Erasing a 4-0 Galena lead after the top of third as well as a 7-3 advantage in the middle of the fourth, Spanish Springs knotted the game at 8-8 in the bottom of the fifth. The tie was short lived though as the Grizzlies loaded the bases in the top of the sixth before Eric Anderson left the yard with a grand slam deep to left field, catapulting the visiting GHS club back in front 12-8.
Instead of hanging their heads, the Cougars responded by grabbing their bats and ripping off a seven-spot in the bottom of the sixth en route to the 15-12 win.
“It just felt like no one really wanted the game,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said of the back-and-forth affair. “It was out there for either team to take and it seemed like we kept trying to give it back. I told the guys we were a comedy of errors in the first four innings. We had base-running mistakes and we had defensive mistakes. Just across the board it was ugly baseball on our part.
“We had scored the last three innings, so I just told them, ‘Hey, lets get our leadoff guy on, let's get somebody else on base and let's get the next guy up and make something happen.’ It’s northern Nevada high school baseball. Anything can happen. They scored four and we could easily score four. It was absolutely something I knew we could do.”
The Cougs backed up their coach’s beliefs in the bottom of the sixth by loading the bases with the first three batters. With the sacks full, Lucas Jones singled up the middle to score a pair. Jeff McCusker followed suit with a single down the left-field line to score Kenny Semenko. A misplayed bunt then loaded the bases again, setting up Chase Hauder for an RBI-single to tie the game at 12-12.
Still sitting with no outs, Spanish Springs (5-1) kept its momentum going.
A walk to Gehrig Parks pushed home McCusker for the go-ahead score, followed by an RBI single by Shannon Kelly just inside the third-base line. A sacrifice fly from Matt Mannens notched another run for Spanish Springs, wrapping up the Cougars’ furious seven-run inning.
Jones then closed the door on the Grizzlies in the top of the seventh to earn the save.
“Their guy was dealing, so it shows a lot of character from our guys to stay with it, keep having some good at-bats,” Hofmann said of the comeback effort. “We stayed with it late in the game and when you do those things, hopefully it sticks and it did for us.”
There were six home runs in the contest. For SSHS, Jones drilled a three-run laser over the left-field fence in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to 4-3. In the bottom of the fifth, Hauder bombed a two-run shot into right field to tie the game at 8-8. Galena’s Michael Jones, Timothy Lichty and Cole Fenner each added solo shots to Anderson’s grand slam.
Spanish Springs will look to sweep the two-game series at Galena on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. Although the first matchup had no shortage of scoring, Hofmann said he expects a much more normal affair Thursday.
“I went into today’s game thinking it was going to be 3-1, 3-2 and I still feel that way going to their yard,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a close, low-scoring game. They have quality arms and kids and so do we.”