Shadle Park’s baseball team couldn’t catch a break, but the players didn’t need one.
After an 18-4 loss denied them a league championship, after a tie-breaker loss denied them second place, all the Highlanders did was win three straight games to qualify for the Region IV tournament this weekend in Wenatchee, where they will play the host Panthers.
“Back in the old setup, where you had to beat No. 2 twice, LC beat me,” said Highlander coach Ron Brooks. “Under the new format no team had ever done it. They just rose to the occasion.”
League policy puts the league champion automatically into regionals. The No. 2 team awaits the survivor of a four-team loser-out playoff in which No. 3 is no better than No. 6.
Shadle in succession eliminated Rogers, Gonzaga Prep and Ferris in a rematch of Tuesday’s game to decide second place and the bye.
“It was kind of an emotional week when you go from a chance to win the championship to second and then are kicked into the tournament,” Brooks said. “I kind of learned from the kids to take one step at a time.”
The Highlanders opened the week Wednesday losing to Ferris 6-2.
On Friday, however, they blanked Rogers 10-0 on Chris Wilson’s two-hitter.
Saturday, in back-to-back games, Shadle scored six third-inning runs enabling Tim Amann to overcome a bad start and work into the seventh inning of a 7-5 win over Prep.
Then, against rested Ferris, Rob DeBeaumont pitched four shutout innings, with Shadle leading 4-0 after two and winning 4-2.
In both games, Aaron Hancock picked up saves.
“Our pitches were able to go complete games or close to it, and that really helped,” said Brooks. “We scored early, and that helped, too.”
Four players, Joe Walters with five hits, and Steve Schaber, Wilson and Joe Dunsmoor with four apiece, hit safely in each game.
The Highlanders made just five errors total over the weekend.
Tuesday, in a seeding game that really didn’t matter to Brooks, Shadle used five different pitchers during a 4-3 loss, despite outhitting regular season champion University 8-4, and is No. 2 seed in the playoffs.
“At this level,” he said of his team’s upcoming regional foe, “they’re all the same.”
Mead tracksters set pace
When Greater Spokane League schools host Big Nine schools in the regional AAA state qualifying track meet, Mead’s boys will set the pace.
The Panthers finished third or higher in a dozen events. All told, they claimed 31 spots in the regional meet.
In particular, Skiy DeTray and Micah Davis in the distances, Matt Sturm in the sprints, and throwers Brian Buchanan, Scott McGlocklin and Cliff Poage, plus jumper Curtiss Bergheim and pole vaulter John Parry will be called upon to carry Panther hopes.
Other key performers were Rogers’ Anthony Gardner, who triple-jumped 45-3 , and North Central sprinter Paul Riley and NC discus thrower Rance McCullough.
Shadle has a dozen regional spots, NC nine and Rogers five.
The Panther girls advanced all three relay teams and will be led individually by hurdler Autumn Wood, javelin thrower Allison Beatty and distance runner Emily Thompson.
Other North Side athletes to watch are Rogers’ shot putter Fawn Gray, discus thrower Kelley Hughes and high jumper Jennifer Kurtzhall.
The Panther girls have a league high 24 regional berths. Shadle Park’s strong showing netted it 13 entries, while Rogers has seven and North Central three.
Kelly and Panthers to state
North Central golfer Kyle Kelly was a runaway winner of District 8 competition, and a host of Mead Panthers will join him at state.
Medalist at both Indian Canyon and MeadowWood during the two-day competition, Kelly’s 142 total was seven strokes better than the tournament’s runner-up.
Joining him at state next week in Spokane are Mead’s Ben Holt, Dustin Dauphin and Bryan Fong, with Jason Vedadi, who skied to 89 at MeadowWood, the alternate.
Panther sophomore Britney Holt, a nine-stroke winner in her district playoff, and teammate Sara Northcutt have also qualified for state, along with Shadle Park’s Megan Ehlert.
White Sox win Pony event
The North Division White Sox won the first Slugfest Tournament, a single-elimination event hosted by Spokane Pony Baseball.
The White Sox edged the North Division Cougars 7-6 for the title for players ages 11 and 12.
Players include Travis Kindig, Erick Thundercloud, Jamie Almquist, Josh Dvorak, Nick Stewart, Adam Morrison, Chris Cwik, Joey Cwik, Derek Sowards, Brad Kirsch and Brian Dibble.
Coaches are Ken Kirsch, Dean Sowards and Jamie Almquist.