The Spokane Valley Americans settled for a controversial second place finish in the Pony District Tournament last weekend in Pullman.
The Americans lost to Spokane I 10-8 and 4-2 on Sunday in the finals of the five-team event.
In that second game, it was later discovered, Spokane used a pitcher that was, by Pony rules, ineligible to compete.
State officials, while acknowledging the rules violation, stood by the tournament result and Spokane is going to state.
“We should have earned it on the field,” said a disappointed Spokane Valley coach Joe Everson. “I did not argue that they should have been excluded but that we should have been included. Our team did nothing to violate the rules and was penalized.”
Instead, the Valley team is left home after losing an epic nine-inning second game to the tourney champs.
“With no doubt the final game was one of the most exciting, well-played games I’ve ever coached in 30 years,” said Everson.
The score was 0-0 after eight innings. Jake Ferger worked into the sixth inning before reliever Derrien Waldron retired the side with two on and no outs.
With one out and the winning run on second, reliever Cody Owen struck out the side to keep the game scoreless. But in the ninth, the winners scored four times.
The Valley team came back to score twice and left the bases loaded at game’s end.
In their opener, the Americans blanked Spokane 12-0 on Owen’s three-hit shutout. He fanned eight and didn’t walk any. The team scored three unearned first-inning runs and got a two-run homer by Matt Hietala, one of two for him in the tournament.
Hietala and Conor Jordan had three hits each.
Next game the Americans beat Whitman County 13-9 after trailing 9-8 with two outs in the seventh.
They scored five times on two hits and three Whitman County errors.
Hietala hit a fourth-inning grand slam home run for a 7-4 lead.
On Sunday, the Valley rallied from a 10-1 deficit before losing to force the thrilling second game.
“Pitching beat us,” said Everson.
Ian Harty was 7-for-14 with 5 runs batted in to lead the team.
The other Valley entry, the Nationals, beat a second Spokane team 3-2 in nine innings in its opening game but lost a 10-9 game to Whitman County and was ousted 14-7 by the eventual tournament champions.
Donnie Tomsha hit a two-run single in the seventh to send the game into extra innings and the team scored on an errant pickoff attempt for the win.
In game two Alfy Szafransky hit a two-run first-inning home run, doubled and hit a solo homer during a four-run seventh inning rally that fell just short.
Pee Wee title in doubt
The possibility of a multiple tie for the Pee Wee League American Division championship loomed going into Wednesday’s final games.
Tom’s Barber Shop suffered its first two losses of the year to drop out of first place, leaving Valley Electric a game ahead of three teams heading into the season finales.
Syncor/Trading Faces upset previously unbeaten Tom’s, scoring 15 runs in the fifth inning in a game that featured 51 walks.
At the same time, Les Schwab was suffering its second loss of the year, 18-16 to Ashco Insurance.
Monday, Les Schwab nipped Tom’s 4-3 in a game that considerably tightened up the league.
Joining the two a game behind Valley Electric is Spokane Indians which beat Jim Frazier Trophy 8-2 and Ashco Insurance 21-5, six different pitchers combining for 27 strikeouts.
Chris Stiles had a 2-run homer and Sam Brune a solo shot in the fourth inning of the first game. Stiles had three hits and five RBIs, including a 3-run triple in the second game, while Brune had three hits including a 2-run triple and RBI double. Bobby Williams had four hits and RBIs.
In the National Division, Valley OB Gyn remained unbeaten through 11 games to clinch the division championship. Runnerup James Psomas DDS is 9-2.
Last week, John Shogan went 3-for-3 for Savage House Pizza. Troy Fridley had the game winning RBI for George Velis DDS in a 5-4 win.
Tyler Hauschild had three hits and three RBIs for Pizza Hut, while Brooks Allen hit two home runs.
There’s still much to be determined in the Midget League where several games have been unreported or are yet to be made up.
Northwest Fence and Medicine Shoppe were unbeaten in the American Division, Resort by the Tracks and Freeman are unbeaten in the National Division.
Brandon Pratt and Chris Ruchert hit homers in the game. Godfather’s Pizza’s Garrett Trimmer and Jay Pearson combined on six innings on 1-hit ball. David Courchaine hit two triples and a double.
Legion teams remain challengers
Spokane Valley’s American Legion teams continue to challenge in their respective league divisions.
Spokane Athletic Supply, at 10-4 through Monday, is second in the South Division of the league and in contention for the league title despite recent setbacks.
Olympic Sports and Job Quest are third and fourth in the North Division of the 18-team league.
Three teams participated in the 12-team 4th of July Tournament, with both Job Quest and Olympic compiling winning records.
Since league play resumed, the East Valley Merchants have won twice, upsetting Global Federal Credit Union 3-1 on the pitching of Steve Pipkin and hitting of Rich Burland and edged Maxwell House on the pitching of Brian LaMarche and hitting of Keith Osso.
Olympic lost 4-1 to Spokane Federal Credit Union to drop to 7-3. Chris Kreider had two hits.
Spokane Athletic and Job Quest lost two of three games, the latter dropping its record to 7-7.
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