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Gunned Down: Spanish Springs falls in tournament final
by Dan Eckles
Apr 14, 2012 | 1389 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs junior Kelsey Stroshine drops her bat on a base hit during the Cougars’ 10-3 tournament semifinal win over Castro Valley, Calif. Saturday.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs junior Kelsey Stroshine drops her bat on a base hit during the Cougars’ 10-3 tournament semifinal win over Castro Valley, Calif. Saturday.
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The Reed softball program was probably tired of watching cross-town rival Spanish Springs win the annual RHS Spring Break ‘Easter’ Tournament. After all, the SSHS nine had won the last two events.

While Reed was unable to capture its own tournament title again this spring, it didn’t have to watch its arch rival walk away with the championship trophy. That because James Logan High, of Union City, Calif., is the 2012 tournament winner after getting by Spanish Springs 2-1 in the tourney title tilt Saturday afternoon.

Logan erased a 1-0 deficit in the top of the sixth inning when it pushed across its only two runs of the contest.

Colts leadoff hitter Kimberly Goulart laced a leadoff single to get the Logan rally going. Marissa Perez followed and got down a sacrifice bunt. Perez turned that into a bunt single when she hustled down the line and was deemed safe on a close call. Spanish Springs coaches insisted she was out, but their arguments went for naught.

Next, Jazmine Reed put down another bunt and reached safely after three Cougars converged on the slow roller in front of the plate. All three SSHS infielders were slow to react, allowing Reed to reach safely on an error. That left the bases loaded for the Colts with no outs.

Spanish Springs looked like it might get out of the inning unscathed. Colts cleanup hitter Alexis Martinez drilled a liner right at Cougars first baseman Ally Batastini, who snagged the hot shot, turned and forced out Reed, who wandered too far off the first base bag.

Coley Bonansea did not let the Logan threat fade away. She hit an 0-2 pitch for a Texas-league single over the head of SSHS second baseman Dani Smith. The hit plated Goulart and Perez for a two-run single.

Spanish Springs ace Brette Lawrence proceeded to strike out Raeann Garza to end the inning but Cougar coaches were incensed, feeling their club should have been out of the inning had the close call on the Perez bunt been called differently.

“There was a runner on and obviously they bunt the ball,” seventh-year Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson said, alluding to the controversial bunt play. “Whenever there is a runner on first, I know the umpires reposition themselves and it does take away some of their angles. Then, there’s the play at first and they called the runner safe … If the call goes the other way, ultimately we win the game 1-0. But the umpire called her safe. They get the bloop hit to shallow right and we lose 2-1. So it was frustrating.”

The two teams were locked in a scoreless draw for three-plus innings. Spanish Springs (17-5) broke through first when it posted its lone run of the tournament affair in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Karlie Merritt singled. Lawrence followed with a single. A throw from the outfield went to third, trying to cut down Merritt but she was safe and that left SSHS runners on second and third.

Batastini hit a high chopper in the infield that went for a groundout but allowed Merritt to race home for the go-ahead score.

That’s as good as it got for Spanish Springs offensively. The Cougars were retired in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames, sealing the win for Logan.

Garza handled the pitching duties for the Colts and was near flawless in the circle. She gave up just the one run and allowed only three Spanish Springs hits. She struck out four and did not walk a single Cougar hitter.

“She threw a phenomenal game,” long-time Logan coach Teri Johnson said of her ace hurler. “She was tough and she was in a groove. Our catcher (Bonansea) called a great game. My hat is off to those two.”

Davidson praised Garza as well.

“Their pitching held us in check. We had a great tournament and hit a lot of balls hard, but she shut us down,” the Cougars’ coach said. “She threw curveballs away and mixed in changeups. We kept trying to pull those pitches and rolled over them for a lot of groundball outs. She stayed out there and lived out there and we didn’t make the adjustments.”

Lawrence was the tough-luck pitching loser for Spanish Springs. She was tagged for the two runs and scattered six Colts hits. She fanned five and walked one.

Logan (10-1) has been a traditional contender at the yearly tournament and has even won it in the past, but had never beaten perennial Northern 4A power Spanish Springs to do so.

“This is the first time we’ve beaten Spanish Springs in all the years we’ve played up here,” Johnson said. “Every time we had won the championship in the past, we had beaten Reed. When you play Spanish Springs, you know you’re in for a good game. They are talented and well coached. You’re going to have to execute and make clutch plays to win. You know it’s going to be nerve-racking.”

•Spanish Springs advanced into the tournament’s afternoon championship affair by knocking off Castro Valley, Calif, 10-3 in a semifinal meeting earlier Saturday.

The Cougars roped four inside-the-park home runs in an 11-hit attack. After getting turned away without a run in the first, the Cougars scored in each of the next four innings of the game, which was shortened to five innings due to tourney time-limit rules.

Castro Valley got two runs in the third, both of which were unearned, and added another in the fourth.

Lawrence earned the pitching win, giving up seven hits in a four-strikeout, one-walk performance.

“We had an outstanding week,” Davidson said. “We hit the cover off the ball in our first four games, hitting seven or eight home runs. We played good defense and we got good pitching.”

Spanish Springs returns to the diamond for a 3:45 p.m. clash at home against Galena Thursday.

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