McQueen and Spanish Springs traded zeroes on the scoreboard through five-plus innings before the hosts finally scratched out a run. Knotted at 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Spanish Springs posted the game's lone score.
With two outs, Cougars' junior Sidney Sinclair hit a slow bouncer back up the middle that was knocked down behind second base but it went for an infield single. Cougars coach Jeff Davidson called on Alyx Penrod to pinch hit and she proceeded to deliver in a big way. Sinclair stole second to get in scoring position and then Penrod laced a single to right field. The softball was not fielded cleanly and Sinclair raced home for the winning run without even drawing a throw to the plate.
"I was rounding third and thinking I'm going to score no matter what," Sinclair said. "I was looking at Coach sending me and then I saw the catcher come out in front of the plate so I knew there wasn't going to be a play. That was fun."
The Cougar coaching staff was pleased to see their moves make a difference.
"We've been doing that kind of thing all year," Davidson said of the late substitution. "If someone in our starting nine is not having success that particular day, then we'll bring a new hitter off the bench. We've told the girls, it takes everyone on this team to be successful. Today, Alyx took advantage of her opportunity."
Prior to Sinclair's trip around the bases, no Spanish Springs baserunner had even reached third base. It looked like the Cougars might score an inning earlier. Myrissa Prince roped a leadoff single to start the fifth and then quickly stole second. However, despite getting to second with no outs, she was left stranded right there.
No McQueen baserunner got to third at any point Wednesday. Spanish Springs' ace Brette Lawrence turned in a pitching gem. The junior left-hander fired a three-hit complete-game shutout. She struck out nine and walked two. Additionally, she only needed 77 pitches to pick up the victory and 56 of those were strikes.
"I felt like I was throwing really hard today and hitting my spots, even more than usual," Lawrence said. "And then our defense really helped ... After losing the three games in a row last week, we had to refocus and I went back and got in some extra work on my pitching. I need to keep the ball down and I did that today."
Davidson heaped plenty of praise on his standout hurler.
"She located really well," the Cougars coach said. "She made a couple mistakes, but for the most part, she moved the ball in and out, up and down. Her drop and her changeup were excellent. She really kept McQueen off balance."
While Lawrence was stellar in victory, McQueen's Jordan Lane was nearly just as good in defeat. She was a tough-luck loser, scattering six Cougars hits while striking out six without issuing a free pass.
"Jordan has been good for us all year," McQueen coach Matt Weaver said. "She's kept us in every game and just had a great year. She hit every spot today.
"On that final run, Spanish Springs just executed. They got the girl on, got her in scoring position and then got the key hit. They did what they needed to win. That's why they're Spanish Springs. That's why they've got all the trophies."
Spanish Springs, which has league titles in four of the last five years and three state championships since 2007, managed just one run and six hits. Still, Davidson said he was pleased with his squad's efforts Wednesday.
"It was a one-run game," Davidson said. "We did a good job and got the win. I'm excited. It was a good game with good defense. That's what you should expect with two good pitchers going."
Spanish Springs (21-8, 14-5) wraps up its regular season Friday with a home game against Galena. First pitch is set for 3:45 p.m.
- Reed 3, Galena 0 -
•Senior Shivaun Landeros baffled the Galena Grizzlies, hurling Reed to victory with a complete-game three-hit performance Wednesday. No Galena baserunner even reached third base against Landeros and the Raiders.
Landeros finished with three strikeouts and one walk in her longest pitching outing of the spring season. Reed's presumed ace coming into the season was limited to DH duties most of the spring before being cleared to get back in the circle last week.
"I was very pleased with her outing considering it was our Senior Day, which shortens your warm up and prep time," Raiders coach Jon Wunder said. "It's emotional, but on the flip side, I knew she was pretty dialed in. She really never got in trouble. She had good control of her pitches and our defense didn't make any errors behind her."
Reed (25-4, 18-1) got all the offense it would need when it got its first run in the third inning. Megan Dettling reached on a bunt single, moved to second on a passed ball and scored on an RBI single by Cori Gammon.
In the fifth inning, Reed tacked on two more runs. Lindsey Yearman singled, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Dettling. Gammon followed with a single and then Yearman scored when Hannah Martini hit into a fielder's choice. Mary Dettling came up next and ripped a single to score Gammon.
"We started out a little slow in the first inning or two, but then we started crushing the ball hard," Wunder said. "After the third, we continued to swing the bats. I felt we'd get some more runs."
Reed, which has already clinched the top seed in next week's Northern 4A Regional Tournament, completes its regular season schedule when it plays a single game at Damonte Ranch Friday at 3:45 p.m.