Baseball is a weird game.
No matter how long you’ve played/watched the game, the possibility always exists to witness something for the first time. That’s what happened to me on Saturday.
I played t-ball through college and as a pitcher, I occasionally was the reason a team got hot. Yes, hitting is contagious. My sophomore season ERA at Pacific Lutheran University was a direct result of that. Opposing bats got excited when I took the bump.
But considering the situation, I’ve never seen a set of sticks get as hot as the Spanish Springs baseball team’s were the final two innings at McQueen on Saturday.
The Cougs scored 15 runs in the final two innings to flip a 9-3 deficit into an 18-9 lead and eventual win. They smacked 11 hits in the two innings—only three were singles. They hit four doubles, two triples and a pair of homers.
This all came after getting relatively shut down the first five innings. It was weird.
The crazy momentum shift not only flipped the script on that individual contest, but it also kept the Cougars undefeated in DI North play at 9-0.
So are the Cougars legit? They’re off to a good start. There is no denying that. It is still too early to tell though.
They still need to play the big dogs.
Spanish Springs is yet to play Galena (11-4-1, 9-1), Damonte Ranch (8-9, 6-3) and four-time defending regional champion Reno (15-4, 6-3).
It will play six consecutive games against those three teams starting next Tuesday at Galena. We will know a lot more about the Cougs after that stretch.
“Every single day that we come out and get a W is a great day,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said after Saturday’s improbable victory. “It’s so hard to win in Northern Nevada that if you can come out and get a W, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing … every win just adds to a win total.”
Reed softball on another torrid pace
The Raiders are off to a 14-0 start for the third consecutive season.
In 2014, Reed lost its 15th game. In 2015, it didn’t lose until its 25th.
It still remains to be seen when/if the Raiders will lose in 2016. I was curious how this year’s 14-0 start stacks up with the previous two seasons.
Two years ago, Reed won its first 14 games by an average score of 7.3-1.6. Last year, the mean score of the first 14 contests was 9.8-0.6 in Reed’s favor. This year, the Raiders are winning, on average, by a score of 10.4-2.
While the Raiders are scoring more runs than either of the last two years, they are also allowing more runs. That number is inflated by an outlier in the first game of the year—a 13-12 win at Bishop Manogue.
Reed has allowed just 16 runs in the 13 games since the wild opener.
The Raiders have won a couple close games this year (4-1 walk off over Douglas on Saturday, 3-0 vs. Galena and 4-1 vs. Damonte Ranch), but the numbers suggest that 14 games into this season, this could be Reed’s best team in recent history.
And the Raiders have some good recent history, winning three-straight regional titles and the state title last spring.
Musselman makes controversial move
Nevada coach Eric Musselman has to feel good about the state of his program after just one season at the helm.
Musselman led the Pack to 24 wins and a CBI title, with a lot of talent coming back next year and a lot of talent coming in.
It remains to be seen how he will feel down the road about one of his newest additions, assistant coach Yann Hufnagel.
Hufnagel, 33, resigned at Cal on Thursday in the wake of sexual harassment scandal involving a media member. He was a free agent for less than 24 hours before Musselman scooped him up.
“I met Yann nearly a decade ago and his track record as an assistant at three high caliber academic institutions (Harvard, Vanderbilt and Cal) speaks for itself,” Musselman said in a release. “He’s a high energy coach and recruiter, and we’re happy to have him in our program.”
Musselman is a smart guy. There is no reason to think he would make a decision that would jeopardize the trajectory of the program.
The move was Ok’d by Athletic Director Doug Knuth as well. The stamp of approval from both Knuth and Musselman suggests they know more about the situation than most.
Still, this raises eyebrows.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org