When opportunity knocked, Mead seized it and finds itself alone atop Greater Spokane League baseball.
Gonzaga Prep’s shortcomings came home to roost and Dan Mattingly’s sixth-inning RBI double, followed by Jason McGowan’s two-run looper, broke up a scoreless ball game lifting the Panthers (12-2) to a 3-1 road triumph.
“Our pitcher came through, we got enough hits to get a couple runs across the plate and that was the game,” Mead coach Jason Reich said. “It was exciting.”
In two losses to Mead, last Friday and Tuesday at G-Prep, the anemic Bullpups (11-3) didn’t score for 13 innings, with their only run of the series coming in the final frame.
Tuesday, pitcher Nick Sagendorf had the Bullpups beating the ball into the ground. G-Prep hit but two balls out of the infield for both base hits during the series. Mead second baseman Tucker Hoch had eight assists and first baseman Matt Nelson notched 14 putouts.
“I knew they had great arms and we have great arms,” G-Prep coach Brian Munhall said. “Somewhere, somebody has to get a great hit and they did it again. We’ve got to hit, got to hit, got to hit and we’re not hitting.”
Neither team gained much traction through five scoreless innings. Mead threatened several times but didn’t score, unable to take advantage of wildness by sophomore pitcher Justin Blatner. The Panthers finally made him pay for his fourth hit batter with one out and one on in the sixth.
Mattingly laced a ball into the left-center field gap and plated Dane Crater, who reached on his second hit.
McGowan followed with his opposite-field hit that dropped into short right field and scored the final two runs.
“I hit one into the gap pretty solidly in my last at-bat and thought it was going to drop, but not the case,” McGowan said. “I guess I just popped one over the first baseman’s head and got two RBIs. I’ll take it. It’s my birthday today. so it’s my birthday present.”
Mead has won 11 of its last 12 games in making its run to the top of the league. Mt. Spokane (11-3) joins G-Prep in second with Ferris another game back.
The regular season ends April 25 with Mead’s remaining games coming against Rogers and University.
“We’re playing good baseball,” Reich said. “We’re playing great defense, pitching is keeping us in the game and our hitting is getting it done.”