That’s exactly what Spanish Springs was producing on the field in its second game of the AU Invitational Wednesday.
The Cougars used a 10-run third inning to blow open their game with Saratoga, Calif. and cruised to a 23-5 victory to finish 2-0 on the first day of their tournament.
Jake Bray was a home run away from hitting for the cycle, while Tanner Oates and Humberto Espinoza needed doubles to complete the rare feat. None of them achieved it, but they all came up huge in the largest offensive output by the Cougars ever.
Spanish Springs batted around the order in all four innings as Saratoga served up glorified batting practice.
Oates drove in five runs and had a two-run triple and two-run home run. Espinoza followed Oates’ second-inning three-bagger with a no-doubter, clearing the left-field fence for a two-run home run that made it an 8-5 game. By the end of the second, it was 10-5.
Saratoga actually took a 4-0 lead out of the gates, scoring the fourth run as the first out was recorded. Dillan Pak’s two-run single was the big hit in the rally. However, the Falcons really couldn’t get anything going after the first inning.
“We really wanted to try to get guys some innings. We needed someone to eat up innings today,” SSHS baseball coach Mike Bosco said. “Malcolm (Anderson) struggled that first inning, but he kept us in the game right there. He went like 60 pitches, and then we brought in Josh Manguso. We needed some guys to eat up innings, so we could save our arms for the next couple games.”
Saratoga’s pitching was less than desirable. Two of the five pitchers used did not record an out, including the Falcons’ starting pitcher, who lasted just six batters. Still, the third inning was much worse.
The Cougars batted around the order before the Falcons could get the first out. Spanish Springs sent 15 batters to the plate in the third frame when the hosts put up 10 runs, increasing the lead to 20-5. Nine of the 12 Cougars who came up to the plate in the inning knocked in a run.
“That was the highest hit total we’ve ever had here, and everybody participated,” Bosco said. “Everyboday was able to jump on the bandwagon and be part of that, so that’s a good thing … We’re just happy to get the win against a team we don’t normally see.”
Bray was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate against Saratoga and finished with two RBIs. Espinoza was 3-for-3 and drove in three runs.
Kendall Murphy entered the game as a pinch hitter in the third inning and was 2-for-2 with an RBI for the Purple and Teal. Davis Murphy and Henry Rueda also contributed two hits apiece to the winning cause, while Rueda added three RBIs.
In two plate appearances, Tim Epker had a sacrifice fly and RBI single.
While Spanish Springs’ bats were never silent in its second game of the day, the Cougars needed all the offense they could muster in their tourney opener with Elko Wednesday morning.
Spanish Springs rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh to thwart the Indians’ upset bid and win 13-12.
“Elko just did not want to go away. They had us beat, and we came back with a good sixth and seventh inning and were able to come back from behind,” Bosco said. “The last two times we faced them, we beat them in the bottom of the seventh.”
Bray was on fire all day. The junior shortstop drove in six runs on two home runs and a double against Elko. Kyle Clark also homered for Spanish Springs.
Anthony Vierra had three RBIs on two hits, and Justin Agliolo also added a pair of hits.
Spanish Springs (15-4) takes the field today at 1 p.m. against Lynbrook of San Jose, Calif.