Spanish Springs, the two-time defending Nevada 4A state champion, got all the offense it would need in the first frame. After Damonte Ranch was retired in order in the top of the first, the Cougars posted a trio of runs in the bottom of the inning.
SHSS leadoff hitter Ashley Decker singled and ran around to third after Karyln Jones singled with one out. Ashley Collier hit a shallow fly ball out to center field. The throw from the outfield went to the plate and Decker retreated back to third. However, Jones raced to second. Damonte Ranch then tried to throw out Jones at second, allowing Decker to cruise home.
The Cougars (25-6) were't done. Danica Arterburn doubled home Jones and she crossed the plate on a bloop single by Morgan Frey.
Damonte Ranch hurler Teila Irwin settled in from there. She retired Spanish Springs over the next four innings without giving up a run.
Spanish Springs did get to Irwin again, tacking on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore catcher Sydney Darby led off the sixth with a solo homer that was crushed over the left-field fence. Her sister, first baseman Courtney Darby, proceeded to draw a walk and circle the sacks when Decker doubled.
Irwin, who took the loss for Damonte Ranch, was tagged for five runs, all earned, on 10 Cougar hits. She struck out three and walked one.
Decker, Jones and Frey had eight of the 10 Cougars' hits. Decker and Jones both rapped out three hits apiece while Frey had two.
"I thought we hit the ball extremely well," Cougars coach Jeff Davidson said. "We had a couple opportunities to bust the game open, but Damonte's a solid team and they made some good plays.
"I thought our approach at the plate, for the most part was pretty good. We swung at a few bad pitches but then a couple times we came right back in the same at-bat and got a hit. That's being disciplined."
Jones turned in a pitching gem in the circle for Spanish Springs. She limited Damonte Ranch to three hits while striking out seven and walking just one in the complete-game shutout victory.
"I thought Karlyn pitched a great game," Davidson said. "She moved the ball up and down, in and out."
The Mustangs did not mount much of an offensive threat. In the fifth, Caitlin Wolfe singled, and two outs later, Morgan McCall singled for Damonte. The duo was left stranded and that's as good as it got offensively for the south Reno school. Wolfe was the lone Mustangs player to even reach second base against Jones and the Cougars Thursday.
"We've got a pretty strong lineup. She (Jones) mixed up her pitches and made us work. So she came out on top," Damonte Ranch coach Tierney Cahill said.
Spanish Springs advances into a second-round winners' bracket game Friday at noon at Manogue. The Cougars will meet Sierra League regular season champion Douglas, a 10-6 winner over McQueen Thursday.
"This was big for us," SSHS senior Courtney Darby said. "If you fall into the losers' bracket, you have to play a lot of games. In the winners' bracket, you can stay fresh. Last time we played Damonte, they played us pretty tough. So this was a good win for us."