RENO—Hitting a round ball with a round bat is hard. Anyone who’s played the game will admit that.
That’s what made Spanish Springs’ 18-9 comeback win at McQueen on Saturday afternoon so ludicrous, so unpredictable.
Trailing 9-3 going to the top of the sixth, the Cougars’ bats warmed up, then they were blistering. The guests banged out 11 hits over the next two innings—eight of which went for extra bases—to steal the road victory. They had managed just five total hits in the five prior innings. Four were singles.
“I was a little bored for the first four, five innings. We didn’t have a whole lot going on,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “Once we got going, it’s exciting to watch a team get hot like that.
“Hitting is contagious, at the high school level especially. That’s what happened.”
In the eight-run sixth that pushed Spanish Springs in front 11-9, Chase Lee and Daulton O’Connell (3-for-5, HR, 2B, 4 RBIs, 5 runs) started the rally with consecutive RBI doubles to center. Alan Lummel stepped to the dish two batters later and belted one of the Cougs’ three home runs, a three-run blast to right that cut the gap to 9-8.
Spanish Springs (14-3, 9-0) took the lead for good three batters later when Casey Miller poked a two-run double down the right field line.
Miller then did it on the mound, keeping the lead at two with a clean 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth inning out of the bullpen. He earned a two-inning save, throwing a scoreless bottom of the seventh inning as well.
“It was nice for Casey to come in and go 1-2-3,” Hofmann said. “Casey did a great job today.”
The hit parade continued in the top of the seventh as the Cougs added seven insurance runs with the help of two triples, a double and another round tripper. Josh Prizina (3-for-4, HR, 3B, 2B, 2 RBIs, 3 runs) started, or rather, continued the rally with an RBI triple to right center. The Cougars’ catcher finished a single shy of the cycle.
O’Connell put an exclamation point on the comeback victory with a two-run home run to left center, the first four bagger of his career.
Carson McCusker (3-for-5, 3 2Bs, RBI and 2 runs) and Joey Arterburn (3-for-5, 3B, 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs, run) also had big days at the dish.
The explosive finish spoiled a solid start for McQueen’s Joel Seth, who allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits over five innings. He had a 9-3 lead before giving the ball over to the bullpen.
“We got into their bullpen,” Hofmann said. “A lot of times, the goal, up and down whatever league you’re playing in, is to get into the bullpen. And we were able to do that today.”
McQueen finished with 13 hits (compared with Spanish Springs’ 17) and took the big lead early in part to a four-run fourth that broke a 3-3 tie. The big inning chased Spanish Springs starter Derek Stuber.
The Lancers (4-12-1, 2-7) tacked two more runs on in the bottom of the fifth with a Nelson Padilla two-run shot.
The two teams will finish their regular-season series Tuesday afternoon at Spanish Springs. The Cougars will look to complete the sweep of the Lancers, and continue their unbeaten start to league play.
Hofmann, however, said the team is ignoring the 0 in the L column.
“We are going one at a time,” he said. “Our focus is game to game … I guarantee they (Lancers) will be out there with their best effort.”
Raiders blast Hawks in five
Reed prevented its first losing streak of the season from reaching three games with a 19-2 home win over Hug on Saturday afternoon.
With the five-inning rout following a pair of losses to Galena, Reed improved to 13-3, 6-3 in the DI North. Hug (1-10, 0-9) remained winless in league play.
The Raiders outhit the Hawks, 21-2, led by Austin Beard’s 3-for-4 day with a home run, two doubles, 4 RBIs and 3 runs.
Parker Houston (1-for-2, 2 RBIs) and Jon Pinto (1-for-3, RBI) also went deep in the romp.
Jacob White threw the first three innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on two hits while striking out seven and walking three, to pick up the win.
The Raiders and Hawks complete their regular-season set on Tuesday at Reed.
Railroaders drop a couple in Elko
Sparks lost a pair of five-inning DI-A North decisions at first-place Elko on Saturday.
The Railroaders now sit at 3-11, 0-10 in league meetings while the Indians moved to 12-4-1, 12-0.
Still looking to pick up its first league win of the season, Sparks hosts a three-game set with Fernley (8-6, 7-2) next weekend. The two squads will play a single game on Friday at 3 p.m. and a doubleheader on Saturday at 11 a.m.
Elko 10, Sparks 0 (five innings)
The Railroaders were outhit 10-5 and committed five errors in the final game of the day on Saturday.
Elijah Shelton was 2-for-3.
Elko 14, Sparks 2 (five innings)
The Railroaders actually drew first blood, pushing a run across in the top of the first, but were outscored 14-1 the rest of the way in Saturday’s first game.
Sparks was outhit 21-4.