The Mead Panthers held off the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups 18-17 in not a football game but a District 8 4A baseball game Wednesday at Avista Stadium.
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By Greg Lee
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Mead baseball coach Jason Reich didn’t care how sizeable the numbers appeared on the Avista Stadium scoreboard Wednesday.
What mattered most to Reich is his Panthers had one more run than the Gonzaga Prep Bullpups.
On the verge of sending the Bullpups home early leading 16-6 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, Mead had to hold on for an 18-17 decision in the District 8 4A tournament.
Mead (12-8) earned a regional berth with the win and a date Friday against top-seeded Ferris (17-2) to decide the district championship. First pitch is at 7.
In a loser-out game to decide a third regional berth Friday, Gonzaga Prep (14-8) faces
Mead 18, Gonzaga Prep 17: The Panthers scored what would prove to be the winning run in the sixth on an error moments after Skyler Lookabill drove in a fourth run with a double.
Then the Panthers had to hang on for dear life. G-Prep sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, scoring five. The Bullpups stranded the potential tying run at third base when reliever Paul Miller, Mead’s usual starting shortstop, got the final out on a strikeout.
“We just needed all the runs we could get,” said Mead sophomore catcher Dane Crater, who had three hits and five RBI. “We just battled. All we had to do was be one run better.”
Crater has been hitting the ball hard the last three weeks, and he had two doubles and triple Wednesday.
“I’ve been hitting a lot every weekend,” Crater said. “Every chance I get to hit I make the most of it. I don’t fool around.”
The teams combined for 35 runs, 31 hits and 11 errors.
“That was one heavyweight bout wasn’t it?” Reich asked of no one in particular. “We can put some runs up and they did, too. We knew no lead is safe in high school playoff baseball. Paul really stepped up. We stretched him a little bit. He’s a one- or two-inning guy and he ended up having to go into a third (inning). He was a little tired but he’s a competitor.”
Connor Slater led G-Prep, finished with two hits, including a 3-run homer, and four RBI.
“We had to dig down and find something three times,” G-Prep coach Brian Munhall said. “The effort was great and we’re swinging the bats at the right time. Now CV gets to feel it a little bit. We hit the ball hard all night, the approach was right, the swings were right. They’re definitely upset but the first thing we said was ‘so what?’ and Friday is all that matters now.”
Central Valley 10, Rogers 0: Bears’ pitchers Jacob Hochberg and Zach Hanson, both left-handers, combined on a two-hitter as CV eliminated the Pirates (5-18) in five innings.
Hanson relieved Hochberg in the third inning and didn’t allow a hit, getting the Pirates out in order three straight innings.
In the fifth, CV sent eight to the plate.
District 7 2A
Pullman 20, West Valley 10: The top-seeded Greyhounds (15-5) put together an 8-run fourth inning to pull away from the visiting Eagles (8-13).
Nick Scourey had a two-run homer and Matt Peterson was 3 for 4 with five RBI for WV.
EV meets WV on Saturday in a loser-out game at Avista at 10 a.m.
District 7 1A
Chewelah starting pitcher Caleb Wright took a three-hitter into the seventh.
Freeman takes on Chewelah on Saturday at
Mitch Vander Linden led Freeman by going 3 for 4 with five RBI including a 2-run homer. Zack Allen was 3 for 3.
Colville goes to