The Cougars were not without their chances.
Standing at third base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Josh Prizina represented the winning run on Thursday at home against Galena. He was stuck there.
The Grizzlies proceeded to score four times in the top of the eighth and hand the Cougars a 10-6 loss in eight innings.
“Obviously, if you have the chance, you don’t want to go to extra innings,” Spanish Springs coach Ben Hofmann said. “We knew they were a good hitting team.”
Spanish Springs (15-7-1, 10-4) suffered its second loss of the week to Galena and fell two games back of the Grizzlies (15-5-1, 12-2) after entering the week tied atop the DI North.
After committing four errors in Tuesday’s 16-6 road loss, the Cougs were again done in by defensive woes. They committed five errors and failed to properly execute an important run down in the top of the seventh.
Hofmann said he isn’t concerned by the nine-error week though.
“I think it’s just the dog days of the season,” he said. “I just think it’s very difficult right now. You’re in that stretch where everybody is, ‘eh.’ We’ve been going at this now since December and it’s dragging a little bit. I don’t think it’s pressure.”
The biggest blunder came in the top of the sixth, immediately after Alan Lummel finished a phenomenal at bat with a grand slam to left that gave the Cougs a 5-2 lead.
Austin Whickham led the inning off and reached on a booted ground ball. Andrew West then squibbed a Casey Miller offering in no man’s land behind the mound. It was picked up and the late throw to first went wide. A scramble for the errant toss followed and the throw to third, trying to Whickham, also went wide.
By the time the chaos subsided, Whickam scored to cut the gap to 5-3 and West advanced to second. Three batters later, leadoff man Sami Baig hit a two-run triple to left center that pulled the Grizzlies even.
“We have to play better defensively,” Hofmann said.
Galena scored the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh, two batters after Cohen Kreitlein was picked off by Miller at second but escaped the pickle once he was hit by a throw.
The Grizzlies capped a frantic finish (10 runs in four innings) with a four spot in the top of the eighth that put it away.
Jared Kiessling provided the exclamation point, a three-run home run to left center.
Kiessling also picked up the win on the bump, throwing 7 innings, allowing 6 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits with 6 strikeouts and 4 walks. Turner Gustafson closed it out with a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
The Grizzlies’ comeback spoiled a quality start by Ryan Anderson, who allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits over 5 innings. He struck out 8 and walked 5. He was pulled after 5 due to a high pitch count.
“He’s going to do that. High strikeout guys, that’s going to happen,” Hofmann said. “Again, they (Grizzlies) are a good hitting team. They took some pitches that were tough. And we had some miscues behind him and that cost him some pitches as well.”
The Cougars scored in the bottom of the first on a Prizina single to take a 1-0 lead. That score held until the top of the fifth, Anderson’s last frame. Kiessling tied the game with a two-out RBI single before a throwing error put the Grizzlies up 2-1.
Spanish Springs will try to snap its two-game skid on Saturday when it hosts a doubleheader with Damonte Ranch (11-11, 9-5). First pitch is at 11 a.m.
*Spanish Springs played the final two innings under protest after (maybe incorrectly) being denied a mound visit in the top of the seventh, right before the go-ahead run scored.
Raiders win home run derby against Mustangs
Reed salvaged an important split on Thursday with a convincing 12-4 home win over Damonte Ranch.
With the victory, the Raiders improved to 16-5, 9-5 in the DI North. The Mustangs dipped to 10-11, 9-5.
Reed smacked five home runs in the win, two apiece from Lincoln Turner (2-for-4, 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 2 runs) and Austin Beard (3-for-5, 2 home runs, double, 2 RBIs, 2 runs). Brandon Kernon provided the fifth, a two-run shot that was part of a six-run fourth inning that put Reed up 10-4.
Turner and Beard went back-to-back in the third. Then did it again in the fourth.
Matt Denn went 3-for-5 with 3 singles.
As big of a day Turner had at the plate, he was just as sharp on the bump. He threw a complete game, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on seven hits. He fanned 12 and did not walk a batter.
Damonte’s Jacob Applebach had a big effort in the loss, finishing 3-for-4 with 2 home runs and 3 RBIs.
Reed will host a doubleheader against McQueen (7-13-1, 4-8) at 11 a.m.