Belting out 20 hits, including four doubles and a home run, the Raiders blitzed Spanish Springs en route to a 17-2 mercy-rule shortened victory Thursday afternoon, capping a sweep of the Cougars.
“Sometimes you just have those days,” Reed coach John Phenix said. “We’ve had some of those days against us, but fortunately today was our day. They lost the ball in the sun a couple times, but we still strung together quite a few hits. They had good approaches at the plate in both games.”
Through two scoreless innings, the contest looked as though it would mirror the one-run difference from just 24 hours earlier. However, the floodgates opened in the third.
After going three-up, three-down in the first and second inning, the Reed bats caught fire in the top half of the third.
Three consecutive singles loaded the bases for the Raiders to start the inning before a passed ball allowed Brett Chaney to score the game’s first run. A Cougar error then plated Jonathon Pinto for a 2-0 edge before Joey Dice laced a single into right-center field for a pair of runs and a 4-0 advantage. Four successive singles for Reed (19-11, 14-8) followed, leaving the Raiders on top 7-0 midway through three.
Spanish Springs (22-9, 16-6) attempted to respond in the bottom of the frame, putting a pair of runners on with no out, but Reed starter Mark Nowaczewski retired the next three batters to end the Cougar rally before it got started. The Raider ace finished his complete-game effort with seven strikeouts and no earned runs. Nowaczewski allowed four hits and walked one.
From there, the Raiders poured it on.
In the top of the fourth, Reed batted through the order yet again. Sending 11 batters to the dish, the Raiders came away with eight hits, with four going for extra bases including a two-run bomb deep over the right field fence by Brandon Koszuth. By the end of the fourth-inning barrage, RHS held a 13-0 advantage.
“I think it just snowballed,” SSHS coach Ben Hofmann said. “They put some good swings on the ball and it just kind of took off for them. Hitting is always contagious, and it definitely got contagious for them. We certainly didn’t help ourselves. That’s all you can really say about it. It happens I guess.”
With its at-bats in the fifth, the Blue and Gold cushioned its lead with four more runs to grab a 17-0 lead. With the conclusion all but final, Spanish Springs pushed home a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth en route to the 17-2 result.
At the dish for Reed, Dice, Koszuth and Pinto each recorded three RBI, with Dice and Koszuth going 2-for-3 each and Pinto going 3-for-4. Dylan Miller also went 3-for-4, while Chris Flores and Chaney both were 2-for-4. Alec Leighton was 2-for-2.
Gehrig Parks took the loss on the mound for the Cougars, giving up eight hits and six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work. Anthony Tiscareno and Alex Moreno pitched 1 2/3 innings and one inning of relief, respectively.
Spanish Springs finishes the regular season as the D-1 North's second seed and will host Douglas at 4 p.m. Tuesday in a first-round regional tournament affair. Reed is the sixth seed and travels Tuesday for an opening-round tilt at 4 p.m. against Reno.
“I’m just happy the way we’re getting a little momentum going into next week,” Phenix said. “Going into zone on two or three losses, you start to question yourself and what you’re going to do, so to beat them twice definitely was key.”