For the second consecutive day, Mt. Spokane faced an opponent’s ace on the road in Greater Spokane League baseball.
While still without theirs – although Garrett Hoffnagle did a fine impersonation – this time the Wildcats were rewarded.
Rather than dwell on the past of Monday’s loss to University, the Wildcats, despite fanning 15 times, beat Mead 4-2 Tuesday, leaving both with 9-2 records.
“I was fired up after we lost yesterday,” Hoffnagle said after Tuesday’s triumph. “We really wanted to beat these guys because they’re our rivals.”
In his first year on varsity, the junior hurler improved to 4-0 with ace Kelly Fitzpatrick sidelined. He also drove in a run and scored the final run in the decisive sixth inning.
Fitzpatrick has yet to pitch in league, but is among Mt. Spokane’s hitting leaders and blasted an RBI double to tie the game in the fourth. He later scored on Hoffnagle’s hit for a 2-1 lead. Mead came back to tie before the Wildcats took the lead for good.
Tucker Hoch drove in both Mead (9-2) runs.
Panthers ace Nick Sagendorf mowed down his foes.
“I don’t think I’ve ever coached a game where we’ve fanned that many times and won,” Alex Schuerman said. “The thing is I thought we had pretty good at-bats. He would just get us chasing a high fast ball or curve ball in the dirt and we didn’t lay off it.”
Mt. Spokane was also aggressive on the bases. Runners were thrown out twice stealing but such derring-do was rewarded in the decisive sixth inning.
With runners at the corners and leading 3-2 on Matt Green’s infield hit, Green took off from first and the throw to second subsequently led to a throwing error, plating the final run.
Schuerman said that the keys to Hoffnagle’s success were a curveball beginning in the middle innings that kept Mead batters off-balance and his toughness in the final two innings.
“At the beginning of the game I didn’t think I had my best stuff,” Hoffnagle said. “I got better and better as the game went on and was locating well.”
The teams meet again Thursday at Mt. Spokane. They trail Gonzaga Prep (10-1) by a game after the Bullpups beat University 10-2.