The stage had been set to resolve the possibility of multiple ties in Greater Spokane League baseball, down to a coin flip for a playoff won by Central Valley.
“I’d never won a flip before,” said coach Ed Garcia.
He never got a chance to use it. As it turned out, the 12-4 Titans finished as outright league champions and 10-6 Central Valley, which had beaten U-Hi twice during the year, settled for fourth.
Both finishes, however, were a far cry from last year when the two schools languished near the bottom of the league before U-Hi’s end-of-season win over CV left it sixth with a 6-10 record. CV wound up last at 4-12.
That University won its second championship in four years didn’t particularly surprise coach Don Ressa.
“I think the number one thing is that all our seniors emotionally are pretty mature,” he said. “Even with the ups and downs they had the ability to stay focused and play one practice, one game at a time.”
The second thing is that University got superb play from an inexperienced outfield which included the quartet of Ben Butler, Bryan Harkey, David Stark and Mike Bartlett.
“They did more than I could ask for, both offensively and defensively,” said Ressa.
Last year’s hitting leader Butler was hit in the face by a thrown double play ball during a win over Mead, fracturing his cheekbone that required surgery.
But the Titans won their remaining four games in an unsettled race to prevent a three-way tie for first.
“I guess that’s a testament to players who focus on what they have to do and do it,” said Ressa.
U-Hi collectively hit .331, led by Scott Asan and Brad Svelmoe with .444 averages. Five other players in the lineup hit over .300, including second baseman Kevin May, at .361.
“Look at the stats in the RBI column,” said Ressa. “Five or six had 15 or more.”
By contrast CV had only three hitters bat higher than .300 and two of those came at the bottom of the order, sophomore Eric Eigenhuis at .464 and junior Brady Nelson, a late addition to the lineup.
Still the team made district playoffs, a vast improvement over last year.
“If you saw our batting averages you’d wonder how we went 10-6,” said Garcia, whose team was 2-4 before winning eight of nine games.
A couple of lineup changes seemed to spark the team which got solid pitching from senior Monte Morgan and junior R.J. Del Mese.
“We won with attitude or character or whatever,” said Garcia. “There are no superstars on the team.”
Nelson hit .526 and during one threegame stretch drove in 10 runs. Jeremy Nesbitt moved from leadoff to third in the order and hit .390.
The rest of the lineup produced timely hits with teammates on base. “If you only get six hits but with runners on, it’s better than 12 hits,” reasoned Garcia. “We had clutch hitting, solid defense and pretty doggone good pitching.”
And good catching from senior transfer Tony Paventy who filled a void.
“Tony’s not all-city,” said Garcia of his .217 hitter. “But we don’t go anywhere without him.”
The Titans play Tuesday for Region IV seeding against the survivor of a five-team loser-out playoff that ends today. The Bears faced long odds against winning three straight games in order to be the one.
Meeting him halfway
The 400-meter showdown between East Valley’s Rob Shogren and Pullman’s Chad Schwendiman didn’t materialize.
But they did meet halfway.
In Thursday’s season-ending Frontier League dual, Schwendiman held off a charging Shogren by .1 second in a 200-meter race.
EV won all but four events to complete an unbeaten season.
West Valley’s girls made it official, winning their fourth league title in a row by winning every event except three against Cheney.
District meet is Tuesday and Friday at Eastern Washington University.
Painted Hills Ladies Golf
During weekly medal play, three of four flight winners scored in increments of 10 to secure honors.
Carol McVicker shot 49 in A, Cheryl Williams shot 59 in C and Patsy Angelo and Idell Choate had 69s in D.
Other low gross leaders were Margaret Bainter with 53 in B and nohandicap golfer Maureen Williams who shot 58.
Net winners were Lori Gray with 34 in A, Marilyn McCanna with 35 in B, Colleen Weflen and Marion McLellan, whose 38 shared C flight, and Elaine Isherwood with 39 in D.
Valley View Ladies Golf
With a low gross 44, Valley View golfer Anne Meyers led the way during the ladies club weekly outing.
No-handicap golfer Barbara Eppling shot 47.
Net winners included Marty Liebelt with 29 in A flight, Peg Hallstein with 27 in B, Laura Odette with 26 in C.
Liberty Lake 9-Hole ladies golf
During recent Liberty Lake Ladies 9-Hole Golf Club competition, Adrienne Shoemaker continued to lead the way.
She shot low gross 53 in A flight, ahead of Joanne Ruddell’s 57 in B, Arolyn Rowe’s 58 in C and Pat Thompson’s 65 in D.
Net leaders were Audrey Vanos with 43 in A, Liebelt with a 40 in B, McLellan with 36 in C and Bea Jackson with 36 in D.
Liberty Lake 18-Hole ladies golf
During two recent outings, Alice Shattuck won May’s Liberty Cup competition with a net 72.
Concurrent medal play saw Keri Barham shoot low gross 89 and Marie Nelson net 77 in combined A-B flights. Meyers netted 66 in C-D action.
Next time out the team threw out the nine worst holes.
In A flight, Billie Etter and Louise Newtson shot 38. In B, Noreen Sale, Freda Beckman and Nancy Monteith had 40.
In C, Meyers shot 41. And in D, Ethel Rankin shot 35.