“The game experienced everything,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said. “It was cold and windy and there was a little snow, rain, hail. I have to give credit where credit is due. McQueen played well. It was just a tough battle today in the conditions.
“Fortunately our guys were just mentally tough. That’s what we’ve preached. No matter what the conditions, play our game. Both teams are playing and exposed to the same conditions. You have to be mentally tough and you can’t worry about it. You just have to go out there and play because the other team is playing in the same stuff. They were mentally tough today and they stuck it out and that’s what helped us get the victory.”
The two squads received great performances from their aces in the circle, with Cougars junior hurler Brette Lawrence and McQueen senior Jordan Lane going toe-to-toe.
Spanish Springs struck quickly in the top of the first inning. Senior Bella Rovens started the game off with a leadoff single and then advanced to third on two ensuing fielder’s choices. Junior catcher Sidney Sinclair then stepped into the batter’s box and drove a single into center field for the game’s first run, giving the Cougs a 1-0 edge.
With the weather slowly creeping over the mountains toward the diamond, both pitchers bared down from that point.
The Lancers attempted to recoup the run they gave up with their first at-bats, but Lawrence stifled their efforts.
After McQueen’s first two batters grounded out, junior Hannah Lowe doubled down the right field line. An error and a walk then loaded the bases, but three straight strikes ended the inning with no harm done for Spanish Springs.
Two strikeouts and a pop out put together a 3-up, 3-down top of the second for Lane, handing the ball back over to Lawrence. The Lancers again tried to get on the scoreboard, putting runners on the corners with two outs, but Lawrence was again able to get out of the jam with a strikeout, sustaining Spanish Springs’ 1-0 advantage.
Eighteen of the next 20 batters were retired by the two pitchers as their duel continued. With the Purple and Silver still holding the slight 1-0 lead heading into the sixth inning, the Cougars finally broke through again against Lane.
An infield error allowed Rovens to reach first base safely with one out in the top frame. After a strikeout put the Lancers an out away from getting out of the inning, Rovens advanced to third with a pair of steals. Stepping to the dish with snow furiously blustering around the field, Lawrence sent a frozen rope to the left field fence for an RBI double and pushing the Cougars’ lead to 2-0.
“That’s what we’ve talked about all year,” Davidson said of his team coming through at the key moment. “When you have a chance to make a difference in the game for your team, step up and make that difference, and they did. That helped us out tremendously to get the win. Both teams played exceptionally well considering the conditions. Brette pitched a great game and came through with a clutch hit there in the sixth. It was just a good, hard game in the conditions.”
The visitors added one more insurance run in the seventh when sophomore Kayla Arterburn sent a two-out double to deep center field, sending teammate Myrissa Prince all the way home from first for the 3-0 lead. Lawrence took the circle in the final frame, sitting the Lancers down in order and capping the win off with a strikeout.
Both hurlers went seven innings, with Lane tossing five strikeouts, a walk and giving up five hits in the loss. Lawrence also struck out five, walked two and gave up four hits for the win. Davidson was proud of his team’s performance on the defensive side of the field.
“I thought we did a great job,” Davidson said. “We hit our spots. We were going inside quite a bit and trying to jam them. When we went away, they hit the ball the other way. Our defense played well especially considering the conditions they were in. It was a hard-fought win.”
Rovens led the Cougars at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a triple and scoring two runs.
Spanish Springs (13-2, 10-0 Northern 4A) will look to remain perfect in Northern 4A play with a doubleheader at Carson High on Saturday, with first pitch set for 10 a.m.
The Reed softball team faced off against Galena on Thursday afternoon and left the Grizzlies’ cave with a 10-5 Northern 4A victory.
The Raiders did not exactly have an overpowering performance at the dish in the blustery wind and snow, but did enough to gain the win.
“Obviously it was cold and snowy but we managed and we had seven hits which was more than enough to get the job done,” Reed coach Jon Wunder said. “We hit some fly balls to the outfield that we got under the ball a little bit too much on. It was an average day at the plate for us. We could have done better but we did enough to get the win.”
The first two innings passed without either team generating any offense, but the Blue and Gold finally got its bats going in the top of the third.
Sophomore Megan Dettling led off the inning with a single, followed by a single from senior Hannah Martini. Senior Cori Gammon then delivered a single to score Dettling before sister Mary Dettling also singled to plate Martini for a 2-0 edge. A fielder’s choice allowed Gammon to touch home before the scoring was rounded out with a single from senior Andi Lee that sent Mary Dettling to the plate for a 4-0 Reed advantage.
The Raiders scored four more runs in the top of the fourth inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Lindsay Yearman took home on a wild pitch for the first tally of the inning. Gammon delivered with another single to score Martini, before a walk to Mary Dettling and an ensuing error off the bat of Shivaun Landeros sent Gammon around the bases. Mary Dettling capped the rally on a passed ball, leaving the scoreboard reading 8-0 in favor of the visitors.
Galena finally got on the board in the bottom of the frame, pushing a run across the plate to make the score 8-1.
The top of the fifth saw the Raiders add two more runs, with the Grizzlies responding with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning for a 10-2 difference.
A three-run homer from Galena senior McKenzie Wasley in the sixth brought the score to the final of 10-5.
Megan Dettling took the circle for the Raiders, pitching six innings for the win while striking out eight. Sophomore Jackie Sertic relieved Dettling in the seventh, striking out two and forcing a pop up to seal the victory. Wunder was pleased with the performance from his hurlers.
“Megan had eight strikeouts and she was strong early on,” Wunder said. “That’s about what she averages. She was hitting her spots well. We just had that one inning where she came out and was cold and she had a little trouble finding the strike zone. Ultimately she worked herself out of that inning. Then I brought Jackie in fresh off the bench to close out that seventh inning. They complement each other well.”
With the season almost at the half-way point, Wunder said he wants his team to remain focused.
“Our focus is one game at a time,” Wunder said. “We don’t look past anybody. We go out there and our motto is to finish strong. Last year we would get a couple runs early and then we would kind of fizzle and our goal this season is to score in the sixth or seventh inning of every game. We want to finish strong. Obviously we’re having success, but I honestly believe that we have the toughest part of our schedule ahead of us.”
Reed (13-2, 10-0 Northern 4A) plays Wooster today at home with the game slated for 3:45 p.m.