The visiting Cougars started off strong and never let up on deep offense against the host Colts. Spanish Springs posted seven runs in the top of the first inning and never looked back en route to the key win. SSHS pitcher Jacob Bray led off first with a single and Justin Agliolo followed suit. With one out, Humberto Espinoza hit a shot that left the field for a three-run home run and a quick 3-0 lead for Spanish Springs (5-4, 1-3 HDL).
“It was a good offensive performance,” Spanish Springs coach Mike Bosco said. “I thought we swung the bats well in the first few innings. Then we kind of slowed down and picked it up late. Our pitchers did a good job keeping us in the game and throwing strikes.”
With the bases cleared in the first, Davis Murphy reached on a walk for the Cougars. Brandon Mathis followed with a single. Murphy scored on a Henry Rueda single. Mathis scored on an error and Rueda score on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Vierra for a 6-0 lead. Taylor Freshman, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, reached third on a passed ball and scored when Tanner Oates was hit by a pitch to round out the seven-run rally.
Bray pitched for the Cougars and gave up two runs in the first inning. Wooster’s Raul Gonzalez led off with a double and scored on a double by Colton Sims. Sims scored on an RBI single from Tanner Denham to pull the home team within five, 7-2.
Spanish Springs packed on four more runs in the second to extend its lead to 11-2. Rueda reached on a walk and Freshman on a fielder’s choice, leaving two outs on the board. That didn’t faze the Cougars. Vierra singled, plating Rueda and Freshman followed him in on an error. Vierra stole second and Bray was also walked, putting two baserunners on for SSHS.
Agliolo singled, sending in Vierra for a 10-2 lead. Oates doubled, pushing Bray across the plate for the 11-2 advantage.
That score held until the bottom of the sixth when Wooster pushed in two runs. With one out and no runners on, Garrett Powers singled for the Colts and Sam Klippenstein followed with a bomb to center field, cutting its deficit by two, 11-4.
“We had a hard time with their pitchers that didn’t throw as hard, their guys that throw softer,” Bosco said. “We had a hard time against them. They kept us down for those middle innings. I’m just glad we were able to get the win. Our first (league) win and it’s an important one.”
The Cougars, who were swept in their season opening league series by traditional Northern 4A power Reno last week, found their offense again in the seventh inning, scoring six more runs.
On the first pitch of the inning, Espinoza hit a solo shot to right field for a 12-4 lead. Kendall Murphy and Mathis recorded back-to-back walks. After an out, Kyle Clark also walked, loading the bases for Brycen Erdody. Erdody also walked, forcing Murphy to score. After another out with the bases loaded, Agliolo also walked for the fifth walk of the inning, sending in Mathis for the third run of the frame.
Oates was also walked which sent Clark in to score, for a 15-4 lead over the Colts. Espinoza came up to bat again and hit a shot to shallow center field, allowing Erdody and Agliolo to score, accompanied by a Wooster error for the 17-4 edge.
Oates stepped up to pitch for Spanish Springs in the final inning. He allowed a Gonzalez double before recording two outs. Nick Thrower and Denham both walked, loading the sacks for Powers. He hit a shot at third base and Spanish Springs tallied its first error of the night, letting both Gonzalez and Thrower score. Oates then struck out Klippenstein to finish off the contest.
Spanish Springs had 13 hits and committed just the one error. Wooster had 11 hits but made five errors Thursday.
“One error, I couldn’t be happier,” Bosco said. “We played good defense. They put the ball in play. I thought we made the plays. We had one error in the last inning.
“These kinds of games are important because we get everyone the chance to play and we need that. During the season, we’re expecting to be in the playoffs and we need to count on everybody on the team, everybody in the lineup, not just nine guys. It’s nice to be able to get everybody some playing time and get them an opportunity to play in the game.”
The teams battle again on Saturday at Spanish Springs in a doubleheader, beginning at 11 a.m. Tyler Eaton and Alex Vetter are expected to handle the starting pitching duties for Spanish Springs Saturday.