The Cougars maintained their pursuit of a first-place finish in the Division I North with a 4-1 victory over the Lancers in a game that spanned just an hour and 20 minutes.
With two outs in the opening inning, McQueen designated hitter Nate Gadsby skied a flyball that seemed to stay in the air forever. It didn’t stay in the air long enough for anyone on Spanish Springs to catch it though as it fell to shallow right field for a double, allowing Kody Reynolds to score all the way from first base for a 1-0 edge.
It took Spanish Springs a few innings to get going, but they found a power stroke from two unlikely players.
After being retired in order the first two innings by Reynolds, Chase Hauder led off the bottom of the third with a bloop single.
With one out, speedy No. 9 hitter Shannon Kelly showed he can do more than just bunt for base hits, crushing a ball to the left-center field gap for a double, putting runners on second and third.
Matt Mannens stepped to the plate and showcased his pop, sending a ball almost 400 feet for a two-run double to dead center field.
Spanish Springs built on its 2-1 advantage when Kelly got his second at-bat of the game in the bottom of the fifth frame. Again, he found the gap in left-center for a two-bagger.
With two outs, Mannens flirted with the wall down the left-field line. He tomahawked a pitch that one-hopped the wall for a run-scoring double, capping his three-RBI day.
The Cougars made it 4-1 on Kenny Semenko’s line drive single to left field, which drove in Mannens.
“They (Kelly and Mannens) really sparked us. They sat on the baseball well. I can’t say enough about those guys,” SSHS baseball coach Ben Hofmann said. “He’s (Kelly) got a little pop in him. Kody was throwing hard today for them and he squared up a couple good pitches.”
After giving up two hits and a walk in the first inning, Spanish Springs pitcher Nikk Audenried stifled the Lancers for the majority of his start. Audenried went six innings for the win. He allowed one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out five.
“He couldn’t find the strike zone early and couldn’t find his off-speed stuff,” Hofmann said. “He was good the middle innings and found his off-speed stuff. He was just really effective. We played good defense behind him and good things happen.”
Lucas Jones came on in relief in the seventh. He made the save interesting.
After giving up back-to-back hits, Jones struck out the side to end the game.
Gadsby had two of the Lancers’ six hits.
Spanish Springs (19-7, 13-4) will look to complete the sweep Thursday at McQueen. First pitch is scheduled for 3:45 p.m.