Three runs is all that separated the Douglas and Spanish Springs high school softball teams Saturday in their Northern Division I doubleheader. And even though Spanish Springs took over sole possession of first-place by winning both games, 5-3 and 3-2, Douglas coach Rob Parks saw reason for optimism afterward.
“We hit the ball well today against two of the better pitchers we’ve faced in this league, it’s just that Spanish Springs has a solid player at every position,” Parks said. “Even though the outcome wasn’t what we hoped for today, if we meet again in the playoffs, we feel we can beat them.”
Douglas (15-9-2 overall, 11-5 league) had victory within reach in game two, only to see Megan Archer hit a two-run home run to lift Spanish Springs (21-4-1 overall, 15-1 league) in the top of the seventh inning.
The Cougars scored four runs in the second inning and then held on to win the opener behind the five-hit pitching of Alyssa Batastini.
Hayley Fein pitched a complete game seven-hitter to win the second game for Spanish Springs.
Kali Sargent was the hard-luck loser in both games for the Tigers. The junior right-hander allowed seven hits to go with nine strikeouts and two walks in the opener, however, the Cougars bunched five of those hits in the second and sixth innings to score their five runs. Sargent allowed six hits to go with six strikeouts and one walk in the second game.
“Like I’ve said in the past, Douglas is a very good team,” Spanish Springs coach Jeff Davidson told the Daily Sparks Tribune. “They have some sticks throughout their lineup as well. Getting two wins today was great. We never, ever look past anybody and try to take it a game at a time. Today, we did just enough to win both games. I was very happy with the outcome.”
In game two, Douglas took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Sargent doubled and scored on Kelly Sonnemann’s single.
Spanish Springs came back to tie the score in the fourth inning, however, the Tigers regained their lead in the sixth when Corryne Diaz doubled into the gap in left-center field and scored on Makayla Shaver’s single to center.
In the top of the seventh, Batastini singled and Archer blasted her go-ahead home run over the center field fence to put the Cougars on top, 3-2.
Shaver hit 2-for-3 with two RBI, Leonna Mortimer 2-for-3 with two runs scored and Allison Meyer 1-for-3 to lead Douglas offensively in game one.
Shaver walked and scored on Mortimer’s double in the second inning.
Meyer and Mortimer delivered base hits as the Tigers rallied to score twice in the sixth inning. Spanish Springs came up big defensively on Mortimer’s hit, however, when center fielder Amanda Barham cut down a runner at third base when she threw a strike to Kayla Arterburn.
“I like aggressive base running and a lot of times it works out,” Parks said. “They just made big plays when they needed to.”
Barham also hit 2-for-4 with one RBI to lead Spanish Springs offensively.
Note: Spanish Springs took a one-game lead in the league’s regular season race Saturday when Reed split a doubleheader at Galena. Reed won the opener, 13-1, while Galena rallied in the seventh inning to win the second game, 5-4. Douglas was tied for third-place with Galena and Reno coming into Tuesday’s games.