrissa Prince across home before a sacrifice fly from Smith scored Kayla Arterburn. Lawrence sent a single back up the middle to help her own cause, scoring Stroshine. Sinclair then stepped into the batter’s box and cleared the sacs with a bloop single over second base, bringing the score to the final 8-1 tally.
“We hit the ball really well today but a couple of them were either right at people or were held up by the wind,” Davidson said. “We want to focus on hitting the ball hard. If you hit it at someone and they make a good play on you, that’s okay. I want quality at-bats and I want them to really focus on keeping their hands above the ball, hitting hard line-drives and hard ground balls. If they do that, they’ll be successful.”
Lawrence finished the game with a complete seven innings, allowing three hits and one run with four strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Spanish Springs (10-2, 7-0 Northern 4A) returns to the diamond with a doubleheader at North Valleys on Saturday with first pitch set for 10 a.m.